The magazine > Avril Group moves from on premise to hybrid cloud

The Avril Group's digital transformation began in 2017. Efforts to rationalise and outsource information systems led to the launch of a plan to migrate to a hybrid architecture, combining interoperable and centrally managed clouds. Here's a look back at a major project.

When Olivier Clément joined the Avril Group in 2017, his mission was clear: to implement a common technological base integrating a disparate industrial tool, built up over the course of acquisitions of new entities. "Our objective was to support the Group's external growth by deploying a common base right up to the Group's borders. A vast project covering the 6 branches of IS: workstations, collaborative tools, support services, cybersecurity, server hosting and the network.." At the time, the group hosted and operated more than 1,100 servers in-house.

Issues specific to the food industry

The decision to centralise and outsource the IS was taken in response to very specific challenges in the agri-food sector. "In businesses like ours, with low margins, it had become impossible to maintain IT skills and combat obsolescence.says Olivier Clément. At the same time, our industrial facilities required a very high level of availability and financial predictability.." Cloud Temple was chosen to migrate the IS from on-premise hosting to its private cloud. This was a difficult 18-month transition, during which we had to learn to work together.

We came out on top, Olivier Clément is delighted. When Covid arrived, we were ready to take up the challenge!"Just as the Group was about to embark on the second phase of its digital transformation, it faced a violent cyber attack in November 2021 that led to a 19-day blackout, without the hackers managing to encrypt the IS. "In a way, this trauma has helped ussays Olivier Clément. The Group's management knows why it is essential to have a secure cloud.”

A hybrid cloud architecture

When the second phase of the project begins in 2022, Cloud Temple will have just obtained SecNumCloud qualification. Thanks to its partnership with Microsoft, the cloud provider will be able to offer several landing zones to host the Group's vast range of applications. "We asked ourselves the question: what are the best hosting solutions for each application and each type of data?explains the Director of IT Operations & Services. In this way, we have built an architecture capable of integrating applications from different technologies, some of them older.”

The Avril Group thus has a hybrid architecture, operated entirely by Cloud Temple. 400 servers linked to the industrial activity remain on premise, 300 servers handling sensitive data are hosted in Cloud Temple's SecNumCloud environment, and 400 servers have migrated to Azure, notably for SAP instances. Cloud Temple's centralised management also enables the Avril group to isolate the overall cost into costs per application, and thus to charge its BUs on a usage basis.

Hybridisation is a choice for the futureconcludes Olivier Clément. By hosting our sensitive applications on a trusted cloud, we are ready for the arrival of NIS2.”

The Avril Group in brief

  • Created in 1983 to promote French cereal production
  • France's 5th-largest food group
  • Present in 19 countries on 5 continents
  • 73 industrial sites worldwide
  • 7,367 employees
  • 9 billion euros in sales

Olivier Clément's quotes are taken from the workshop held on 12 October 2023 at the Assises de la Cybersecurité.

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