The new Bühler data center in Uzwil near St. Gallen has immense strategic importance for the Swiss family company. This is where information from more than 70 sites worldwide comes together. Around 500 servers guarantee secure operations.

IT services for more than 10 000 employees

The data center provides the more than 10 000 employees of the Bühler Group with comprehensive IT services – including a large SAP landscape, a proprietary mobile cloud, desktop virtualization and 380 terabytes of storage volume. Customers and machines are increasingly being incorporated into the Bühler cloud and expect reliable connections. Innovations, lab values, research and development results constantly have to be reflected and communicated in the data network.

These are just some of the key data and general conditions that had to be taken into consideration when the data center was being planned at the start of 2013. It was to replace an older center that simply could not cater to the current requirements after 45 successful years in operation. And it was to be designed to operate for 15 to 20 years. That was the minimum length of time that it should work without interruption and without any faults – a stipulation made by the company’s risk prevention policy.

Looking to the future

“It is quite difficult to estimate what requirements data centers are going to have to fulfill in ten years,” says Bruno Bedin, Project Manager for IT Infrastructures. It was therefore essential to choose as far-sighted a solution as possible that would still be able to be used in more than ten years. “We want to be and remain future-proof at all costs,” says the project manager. He listened to the arguments and came to the conclusion that FO cabling was the only option for the passive infrastructure. “It is future-proof, even beyond the age of 10 Gigabit Ethernet – in other words going toward 40 and even 100 Gigabit Ethernet. Fiber optics offer large capacity reserves as well as top transmission speeds and do not need much space.”

A further challenge was the dynamic scheduling. The teams in IT organization and facility management at Bühler wanted to set up and commission the data center in just four months – a timeframe that included moving the active devices from their earlier location. They had cleared and converted a cellar in Uzwil for exactly that purpose. It offered space for around 30 server cabinets over 145 square meters. “The project had to be mastered with limited resources alongside the normal daily business,” stresses the project manager. That made precise planning, coordinated schedules and efficient, fast and simple installation all the more important.

Convincing MPO solution

The sophisticated and user-friendly FO connection technology from R&M was a decisive factor in awarding the contract. The precision and quality of the MPO connectors and modules, the packing density of the HD platforms and the fast assembly technology in particular were compelling. “The MPO solution from R&M corresponds to our goals one-hundred-percent: It can be used flexibly, is easy to handle and can be extended any time without any great effort. I had never really come across anything like that before,” sums up Bruno Bedin. Bühler has been impressed by the quality of R&M products for quite some time, however. For years now, R&M has been equipping Bühler sites all over the world with cabling systems.

Within three months, it was possible to coordinate and prepare the installation down to the very last detail. The data center specialists from planners ADC-TEC successfully directed operations. R&M supported planning by providing, for example, cabling overviews and a concept for positioning the distribution and server cabinets. The cabling components were perfectly installed by R&M QPP partner Etavis Grossenbacher, under the watchful eye of Max Morach.

And the project demonstrated once again that complex installations can only yield the optimal result with the perfect cooperation of end customer, planner, installer, and system supplier.

Thanks to excellent preparation, the data center was able to be completed exactly as required and “just in time”.

Bühler Group

Bühler is a specialist and technology partner for machines, systems and services for processing staple foods as well as producing top-quality materials. Worldwide, the company has a leading market position for production systems used in the making of flour, the processing of animal feed, but also in the making of pasta and chocolate as well as in aluminum die casting. The company’s core technologies are mechanical and thermal process engineering. With its expertise and its 150-year experience, Bühler develops unique and innovative machines that focus on the solution behind the solution. The Bühler Group is active in more than 140 countries, has a workforce worldwide of more than 10 000 employees and recorded sales of CHF 2322 million in the fiscal year 2013.