Sulzer Finds Cloud Expertise It Needs in CenturyLink Partnership


A business doesn’t survive for more than 180 years by being averse to change, and Sulzer Ltd. has produced everything from locomotive engines to delivery systems for oral anesthetics since its founding in 1834.

An industrial engineering and manufacturing firm based in Winterthur, Switzerland, Sulzer now specializes in pumping solutions and services for rotating equipment, as well as separation, mixing and application technology.

As the company evolved from the days of steam engine power into the computer age, it never intended to be in the information technology business. So, when its enterprise data center grew to house more than 600 on-premise servers, leadership recognized the need for a partner with expertise in cloud technology.

“At a certain point in time, you have to ask yourself the question: Am I in the business of owning servers?” Sulzer’s Global CIO and Group Digital Leader Ursula Soritsch-Reiner says. “That, for us, made it very clear that the cloud was the solution to go for, where we can just consume what we need.”

Whether to store data and run applications in-house or in the cloud isn’t strictly an either-or scenario. Choosing from hybrid, a combination of both, or a private or public cloud is a challenge. So Sulzer decided to partner with CenturyLink, whose cloud experts understood the strengths of each environment and were able help navigate through the “cloud chasm” to an Infrastructure as a Solution (IaaS) transformation.

“This project was pivotal. We have a lot of infrastructure, and we needed to replace a lot of servers globally,” says Urs Schmied, Sulzer’s Head of IT Infrastructure. “We sell pumps; we don’t want to do IT. That’s why we’ve chosen CenturyLink to take care of the IT infrastructure for us.”

CenturyLink’s Hybrid IT Cloud bridges the gap wherever a business is on the Cloud journey. Its range of services includes private cloud, public cloud, managed hosting, consulting services and managed services.

“The key need was to do away with thousands of on-premise servers that were end of life and had to be replaced,” says Jean-Baptiste Witt, Sulzer’s Senior Product Manager, Infrastructure. “It was also about increasing agility in the organization, so the cloud was the right solution.”

Partnering with CenturyLink for its cloud migration, Sulzer now has 570 servers in six global data centers in Germany, the United States, New Zealand and Singapore.

“We very much liked the technical capabilities of CenturyLink. CenturyLink really understood our business needs best,” Witt says. “Today, one year later, we have more than 600 servers that we have moved to the cloud and this has given us a new set of agility and flexibility.”

The CenturyLink platform offers on-demand provisioning of high-performing virtual machines. Cloud servers rely on fully redundant enterprise-class hardware, private high-speed virtual LANs, and storage that delivers up to 20,000 IOPS.

“Everyone has been very happy with the performance, and of course there’s a massive cost saving,” Witt says. “And all of this this scaling capability that we never had before — this could only come through the very good relationship with the ‘CenturyLink A Team’ that supported us during this migration.”

For CenturyLink, the goals of a digital transformation are to help a business remain flexible and innovative, create exceptional customer experiences, protect its brand, and maintain customer trust. This is accomplished through prioritizing platform modernization, cloud agility and integration, and improved security.

Benefits to Sulzer include cost efficiency (up to 20% lower cost of ownership versus in-house), faster deployment of new applications, reduced security threats, reductions in downtime and risk, and near-elimination of human error.

“If I was to look at our project again, I wouldn’t change a thing,” Soritsch-Reiner says. “Moving to the cloud was almost an immediate relief to our bottom line, and we’ve seen a benefit with every step of our journey with CenturyLink.”

Sulzer Success Story Using CenturyLink Cloud IaaS
“We sell pumps; we don’t want to do IT. That’s why we’ve chosen CenturyLink to take care of the IT infrastructure for us.”
— Urs Schmied Head of IT Infrastructure