Fuchs oils expansion with net upgrade

Industrial lubricants maker Fuchs Australia is gearing up for a busy quarter in terms of Internet development with plans to establish a Web site, trial virtual private network (VPN) technology and create an e-mail gateway.

The plans follow a network upgrade last June when, based on Telstra's recommendation, Fuchs replaced its ISDN network with frame relay.

Jean Bryant, systems administrator for Fuchs Australia, said Telstra recommended frame relay as a cheaper, more reliable and stable method of communication for large organisations such as Fuchs.

Fuchs Australia, whose parent company is based in Germany, makes lubricant oils and greases for the industrial, automotive and mining industries in Australia and New Zealand.

According to Bryant, the network upgrade coincided with an IT overhaul at the organisation and an SAP implementation across Fuchs' subsidiaries throughout the world. The organisation also wanted to consolidate its IT infrastructure following the September 1997 acquisition of oil and grease manufacturer Omex.

Bryant said the upgrade let Fuchs address some of its year 2000 problems including replacing servers, laptops, PCs, and software and upgrading from Novell to NT in preparation for the move to SAP.

According to Bryant, Fuchs' network is used to transport sales, distribution, production planning, logistics and finance data to and from its central Newcastle site out to sites in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and New Zealand.

With new sites in Kalgoorlie and Mackay expected to be added to the network in the next few months, Fuchs is hoping to eliminate bottlenecks in the network by deploying frame relay technology, Bryant said.

Bryant said Fuchs was keen to maintain its existing relationship with Bay Networks, now a business unit of Nortel Networks.

The network upgrade involved buying some new Bay routers as well as reconfiguring existing ones to frame relay for improved "speed, efficiency and long- term use", Bryant told Computerworld.

Since going live in June, the network has only suffered one outage across all its sites, she said.

Bryant said with the network up and running smoothly, Fuchs will be dedicating more time to establishing a presence on the Web and overcoming remaining Y2K problems.

Bryant also said Fuchs New Zealand will begin trialling a VPN (virtual private network) solution using a Bay Networks router and ISDN connection into a New Zealand Internet Service Provider (ISP). VPNs will also be trialled at Kalgoorlie and Mackay when the sites are connected to the new network.

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