Use Case: Construction

Construction material trading company

Use Case 1

Providing integrated management and automation of virtual servers and networks to enable faster provision of ICT resources and mitigate management workloads.

Business Type
Construction materials trading company
Goal
To create an integrated ICT management system for all departments, projects, and group companies
NEC's Solution

NEC Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Solutions - IaaS Operation Automation Solution (Windows® Server 2012 R2 and the UNIVERGE PF series)

In this case study, we will show you how NEC SDN solutions helped a mid-sized trading company that markets a variety of imported construction materials and that has a growing number of subsidiaries and group companies that use these materials. As the number of departments, projects, and group companies grew, management of the company's ICT systems became increasingly complex. In the end the workload became too much for the company's IT staff, leading to serious business inefficiencies. These issues were resolved by implementing NEC's IaaS Operation Automation Solution.

A rapid increase in ICT systems leads to an overwhelming number of management and monitoring operations.

The company imports a massive variety of imported construction materials, from exterior materials such as roof tiles, finials, and shutters, to interior fixtures such as rail handles. Materials range from wood products such as doors to metal products such as door knobs.

Many of the company's departments and project teams were organized around product groups. Also, unlike mass-produced, standardized products, some imported construction materials require specialized skills and know-how in construction. The company had therefore decided to launch a construction subcontracting service at its group companies.

Manager Quote
Manager of the
IT systems department


"We purchased several construction subcontractors and turned them into group companies in around 2005. From about that time, our intranet started to grow more and more complicated. We were not aware of any problems when we were only importing and selling imported constructuion materials, and manufacturing specialized construction materials. But after we acquired these group companies, the number of management processes rapidly increased."

The company had built a private cloud at its data center, and had also already introduced virtual servers. On the other hand, network settings were still all made manually. As a result, whenever new ICT resources were added, a large amount of network modification work became necessary. Furthermore, the company needed to request its network vendors to dispatch trained technicians to handle the massive setting workloads caused by the growing complexity of the network structures. As a result, management workloads and costs in the IT systems department skyrocketed, while the provision of ICT systems took longer and longer.

Manager Quote

"In many large-scale housing projects, we set up joint projects comprised of a number of departments and group companies' service teams. Our task is to provide dedicated systems for these large-scale projects each time. However, we were already overwhelmed with managing the operations of the systems used by individual departments, projects and subsidiaries. With the addition of dedicated systems for each large-scale housing project, we ended up being late in modifying settings."

The company's business was also impacted by the amount of time it took to isolate faults when problems occurred in these increasingly complex systems. Other pending tasks included the streamlining of monitoring operations, and more prompt response to failures.

Was is possible to achieve integrated and centralized control of virtual servers and virtual networks, as well as control automation?

Manager Quote

"We had already introduced virtual servers, but due to network setting restrictions, we were not able to flexibly perform certain tasks, such as moving the virtual severs. We were surprised when NEC showed us on the actual GUI screens how easy it was to configure network settings."

NEC's IaaS Operation Automation Solution, which runs on Windows® Server 2012 R2, integrates virtual network control and automates control operations. This enables a drastic reduction in management workloads and operational costs. The IaaS Operation Automation Solution enables system administrators to freely set virtual networks on GUI screens. New settings are then automatically applied to physical and virtual switches.

The required networks can be freely set up on GUI screens without system administrators having to manually set physical network switches, resulting in a vast reduction in management workloads and time-consuming operations. With NEC's IaaS Operation Automation Solution, companies with environments that include business systems for many departments and projects, like the company in this case study, will be able to quickly provision ICT resources.

Manager Quote

"Housing projects usually last between one and five years. Many of the ICT systems we provide for these projects are therefore temporary. It took just as much work to change the settings of discontinued ICT systems as it did to set up new ones. But after introducing the IaaS Operation Automation Solution, operations management became far easier. Also, because we can easily make changes in networks from our PCs, we no longer need to request our network vendors to send us trained staff. Now we can conduct all our network management operations in-house, wiht our own IT staff."

Previously the IT department needed about a week to provision new ICT resources after receiving a request. However, with the implementation of the IaaS Operation Automation Solution, resources now can be provisioned on the next day. This has dramatically improved operations management in the company.

Integrated Provision
Enabling integrated provision of virtual servers and virtual networks.

Quick failure handling achieved by automating linkage with monitored data

Monitoring of the ICT systems has also become far more efficient.

Manager Quote


"It had been difficult to implement rapid failur handling of our previous complex systems even when we detected failures or strange network behaviors somewhere on the network. It took us a long time to initially respond to failures at network switches, which led to interruptions in the company's business. But because of the IaaS Operation Automation Solution automates initial responses to faulurs, our monitoring operations have become much easier."

The IaaS Operation Automation Solution links ICT resources with monitored failure data allowing pre-defined failure handling to be executed automatically. This enables the automation of initial failure response, which reduces the average time required to implement system monitoring measures. Management workloads are also reduced.
System Administration
Automation of failure handling by linking with monitored data

Manager Quote


"Previously, we took it for granted that we would have to work all night to provision ICT resources for a new project, or if a system falure occurred. Such as the state of our management operations. But after introducing the IaaS Operation Automation Solution, we no longer have to pull all-nighters. In the next phase, we plan to make our employee access rights management more efficient. We are therefore looking at NEC's Access Authentication Solution."

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