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Wednesday, 01 June 2016 13:49

Villeroy & Boch: enlisting the Cloud to help grow e-commerce and deal with seasonal peaks

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Dr. Pascal Rheinert, Head of Internet and eBusiness Services at Villeroy & Boch discusses when their success became a technical challenge, and how the world-renowned ceramics manufacturer is looking forward to a bright future.

In the last 60 years, businesses have seen changes: many things have become easier, but some, more complex. Today, they face a whole host of challenges in the daily competition for customers. It is imperative to not only offer attractive prices but also ensure quick responses to customer communication. It has become more difficult to stand out from the competition.

Villeroy & Boch is an historic but innovative company that is known for being one of the best brands in Germany, Europe and all over the world. During its 265-year history, the ceramics producer, founded in 1748, has developed into an international lifestyle brand. For Villeroy & Boch, the two key business developments and issues that they have experienced are ‘internationalisation’ and ‘digitisation’.

In the B2B environment, and especially in the US market, the online shop is the main distribution channel. On days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the US provides the highest sales of the whole year. The continuous growth of online business combined with peak orders at certain times revealed a need for special requirements on the server landscape.


For days such as Black Friday, short-term appropriation of additional resources was extremely important. However with the previous IT infrastructure, Villeroy & Boch could only partially achieve this. Moreover, in the past, the implementation of the firewall configuration had been delayed. The number of tasks to be completed and the delegation of responsibility between several groups meant that it was also time-consuming. In short: Villeroy & Boch needed a new solution.

The search started at the beginning of 2014, and OVH was brought onboard halfway through the year.
‘For us, it was very important for the new hosting partner to operate on a global scale and be certified in its cloud solutions according to ISO/IEC 27001, SOC 1 and 2,’ said Dr. Pascal Rheinert, Head of Internet and eBusiness Services at Villeroy & Boch.

The migration of the complete server landscape into a new IP range brought numerous challenges. As it required a complete change of operating system, each server would have to be rebuilt. In addition, the new hosting partner must facilitate an open, supportive partnership and establish clear definitions of responsibilities.

Villeroy & Boch decided to choose OVH, the European leader in IT infrastructure and leading provider of Internet and cloud structures. ‘We had not come across OVH before and were very surprised that this French company is number one in Europe.

As well as their global presence, what also sealed the deal for us was the provision of new servers within a few hours, their content delivery network (CDN) and their great support during the migration phase,’ continued Rheinert.

OVH’s Infrastructure as a Service solution means that Villeroy & Boch can completely manage the dedicated server cluster autonomously. Furthermore, it can enter all the necessary rights in VMware administration and is able to clone, upgrade, disable or delete severs.

Technically speaking, Villeroy & Boch uses OVH’s cloud solution in terms of installation, maintenance and security of its IT infrastructure. OVH provides its own separate backbone of 2 x 640 Gbit/s with unlimited traffic to one for the cloud. In order to eliminate delays in firewall configuration, the new IP range is on the demilitarized zone (DMZ), speeding up the process and guaranteeing a high level of security.

When it comes to cost, OVH’s cloud solution for Villeroy & Boch is very interesting. The IT infrastructure adaptation is fast, flexible and inexpensive, making it possible for Villeroy & Boch to directly respond to changing customer requirements and market situations (such as seasonal peaks).

‘The competitiveness and viability of a company is becoming increasingly dependent on IT-supported processes. Today we put the role of IT at the centre of a business. Now, the dynamic of our IT infrastructure offering means that Villeroy & Boch is well prepared for future requirements of their business model,’ said Peter Hoehn, Director at OVH Germany.

During the migration phase, the OVH team was in close contact with Villeroy & Boch and provided technical support not only over the phone but also through on-site consultancy days. As the Mettlach and Saarbrücken offices are close, OVH was able to visit both sites – this was a great advantage and made the process a lot smoother.

In order to minimize risk, the migration was made up of several steps. This gradual approach made it possible to analyze experiences from previous steps and incorporate learnings to future ones. Beginning with the customer site, migration started at the end of December; the migration of the global online stores and the Professional Portals followed in May 2015; and finally at the end of June 2015, the migration of the Chinese Villeroy & Boch website was completed.

For both parties, Villeroy & Boch and OVH, the partnership has been a great success. Following the successful migration, all agreed that OVH was the best company for the job and both companies are looking forward to what the future holds.

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