CORPORATE IT SOLUTIONS
Service Provider chooses SimpliVity’s OmniCubeTM as next generation infrastructure for its private cloud offering, enabling it to effectively compete with the giant cloud providers.
Corporate IT Solutions (Corp IT), an IT solutions provider that has been in business since 1999, recently made a strategic decision to invest in growing its private cloud offering. While the company has been a provider of hosted solutions for over a decade, they saw the demand from their clients to leverage the cloud accelerate significantly over the last three years. Corp IT wanted to ensure that it was positioned to capitalize on this opportunity and knew it had to find some competitive advantages to effectively compete against the giant public cloud providers that it often found itself in head-to-head competition with. Through a detailed evaluation, Corp IT validated that OmniCube, SimpliVity’s federated and hyperconverged infrastructure platform, was the way to achieve rich functionality at low cost and be the technology that could indeed enable Corp IT to compete and win against much larger public cloud providers.
Corporate IT Private Cloud Offering Background
Within its fast-growing Hosted Solutions unit, Corp IT moves client applications from their premises to its own “Cloud,” which is built within two state-of-the-art data centers connected via high-speed fiber. The company can either host a single application, such as SharePoint or Exchange, or a full IT environment, eliminating the client’s need to house any IT on site.
With cloud computing reaching a state of increasing maturity and acceptance by the majority of IT professionals, Corp IT has recently found that many clients choose to deploy their mission-critical applications—those that drive their business—on Corp IT’s Hosted Solutions. These applications include ERP systems, Exchange, PBX, and countless custom applications that customers rely on. Customers are increasingly motivated to move these mission-critical apps to the Corp IT cloud to achieve reduction in capital expenditures, reduced operating costs, and higher levels of data protection and uptime. These applications typically carry stringent requirements such as 5x9s uptime, high availability, hourly backups, and frequent replication for DR. Corp IT takes this responsibility very seriously as its business model hinges on customer trust.
Given the commitment to uptime and data protection, the need to continually drive out cost, and Corp IT’s continued quest to find competitive advantages in an increasingly competitive market, the company is continually evaluating new technologies to determine their fit and applicability as part of the cloud offering.
BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Data Protection, Virtualization, and Scalability
Corp IT recognized that gaining competitive advantage against the giants required both superior service and a cost advantage. The existing cloud infrastructure consisted of traditional server-storage architecture and included storage from two vendors in order to provide different tiers of uptime and performance. Also included were WAN optimization devices and backup devices. This architecture did not offer superior economics compared to its competitors, and the team was not confident that it enabled significant service advantages. As Corp IT evaluated new infrastructures, consolidating functionality and reducing the amount of physical gear in the infrastructure in order to save costs became top priorities.
Another identified objective for Corp IT was to identify a smoother migration path to enable clients to more easily move applications and data into the Corp IT data centers.
Thus, driven by their need to find competitive advantages against the giant public cloud providers, and the desire to seek a migration alternative, CorpIT sought the next generation IT infrastructure with the following criteria:
- High performance
- High degree of reliability, availability, and uptime
- Massive yet flexible scalability
- VM-centric management
- Space efficient backup and remote replication
- Low-cost (both at entry and scale)
- Limited training ramp-up
- Enable background, VM-centric replication for purpose of data migration
As Corp IT researched the market, the team was introduced to OmniCube—SimpliVity’s globally federated and hyperconverged infrastructure platform, and was impressed by the robust feature set including high performance, HA, reliability, uptime, VM centricity, and space efficient replication. Other points of interest were the ability to reduce the footprint in the data center, the limited training that it required, and the simple, flexible scale-out model that would allow Corp IT to start small and grow by adding more OmniCube systems into their Federation.
Corp IT’s technical team quickly realized that OmniCube held promise as the ideal platform on which to run and manage their cloud infrastructure. They performed an extensive set of evaluation test cases in their lab environment to validate the functionality, performance, reliability, and high availability of the OmniCube systems. Through this process, Corp IT realized that the VM-centric replication of OmniCube was the perfect enabler for the identified migration challenge. Not only could it enable seamless online migration over long distance, but once the customers’ VMs and associated applications had been ingested into the Corp IT cloud, they would already be running on the long-term permanent infrastructure and would not need to endure a second time-consuming migration within the Corp IT data center.
With the analysis complete, Corp IT confirmed that OmniCube was the next-generation cloud infrastructure capable of giving the company several competitive advantages:
- Significant cost savings (both CAPEX and OPEX) vs. traditional infrastructure, allowing Corp IT to offer a price advantage over their competitors while still remaining profitable
- Service level enhancements – with OmniCube’s VM-centric policies, the company can offer more granular tiering as well as structure agreements with clients that are tightly aligned with their performance, uptime, and DR objectives
- Migration advantages – the online VM-centric migration of OmniCube gives Corp IT a significant advantage when competing against any other cloud vendor for a new client to come on board
Corp IT is currently expanding its OmniCube Federation in both data centers, replacing legacy infrastructure that is reaching end-of-life process and accelerating the process of moving customer workloads onto the OmniCube Global Federation. Capitalizing on the OmniCube federated functionality—specifically the ability to manage all customer VMs from a single pane of glass in VMware vCenter, while leveraging the effects of deduplication, compression, and optimization to mobilize virtual machines and the data—Corp IT can now more economically and effectively host, manage, and protect client applications. Importantly, the benefits of the OmniCube infrastructure allow Corp IT to offer its customers superior cloud capabilities including efficient online migration to the cloud, ability to tune policies and SLAs on a per application basis, and overall lower the TCO. These cloud services give Corp IT the competitive edge when competing with any other known cloud provider.
Corp IT was able to validate the migration advantage rapidly, as two client opportunities emerged that required online migration to the cloud. Two companies—one an educational firm out of Puerto Rico, the other a Massachusetts-based insurance firm—were considering a move to the cloud but were skeptical due to the difficulty of migration. In bidding for both opportunities, Corp IT was able to articulate the ease of migration, which was a key factor in allowing Corp IT to win both of these new accounts. OmniCube was used to successfully migrate all of the data from both the Puerto Rican and the Massachusetts firm, enabling the clients’ applications and data to remain online and accessible throughout the process.
In both cases, Corp IT recognized that OmniCube’s simplified migration was a primary differentiator for them and a key reason for both successful sales in which they competed against the cloud practice groups of Global 100 technology and telecommunications firms.
Key benefits recognized by CorpIT in deploying OmniCube for its Cloud Infrastructure:
- Redundancy and High Availability
- OmniCube provides a highly available and fully redundant environment to host customers’ mission-critical applications.
- Performance Improvement
- Moving the clients’ IT infrastructure from traditional servers and SAN storage over to Corp IT’s OmniCube solution improved the application performance for the insurance provider.
- Backup and Disaster Recovery
- OmniCube’s backup policy management and disaster recovery functions allow Corp IT to choose from among a rich set of data protection policies for all their recovery point objectives.
- Flexible Scalability
- Corp IT was able to start replacing their existing infrastructure by leveraging OmniCube’s flexible scale-out capability, allowing them to integrate additional systems into their federation over time. They started with a 2-node Federation for each data center and are planning to add many nodes in the future. CAPEX and OPEX savings are already being achieved with the reduction of physical hardware, and the bandwidth reduction is currently being realized.
- Reduced Training Expenses
- Corp IT was able to deploy the OmniCube systems with minimal additional training for its engineers, who can now manage the entire infrastructure from SimpliVity’s vCenter plugin.
- Seamless Migration
- Client companies can leverage OmniCube to migrate all VMs and associated applications seamlessly from their sites to Corp IT’s data centers in a compressed and deduplicated format while applications remain online.
Since its adoption of OmniCube, SimpliVity’s hyperconverged and federated IT platform has assured Corp IT’s ability to meet even the most challenging business requirements of its clients with seamless reliability and superior performance.