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INSEE Digital supports Siam City Cement Company’s future needs with app-centric hybrid infrastructure

INSEE Digital Company Limited (INSEE) is the IT subsidiary of Siam City Cement Public Company Limited (SCCC), one of Thailand’s leading cement manufacturers. It provides end-to-end IT and digital services to SCCC’s subsidiaries, helping them leverage technology in their operations to create a competitive edge in the cement and construction materials industries. INSEE wanted a new data center that was reliable, flexible and secure enough to meet present and future needs of SCCC, as business requirements and technology evolve. 

Business Challenges

INSEE recognizes that technology plays a key role in helping SCCC connect with customers and business partners in a tightly-knitted ecosystem through the delivery of new services.

“Digital brings opportunity and change for businesses, enabling their transformation. The use of digital technology can help create new services and business models,” explained Ittaya Sirivasukarn, Chief Executive Officer, INSEE Digital Company Limited. “However, the unpredictability of evolving technology impacts consumers and businesses.”

The IT infrastructure at INSEE is designed to be reliable, flexible and secure to meet SCCC’s strategic business needs. To ensure its needs continue to be met in the future, INSEE embarked on an ambitious nine months project to build a new data center that consist of an application-centric infrastructure at its core, running ERP solutions from SAP and business applications such as Cisco Unified Communications. This application-centric approach would allow INSEE to continue being reliable, flexible and secure, even as the needs of SCCCchanges and technologies evolve.

Sirivasukarn explained, “To ensure the success of project INSEE Smart, we needed to consider SCCC’s present and future business requirements. With our long term goals, we were ready to find the right platform and solutions. We looked at F5 and found it suited our business requirements, making F5 the right partner for us.”

Said Hans Keril M. Ante, Department Manager, IT Security and Compliance, INSEE Digital Company Limited, “We had nine months to complete the project. The infrastructure team was working in parallel with the applications team, as business continued to run. The infrastructure was crucial to the project, and its implementation had to be done right and on time, or the entire project will risk being delayed.” 

“Digital brings opportunity and change for businesses, enabling transformation." Ittaya Sirivasukarn, Chief Executive Officer, INSEE Digital Company Limited.

Solution

INSEE implemented F5® BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager™ (LTM) in its data center to act as a bedrock for the organization to provision, optimize and deliver services. F5 provides both the performance and horizontal scaling required to meet the highest levels of throughput, equipping INSEE with the ability to publish applications quickly within a controlled and secured environment.

Because LTM makes it easy to realize operational consistency and comply with business needs across physical, virtual, and cloud environments, INSEE could easily transition applications between traditional physical and cloud architectures. With F5, INSEE is able to carry out static and dynamic load balancing to eliminate single points of failure.

INSEE also used F5 to keep its environment simplified. Says Ante, “With F5 solutions, I can remove numerous proxy servers, SSL certificates on applications and web dispensers, put them all into F5 gears. F5 technology certainly helps simplify our infrastructure.”

vCMP allows new resources to be automatically allocated to existing virtual instances without any interruption, reboot, or reconfiguration. vCMP also allows virtual instances full access to new network interfaces and VLANs, instantly and without interruption.

The growing partnership between Cisco and F5 provides additional opportunities to enhance its infrastructure, particularly around Cisco ACI. The F5 Device Package for Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller™ (APIC) lets INSEE configure application policies and requirements for F5 appliances across L2–7 fabrics. This ensures that applications receive the services and resources they require throughout the network, while also enabling organizations to automate systems for further efficiency and cost savings.

INSEE also implemented and benefitted from F5’s DDoS protection solution to protect the fundamental elements of an application (network, SSL, and HTTP) against distributed denial-of-service attacks. This assured INSEE the availability of its network and application infrastructure under the most challenging conditions.

“DDOS threat is always around. You don’t have to worry about an attack causing IT to go down. I know F5 protects and ensures availability of the network and application infrastructure under the most demanding conditions.” Hans Keril M. Ante, Department Manager, IT Security and Compliance, INSEE Digital Company Limited.

Benefits

INSEE’s Infrastructure team was able to set up the data center within 4 months of the inception of the project. This was one month ahead of the project milestone, and before the applications team did its integration testing.

The ability of F5 solutions to interoperate and run with other vendors meant that INSEE’s infrastructure team was able to easily integrate F5 with SAP HANA 4 and Cisco’s Unified Communications solutions.

Explained Ante, “When line of business requests to test data as part of its rehearsal for month end, F5 solutions let us respond faster. We use the clustering capability of F5 to recreate a network layer while using the profiling capabilities of Cisco to recreate servers quite quickly. And they all worked seamlessly!”

Less complexity means the infrastructure team requires less time for troubleshooting and can articulate what is going to the application team, making it easier for both teams to work together to resolve any issues. It is now easy and quick to put new applications into the environment. 

“Today, our Infrastructure team can provide our applications team with a new server in four hours – this previously took months. Our applications team can build applications faster, enabling us to meet the demands of the business more quickly. It now takes just half a day (including testing) for the infrastructure team to meet a new connection request at the backend from the application team.”

With an application centric infrastructure, INSEE can easily meet their application needs for the next ten years, all they have to do is simply stack the applications on top of the infrastructure. 

Explained Ante, “DDOS threat is always around. You don’t have to worry about an attack causing IT to go down. I know F5 protects and ensures availability of the network and application infrastructure under the most demanding conditions.”