In view of its further expansion, Miko is striving for greater efficiency in all areas. The group has therefore opted for centralised IT support. Belgacom provided Miko with a completely new IT environment based on a redundant data centre.
The history of Miko dates back to 1801, when Leonardus Michielsen set up a coffee roasting and colonial goods business. His son Jan settled in Turnhout. In the 1950s, the third generation of Michielsens focused on innovation, including the launch of the Miko coffee filter at Expo ’58. The production of plastic filters grew into a new business activity. Miko today is therefore not only a coffee service company that sells coffee and coffee systems to the professional sector, but it also produces plastic packaging. In 2012 Miko sold 4,500 tons of coffee and 20,000 tons of plastic. These activities account for about half the turnover.
The Miko company is what it is today as a result of organic growth and acquisitions. The group has a wide geographic spread, with 22 branches, each with its own IT solutions. “We would like the entire group gradually to migrate to one centrally managed IT environment,” says manager Dirk Hermans. “The market demands it. We have branches in Europe and Australia and we export worldwide. That requires an IT environment that is always available.” Miko thus went in search of a partner that could provide the group with a future-oriented solution, with special attention to the redundancy – and thus the availability – of the environment.
A strict selection procedure pointed to Belgacom as the most appropriate solution. Specifically, Belgacom took charge of developing two new data centres at Miko’s head office, while also upgrading the LAN and WAN between the head office and the various branches. “We deliberately opted to keep the data centres in our own hands, at the Turnhout production site, says Dirk Hermans. “The most important added value of this centralized approach is that we can standardize the solutions offered. We offer users more functionality, while achieving efficiencies on the larger scale.”
Under Miko’s new approach, about 700 users will in due course work on the IT systems located in Turnhout. The majority of the users work at the two large production sites in Turnhout and Poland, while others work in one of the twenty sales outlets, spread across 10 European countries and Australia. The challenges of migration to a centrally managed IT environment are to be found at the level of performance, security and storage. “Belgacom analysed our needs and drew up a future-oriented solution,” says IT manager Herman Braeken. “We have worked in modular fashion wherever possible, so that we can easily expand the existing infrastructure in the future.”
Scalable and available
Specifically, Belgacom built two data centres based on an HP BladeSystem c7000 enclosure with blade servers – virtualized on VMware – and a NetApp FAS 3240 SAN with 65 TB storage capacity. Cisco provided the technology for the wired and wireless network. Belgacom Explore links the branches with the head office in Turnhout. The sites are connected to each other with VPN tunnels. “In due course we hope no longer to have local servers anywhere”, notes Herman Braeken. “All employees will work via Citrix on systems – including SAP – running here in Turnhout. The new structure combines scalability with high availability. This is important, since all our processes are intertwined with IT. The machines at the production sites are thus directly linked to SAP.” With the new infrastructure and the network as a basis, Miko is now looking to achieve for economies of scale. The company has thus asked Belgacom to roll out Microsoft Office 365 and Lync for the entire group.
Miko is a listed family company with two core businesses: coffee service and plastic packaging. The company employs about 750 staff and achieves a turnover of 140 million euro.
For more information on datacenter solutions, visit the Belgacom website or contact your Account Manager.
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