Win-win for everyone
The digital revolution is in full swing. Daimler relies heavily on internal IT specialists, but also on external partners. The Daimler European Data Center (EDC) is being relocated from Stuttgart to Frankfurt. The specialist unit, procurement and suppliers developed a tailor-made solution for the installation - shoulder to shoulder and for the benefit of everyone. How? Daimler buyer Peter Gärtner will explain.
What is the significance of the EDC and why is relocation planning so challenging?
The EDC is the central European Data Center. As the ‘nervous system of Daimler IT’, it provides data for over 200,000 users at 500 locations in 70 countries worldwide. This also includes central applications, such as vehicle production and financial management. Operation must be absolutely stable, around the clock, 365 days a year – even during a move. That is why we are gradually relocating the EDC: Servers that reach the end of their life cycle in Stuttgart will be replaced by new ones in Frankfurt. Compared to a concentrated move, this is much safer and more user-friendly.
IT infrastructure and platforms are the basis and 'heart' for the digital and networked future. The heart must never stop beating - this is why the IT infrastructure must function reliably around the clock without fault. With two strategic projects, we will redesign our IT infrastructure and prepare it for tomorrow's requirements: Firstly, we are relocating our European Data Center to Frankfurt to be right in the middle of the digital metropolis of Europe. Secondly, we are extending a contract for infrastructure operation with a reliable partner to ensure continued stability.
How did the project team select the appropriate outsourcing partners?
In October 2017, the top IT management decided to relocate the EDC and rent the new space. The IT department and procurement worked together to select the service provider. Frankfurt is the ideal location for high-performance data centers, as this is where the European Internet node DE CIX converges. The supplier landscape in the Main metropolis is correspondingly broad: The tender was open to 48 potential external partners. The operators Telehouse and maincubes one finally won the race.
Telehouse and maincubes one have always seen themselves as an active part of the project team. Together with our partners, we have thus created an optimal solution for the new EDC data center - and a win-win situation for everyone involved.
What are the convincing qualities of the two operators?
In order to guarantee fail-safe operation, we need two spatially separate, identically equipped data centers in parallel – Telehouse and maincubes one provide us with the required space, the so-called “whitespace”, empty rooms, which we equip with our IT infrastructure. In addition, they supply the EDC with state-of-the-art technology, such as for safety systems, cooling and the power supply with two independent supply lines and emergency generators. Both offer us rooms and services far above the standard.
And how did the rental model for the gradual EDC move come about?
Telehouse and maincubes one work intensively and with foresight on the joint project success right from the start. This commitment, combined with the close dialog, led to the development of our tailor-made solution: an optimized rental model for the increasing space requirements over the term of the contract. For the permanent benefit of everyone involved.
At the same time, you were looking for a connection solution for operating the IT infrastructure in the EDC. Why?
Infosys has been managing the EDC’s complex IT infrastructure for five years. Our partner ensures the stable operation of all applications, for example through continuous updates and security patches, remote access or on-site. At the same time as the EDC relocation planning, the agreed contract term with Infosys expired and so the IT specialist unit and the procurement department planned the next steps.
What are the benefits of renewing your contract?
For the operation of the IT infrastructure, the project team also aimed for a technically and economically optimal solution. However, not necessarily by changing a service provider, since the reliability during the move is a particularly critical issue. This gave Infosys the exclusive opportunity to submit an initial bid without a costly and time-consuming tender process. Based on this, we then decided on an invitation to tender or on continuing to pursue the exclusive approach. The company was nominated for the Daimler Supplier Award 2018 and once again convinced both the procurement department and the specialist unit with its partnership and the new offer. This enabled us to continue the service package to the same extent and of the same high quality – including technical and economic optimizations as well as the stability and continuity desired by all parties involved.
What conclusion do you draw from this for future projects?
The close, early coordination between the IT specialist unit and procurement creates the best starting position for a successful project. And when our service partners – whether new or existing – proactively contribute innovative solutions, everyone wins. This is what we have achieved with the EDC and this is what we want to achieve with future projects!