Francis Drilling Fluids, Ltd. (FDF) is one of the oldest drilling fluids companies on the Gulf Coast and a true American success story. The company, based in Lafayette, Louisiana, started with one truck in 1977 and has grown into the largest drilling fluids supplier on the Gulf Coast and a leader in logistics operations for the fracking industry. FDF offers a full range of high-quality fluid products and services to its customers.
However, last year, FDF’s legacy infrastructure was starting to hold the company back, Steve Schaaf, CIO for FDF, needed a solution that could solve several challenges:
1. The Growing Delivery Gap
Steve works hard to ensure alignment between the business strategy and IT strategy, but with a small IT shop, executing on that vision can be challenging. Schaaf knows that to keep up with business strategy, he and his team need to focus on deploying and maintaining the applications that power the business, and find ways to reduce the time spent on managing infrastructure. Steve noted in a recent case study, “I need an infrastructure that doesn’t require a lot of time or effort. Initially, virtualizing our environment helped out tremendously, but over time, we ended up building up a large, complex infrastructure that became unwieldy to manage.”
FDF’s complex IT infrastructure caused a major VM sprawl and a widening delivery gap, where the business demands were outpacing the IT team’s ability to respond.
2. Need for Enterprise-class Disaster Recovery
Given that the company is headquartered where hurricanes can cause severe business downtime, damage, or worse, disaster recovery is essential. To quote Steve, “we understand the need for solid backup and disaster recovery. We had been using Veeam for backups and replicating some of our data to a SAN, but we really needed to improve our ability to fully recover from a disaster encompassing both applications and data recovery.” There was also the need for disaster recovery mobility – to be able to move disaster recovery data to a co-location facility – which highlighted the importance of global management, visibility, and automation.
3. Rapid Application Deployment
Faced with a new application requirement to deploy Microsoft Dynamics NAV for enterprise resource planning, the FDF team needed to respond. The legacy infrastructure required expansion, including disk space, and the purchase of additional gear. This new app project caused the team at FDF to step back and review the legacy infrastructure.
The SimpliVity Solution
After initially considering several alternatives, the company discovered SimpliVity’s modern hyperconverged infrastructure, OmniStack with Cisco UCS C-Series Rack. FDF decided to deploy two Cisco C240 M3 systems in its Lafayette, Louisiana data center and another pair of Cisco C240 systems, consisting of a space efficient, 2U x86 platform, in co-location facility in Dallas for disaster recovery.
FDF required a full set of functionality, including:
- Flexible Cisco UCS C-series 2U x86 platforms with pooling and sharing of all resources
- Simple, cost-effective, incremental scale-out in the future
- Ease of use and unified global management from one interface
- Fully-integrated data efficiency with inline deduplication and policy-based data protection and disaster recovery
- Management and visibility that is VM/application-centric
- Support quick and simple deployment
Steve states it best, “We looked at a lot of other converged infrastructure solutions and to be honest, many of them are ‘one-trick ponies’ that didn’t deliver the inline deduplication, scalability, built-in data protection capabilities or superior architecture of SimpliVity with Cisco.” When describing the SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure Steve commented, “In the beginning, I thought that SimpliVity seemed too good be true. It really was inconceivable that we could deploy a 2U solution and gain all the server, storage and data protection functionality, along with the data deduplication, replication and WAN optimization we needed. Scalability was a huge factor as well, as was ease of use and management all integrated from within vCenter.”
The results speak for themselves. Thanks to SimpliVity, Francis Drilling has been able to:
- Converge 20U down to 4U; 155TB of logical capacity and IO savings
- Increase application performance by 75%
- Realize data capacity savings of up to 39:1
- Improved data protection with an enterprise-class solution
- Increase IT staff productivity
SimpliVity helps the FDF reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), while providing a solid foundation for future growth. Better still, the IT staff spends less time administering underlying IT infrastructure and more time focusing on the business and delivering innovation.
Want to learn more about hyperconvergence? See “What is Hyperconvergence” or the reference architecture on Cisco and SimpliVity for details.