HZB: High-tech research center is relying on grommunio

27. March 2024 | Blog, Press release

HZB: High-tech research center is relying on grommunio

Thanks to the cooperation with T-Systems’ Open Source Collaboration, grommunio is announcing another representative customer: The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), known for its high-tech research, has been relying on the open source groupware from Vienna for several months now.

Struck by a serious cyberattack in mid-2023, with computer systems at HZB unavailable for months, a decision had to be made. HZB decided to take the necessary steps and switch away from Microsoft Exchange to grommunio – with complete success, as reported in a Telekom press release. The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin is one of the reference customers for grommunio in the Open Telekom Cloud.

Migration triggered by a hacker attack

After months of outage caused by the hacker attack, the responsible team had been under great pressure: The head of the Application Services unit, Ingo Heinzel, and his colleagues had to find a solution quickly in order to resume research activities, T-Systems writes: “We benefited from the fact that we had already evaluated Open Source Collaboration from T-Systems”, explains Heinzel, “we had classified the service as a possible solution for the future against the background of the sovereignty discussion”.

But with grommunio, the HZB, which repeatedly causes a stir with high-tech research in the field of quantum physics and neutron experiments has not only gained in security and digital sovereignty: in addition to the usual Exchange services, the scientists now also use video conferencing, chat, file share and sync with Mattermost, Jitsi, Nextcloud and much more. This is more efficient, more agile, technologically sovereign, sustainable and future-proof – a European solution, and open source.

Only two weeks for the changeover, thanks to Telekom and good preparation

According to those involved, the switchover was completed within two weeks. The Open Telekom Cloud was able to provide the resources needed within very short time, as the HZB had already gained knowledge on grommunio in detail and the users were able to continue using the same devices and software clients like before. Today, the 1,200 employees use 2,000 accounts on a cluster of 10 virtual machines with a total of 32 vCPUs in the OTC.

The high-tech research of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers employs 46,000 scientists at 18 locations worldwide. It is the largest scientific organization in Germany and “develops key technologies for the future”. The Berlin institute has already published over 17,000 scientific papers, from X-ray lasers to supercomputers. The annual budget of 5.8 billion Euro is funded 70% by the federal and state governments.

T-Systems’ Open Source Collaboration offers the open source product as an integrated overall solution, but customers can also order individual modules: “When it comes to implementation, customers can choose between their own data center or Deutsche Telekom’s platforms such as the Open Telekom Cloud.” grommunio plays the central role in terms of groupware, video conferencing, chat and file synchronization.

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