The magazine of Friedhelm Loh Group

The magazine of Friedhelm Loh Group

Innovation – Cooperation

Experiencing the evolution

Cloud park. To the west of Frankfurt, Germany, is one of the most innovative chemical and pharmaceutical sites in the world – Industriepark Höchst. The park is home to numerous companies that specialise in research, development and services. It is also where iNNOVO Cloud and Rittal have opened Germany’s first cloud park.

Text Kai-Uwe Wahl and Supriyo Bhattacharya ––– Photography

It is 8.30 a.m. in Eschborn, the headquarters of iNNOVO Cloud. The fully automated monitoring centre of the cloud supplier issues a series of red-light warnings to the network team. One member of that team is Tom Eichhorn. He sees the warnings straight away, notifies his colleagues that he is taking on the case and heads off for Industriepark Höchst.

On arriving at Industriepark Höchst, the 30-year-old goes straight to the ID checkpoint. It is shift-change time, and the start of the working day for many of the staff. The park has changed a great deal over the last 30 years, and these days fitters, office workers and scientists all rub shoulders in the entrance area. Among the most recent arrivals at the park is iNNOVO, a cloud supplier that runs container-based data centers at the site and has therefore boosted the number of IT experts passing through its gates.
The time is now 8.55 a.m. It was 25 minutes ago that Eichhorn saw the alarm telling him a network switch had failed.

iNNOVO Cloud customers have not been affected, since all the systems are backed up, but there is still a sense of urgency, as the network is the very heart of a cloud IT provider.

Eichhorn hurries as he makes his way across the site. Historical industrial red-brick buildings fly past him to the left and right, buildings where innovative pharma and biotech start-ups are neighbours with global market leaders such as Air Liquide, AkzoNobel, Bayer, Celanese, Clariant and Sanofi. Right in the middle is the iNNOVO Cloud park – Germany’s first cloud data center, set up out in the open in IT containers. Eichhorn likes to recall the reactions of visitors on seeing these containers for the first time – thanks to their stable structure, the great white boxes made of steel several millimetres thick and welded together seamlessly never fail to impress customers.

 

Data center with the highest safety standards

Arriving at the solid entry door to the first container, Eichhorn speedily taps in the numerical code and opens the security door. Immediately, he is hit by warm air, the noisy din of climate-control equipment and the howl of fans. He quickly dons his ear defenders and casts a glance at the camera in the ceiling, knowing that his colleagues in the IT control centre can see him now. However, they knew someone had entered the container from the moment he opened the electronic door lock and activated the motion sensors. In no time at all, he has replaced the faulty switch and reconnected it to the redundant cluster. He looks at the read-outs for the server temperature and network throughput rates and is happy to see they confirm the systems are back in full working order. The back-up system in the data center is back to full capacity – job done!

Back out in the open in the park, he takes a deep breath of fresh air, which is very welcome after the noise and heat of the IT container.

The speedy, straightforward way to implement cloud computing

Outside the containers he bumps into Stefan Sickenberger, founder and Managing Director of iNNOVO, who is explaining the benefits of the cloud park to a small group of visitors: “Through our Balanced Cloud Center solution, or BCC for short, we offer our customers a concept for creating a new IT infrastructure quickly and reliably. We work with Rittal to configure, produce and supply the system as a turnkey data center in just three months. Thanks to the modular design of the containers, users can expand the system gradually. That means their data center grows in parallel with their IT requirements. What’s more, we can also run the data center for our customers, so that they benefit from risk-free cloud-based IT performance and can use the data center according to their needs.”

Another selling point is performance, as the BCC is ideally suited for high performance computing (HPC): “Our system supports the expansion of individual racks with an IT output of up to 27 kW. Customers can use that performance for scientific applications and innovative solutions based on blockchain technology. But the BCC containers are also suitable for edge computing, as they form a cloud infrastructure right next to the production sites and can thus create applications for the Internet of Things,” says Sickenberger, explaining the benefits to the group.

“We offer our customers a concept for creating a new IT infrastructure quickly and reliably.”


Stefan Sickenberger
is the founder and Managing Director of iNNOVO Cloud. The company created the Balanced Cloud Center concept with Rittal. 

Another selling point is performance, as the BCC is ideally suited for high performance computing (HPC): “Our system supports the expansion of individual racks with an IT output of up to 27 kW. Customers can use that performance for scientific applications and innovative solutions based on blockchain technology. But the BCC containers are also suitable for edge computing, as they form a cloud infrastructure right next to the production sites and can thus create applications for the Internet of Things,” says Sickenberger, explaining the benefits to the group.

Help with the digital transformation

Eichhorn leaves the IT containers and heads back. Having talked to customers before, he is very familiar with the benefits of the BCC solution. A number of the pharmaceutical and chemical companies based in Industriepark Höchst have already shown a great deal of interest in the containers. After all, they too want to pursue digital transformation in their organisations. Typical requirements that demand additional IT capacities include the real-time processing of sensor data and the rapid analysis of large data volumes. To meet those requirements, companies need to have IT containers on the doorstep of the industrial plants where the data is generated. The technical term for that is edge computing.

Eichhorn takes stock on his way back to the office: “Our team has really put together a fantastic data center. Security, structure and operations all work seamlessly.” He hands back his IT badge to security and leaves Industriepark Höchst. He is certain that, through the BCC containers and state-of-the-art cloud operating concept, Rittal and iNNOVO are providing valuable support for the ongoing digital revolution in the entire Rhine-Main region and beyond.

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