Regional Credit Union
The IT team of a New England-based Credit Union had been managing slow, steady growth in their environment for several years. Until recently, they maintained a non-virtualized environment, with over 30 physical servers, each dedicated to a specific application workload. Driven by the need to improve their DR capabilities and the concern that they would soon outgrow the physical capacity of their two data centers, the IT team decided to pursue a “P-to-V” migration project, implementing VMware and deploying virtual machines for each of the existing physical servers. In planning this project, the team recognized the need for an infrastructure update that aligned with the flexibility and scalability that VMware enables. After a detailed analysis, the team chose to adopt OmniCube, SimpliVity’s federated and hyperconverged infrastructure platform that delivers high-end data protection and management functionality, while enabling dramatic cost savings compared to traditional infrastructure. In selecting OmniCube, the Credit Union IT team takes a big step forward in technology
adoption and believe that they can unlock significant competitive advantage in making this decision.
BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Disaster Recovery, Scalability, and Technology Refresh
As with most IT infrastructures in mid-sized enterprises, the Credit Union’s infrastructure footprint had grown over the years and begun to stress the capacity of their two data centers. Their non-virtualized environment had become cumbersome to manage, so the IT Team began a market evaluation for a replacement infrastructure. This led the Credit Union’s IT staff to consider a virtual architecture that would allow them to consolidate physical resources and leverage new innovations to serve their primary business applications.
The IT staff at the Credit Union was attracted to virtualization’s ability to consolidate the physical servers and meet their scalability needs in the future. Additionally, they viewed virtualization as a means to flexibly deploy VMs, improve manageability, and
create a method for facilitating development and test environments. Once the decision to move to a VMware environment was made, the executive responsible for IT assembled his team to develop a set of requirements for the physical infrastructure that they would deploy to support the new VMware-based environment.
The team set out four key requirements:
- Refresh the data center hardware with a solution that aligns to the flexibility and scalability of virtualization
- Provide for integrated disaster recovery to resolve the current issues with long recovery times
- Management simplicity, allowing the small team to proficient in a smaller set of products
- Shrink their infrastructure footprint
Upon setting out the requirements, the Credit Union turned to their traditional vendors, Dell and EMC, to evaluate options including Equallogic and Data Domain. After reviewing the traditional options, and realizing that traditional infrastructure would not meet their defined criteria, they expanded their research to include next generation infrastructure providers.
In their review of next generation solutions, the Credit Union discovered that SimpliVity’s globally federated, hyperconverged IT infrastructure platform fits their requirements in a unique way. Space efficiency, singular management, and ease of use were the natural attractors for convergence. Providing a smaller footprint, lower cost, and an enhanced integrated feature set, OmniCube began to stand out from the crowd.
SimplVity’s stackable OmniCube solution provided a clean solution for their scalability needs as well as a smooth integration point for making the transition from physical to virtual servers. The Credit Union’s many physical servers would need to be converted to virtual machines. They quickly identified that an OmniCube solution, with its “data-center-in-a-box” methodology, would provide an optimal landing place for those new virtual machines.
Ultimately, it was disaster recovery that moved OmniCube to the front of the pack. The Credit Union had two data centers, but had not been providing DR for their applications due to bandwidth constraints and the cost prohibitive nature of their existing solutions. The native data protection methods provided by OmniCube, coupled with the Data Virtualization Platform (DVP) that provides high-performance real-time deduplication, compression, and optimization for virtual machines, provided the Credit Union with the DR capabilities they needed to meet their business goals at no additional cost.
Upon selecting the OmniCube solution,the Credit Union convened an extensive evaluation. The team completed a “paper bake-off’ of OmniCube against tradition architectures and next generation solutions, developed a rigorous financial analysis, and thoroughly tested the units. The Credit Union’s Board of Directors and CEO were deeply involved with the analysis to ensure that customer data was always protected. Through hands-on evaluation, connecting with reference customers, and experiencing SimpliVity’s Customer Support, the Credit Union was able to overcome any lingering doubt. The Credit Union recognized that with the new DR capabilities enabled by OmniCube, they would be in a better business position than they would be by continuing to rely on traditional server/storage designs.
SimpliVity’s Credit Union customer has proven the value and benefits of operating a SimpliVity OmniCube Federation in their IT environment. Now operating two OmniCube systems in the primary IT location, and a stand-alone system in the second site, the team is supporting several dozen virtual machines and continues to migrate to the new architecture, but the migration of some applications onto OmniCube continues.
Key benefits that the Credit Union achieved early in their use of OmniCube include:
- Seamless “data-center-in-a-box” implementation
The Credit Union was able to leverage VMware’s “P-to-V” tools to schedule the physical to virtual conversion onto OmniCube while maintaining their existing environment and minimizing the impact to the business.
- Automated Disaster Recovery
The Credit Union quickly began replicating VMs from the primary site to the DR site, and is now able to provide all VMs with the same level of protection previously available to only their main business application, allowing the IT staff to sleep easy with all VMs protected and online at the remote site.
- Enhanced Flexibility
The Credit Union has already had opportunities to leverage the flexibility of an OmniCube-powered data center. They were able to quickly modify the configuration of the virtual machines running their main business application to accommodate more memory, improving the applications’ overall performance.
- Simplified Management
OmniCube has provided the Credit Union with a simple solution that the team has been able to adopt quickly and seamlessly without sacrificing performance or scalability.
The project has been an amazing success for the Credit Union. The team is evaluating OmniCube for virtual desktops in the future and constructing use cases around mergers and acquisitions. They feel OmniCube will be a significant enabler for multi-site solutions that need to provide seamless data migrations.