COIN Back-up service essential for Howden Thomassen Compressors

Howden Thomassen Compressors (hereafter referred to as Howden) is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of reciprocating compressors. With over a century of experience in compression solutions, Howden supplies to major refineries, leading oil and gas industries, petrochemical companies and other industrial organisations.

Eddie Vercauteren, IT Operations Manager at Howden, talks about working with COIN;

What’s Howden’s most important reason for having a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?

The main reason for creating a BCP is primarily to ensure our business continuity. On top of that is the SOX legislation, which following our takeover by US company Colfax we’re required to comply with. The BCP also needs to be tested annually.

Without a Business Continuity Plan, how would a disaster affect Howden?

Our foreign operations depend on the information that’s held on the IT systems in The Netherlands. A standardisation process is under way in the ERP and financial systems, which are also used at our branches in Australia, Dubai, Singapore and India. As a result of various takeovers, we’ve become part of a much wider network, meaning a failure in The Netherlands impacts on the critical processes of our branches worldwide.

What are the key reasons for selecting COIN as your Business Continuity partner?

In addition to the ability to offload the back-up activities and ancillary disaster recovery services, our choice was also determined by the additional options such as recovery servers, recovery workstations and the crisis management team room that COIN can offer at the recovery location.

Why did Howden select the COIN Back-up Service?

Howden was previously using an in-house IASO solution, and we were looking to outsource management of this. We were looking for a supplier who supported the IASO back-up software, including restoring this onto recovery systems. That had to be a supplier who guaranteed storage of the data in The Netherlands, and not just ‘somewhere in a Cloud’. COIN meets these criteria and has worked intensively with IASO on the transfer of our data to storage in the COIN Data Centre. As a result, the transition to an outsourced IASO solution – in the form of the COIN Back-up Service – didn’t really impact us. We were looking for a supplier as well who was able to offer the recovery workstations at a convenient recovery location situated at a safe distance from our own site, and here again COIN was able to meet our requirement brilliantly through its many recovery locations distributed across The Netherlands.

What has been Howden’s experience with COIN’s approach to BCM?

So far, our experience with COIN has been excellent. Of course some challenges did arise during the overall project, but these were quickly resolved. The disaster recovery test went very well indeed, as did testing of the restore functionality. Communication with the people at COIN for any questions and problems also goes smoothly.

What does Howden expect from its Business Continuity partner in the event of disaster?

Should disaster strike, we’d expect COIN to work actively with us. In a disaster & recovery situation, we’d be having to cope with a lot of things and at times like that, it’s good to have a partner like COIN able to take the pressure off our own IT department by taking care of the systems recovery tasks. That leaves the IT department free to deal with the next phase of the recovery process.

What feedback or recommendations does Howden have for COIN?

Here at Howden we work with a mixed environment of VMware and Hyper-V, and more and more of our systems will be moving across to Hyper-V as Howden’s chosen standard. Support for both Hyper-V and VMware is a precondition for sticking with the COIN Back-up Service in future.

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