Background 

To increase the protection of its intangible assets, Groupama built a backup data center in Brittany, France, in 2014. Two years later, the Group initiated the SAN project with the aim of renewing the storage infrastructure of the seven-year-old data center architecture at its headquarters in Bourges. The «Groupama Support et Système» (G2S) department issued a call for tender for the project.

Premium technology from R&M

With perfectly customized solutions, R&M clearly stood out from the competition. The cabling specialist has been working together with Groupama for more than 20 years. Extensive work to renew the cabling and fiber optic infrastructure started in the two buildings on the 800 m2 campus. The existing space had to suffice for the installation of a modern, reliable and secure network infrastructure, including an upgrade of the 1,800 SAN ports.
Bernard Mignot, DTPI-Architecture Data Center, Head of Production / Systems & Networks at Groupama Supports & Services: «Our long-term partner R&M offers many advantages that are important to us: reliable, top-quality products at sensible prices, geographic proximity with a production location in Switzerland as well as the associated logistics and flexibility.»

Netscale, a strategic technology

Data volumes are increasing drastically and more and more resources have to be connected to data centers and managed there. Maximum port density has to be achieved on a minimal space. The high density can lead to problems in cable management and in searching for errors. Netscale, the ultra high density solution for fiber optic cables, features integrated infrastructure management functions. By using the finest Unicord patch cords, cable volume remains limited with a packing density up to 67 % higher.

The Netscale solution philosophy caters to Groupama’s requirements perfectly. In total 19 3U and 119 1U sub-racks were installed.

«The installation of Netscale high density sub-racks in our data center is one of the largest projects using this new technology in France. In comparison to conventional solutions, a Netscale rack provides three times as much capacity – this means that you do not have to install an unnecessarily high number of racks in a limited space. Axians Networks was responsible for realizing the cabling. The specialist for complex IT infrastructures installed 70 server racks in just three weeks. Sales and the collective delivery of R&M played a major part in this fast handling,» explains Bernard Mignot.

Precision craftsmanship

«Thanks to the change-over tests in October 2017, we were perfectly prepared for the switch of 25 % of the productive infrastructure at the end of November. In the first stage 400 of a total trunksof 1,800 ports were changed over: The rest were taken care of over a series of four weekends. In this way we spread the risks and gave ourselves a certain amount of leeway in case there were any problems. The work was finished at the end of January 2018.»

«The patch phase went off without a hitch. But the very fine optical fibers required considerable precision craftsmanship. We value the Netscale solution because of its high packing density in such tight spaces and that also has a positive effect on the costs per port.»

«At Group level there are currently other projects in collaboration with R&M, for example the tertiary cabling of a 65,000 m2 campus with five buildings in Nanterre, west of Paris. The change is continuing!» concludes Bernard Mignot.