"At a time when data is information, information is knowledge, and knowledge translates to progress, loss of data is unacceptable. Using Synology gives us peace of mind, knowing that our RackStations are stable, easy to use, fulfill multiple purposes, and produce reliable backups." David De Boom, ICT Team Leader

The Company

Jan De Nul Group is a family-owned company with its corporate headquarters in Luxembourg. As a leader in offshore & marine infrastructure services, civil & environmental activities, project development, construction, and maintenance services, the company provides a broad spectrum of solutions worldwide. Jan De Nul Group can explore and execute complex multidisciplinary projects thanks to their continuous investment in talent, equipment, and interdepartmental cooperation.

The Challenge

Jan De Nul owns a fleet of 90 vessels including 45 large vessels and 45 small vessels, 20 offices, and depending on the number of active projects, around 64 temporary docking sites. Their vessels have access to satellite connections however backing up off-site is impractical due to high latency and low bandwidth conditions. On-vessel backup was the only viable solution. Their original solution was backing up to tapes, which needed to be replaced by the crew daily. They also had a data synchronization pipeline, but this was not a true backup solution.

They wanted to simplify their backup infrastructure into a unified solution that could be deployed across all their assets. It must support high availability so their data can be mirrored and protected from hardware failures, and on vessels, it must be portable enough to exist separately from their production environment, so if anything happens to that part of the ship, the backups will remain intact.

The Solution

With most of the IT team already using Synology devices, it was only natural they first looked to Synology for a solution.

Because the number of temporary docking sites fluctuated throughout the year, they decided to create a template boxed solution containing Synology units that could be prepared in advance and deployed whenever a new site opened, or relocated when an existing site closed. They ended up using this box system for all their assets as it was highly effective. Standardizing and simplifying their backup infrastructure helped with data management and troubleshooting later.

Each box contained two Synology RackStation RS818+ (and later RS820+) units combined into a high availability cluster using Synology High Availability (SHA). SHA creates an active-passive high-availability cluster from two devices. One device becomes the active server, handling all data requests, while the other device remains on standby, passively syncing from the active unit, and ready to take over at any time. The compact, 1U RS818+ and RS820+ units are built for high-performance data management.

Two boxes were deployed to each large vessel, while one box was deployed to each of their small vessels, offices, and temporary docking sites. This totaled 438 RackStation units backing up over 700 TB of critical business data. For large vessels, one SHA cluster is dedicated to backing up VMware VMs while the other hosts a shared folder containing software needed by the Technical Department (TD), and backs up PLC devices that monitor and control vital parts of the vessel.

On small vessels, offices, and temporary docking sites, the single SHA cluster protects their VMware VMs, ensuring data is accessible and recoverable, anytime.

Jan De Nul also successfully deployed Synology Drive across a pair of large and small vessels to sync and share files. With Synology Drive, both vessels can now automatically synchronize data when in range of each other's wireless networks. In the past, connections between the vessels were unstable and slow, a threat to data integrity. While this was only a pilot program, they already have plans for a more extensive deployment across multiple vessels.

Thanks to the reliability and cost-effectiveness of Synology devices, Jan De Nul now runs Synology backup solutions across all their assets over 120 locations.

Recommended Models

  • RS820+
  • RS818+

Recommended Features

  • Synology High Availability
  • Synology Drive
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