Major Division of Fortune 100 Technology Firm
IT team boosts productivity by consolidating and protecting data with the OmniCube Data Virtualization Platform
A division of a Global 100 Technology Firm’s IT department faced a vexing problem: its legacy IT infrastructure clutter was preventing the delivery of the level of services that its internal customers expected. While the success of the division continued to grow, the IT team’s resources and physical space did not. It was managing three data centers that were already at 100 percent capacity, and was looking for ways to provide further value and innovation for its internal customers—all the while reducing the cost and complexity of its infrastructure.
BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Data Center Consolidation, Disaster Recovery, Test and Development, and VDI
After being acquired by the parent company several years ago, the division still maintained a separate IT organization dedicated to the continued product development and support of the product line. The primary function of the internal IT operations staff is to support global development—a team comprised of 150 support and product development engineers spread across multiple data centers. The IT operations staff is responsible for all of the applications implemented to support the team, including development tools, build tools and systems, bug tracking applications, and support applications; this includes Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), an application in the nascent stages of evaluation for productivity and efficiency for the global workers, many of which were located as far as India. Previous evaluations conducted by the team were not met with success as they did not provide the level of performance to the remote workers that they expected.
Like many technology manufacturing companies, the company required a significant investment in the testing and development of its product line. With 220 of its 250 full-sized data center racks reserved for its product development and test systems, spare floor space dedicated to IT operations was at a premium in its three data centers. In addition, many internal business application systems were still running on older hardware that had yet to be virtualized or was past its useful lifespan. The result was that the space dedicated to IT operations was completely utilized, preventing the team from implementing some required improvements, from deploying new gear to drive improvements and innovation for its internal customers. In addition, despite the value of the applications and their associated data to the health of the business, most of the legacy infrastructure was not Highly Available (HA), and did not benefit from remote replication for Disaster Recovery (DR) purposes.
After the IT Team conducted extensive market analysis, it determined that OmniCube’s Data Virtualization Platform solution would satisfy all of the requirements to meet current expectations for availability, performance, and data protection while dramatically reducing the required space for IT infrastructure gear. In addition to solving the company’s space problem, OmniCube loaded a high number of virtual machines, provided efficient high availability, enabled the IT team to easily deploy and train staff, and delivered affordable scale-out functionality.
With OmniCube deployed in both its primary data center and a DR site, the IT team was able to consolidate functionality and still deliver the level of services demanded by the business—all at a significantly lower capital expense. After deploying OmniCube systems in two locations, the team used the systems to provide virtual desktops to a team of 100 developers in India responsible for both product development and testing. By dedicating a virtual desktop to each remote developer, the IT division dramatically improved the efficiency of the team, which was previously limited by the need to continually share and balance the use of limited resources.
With the OmniCube deployment, the developers are now able to log into virtual desktops served by the primary data center, run development tools, and complete coding prior to scheduling a build. Because of the great value that this use case provided, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has quickly become more mission critical than the IT team previously expected. VDI now becomes an “equal citizen” application as the team is able to provide HA and DR services that were previously available only to the most mission-critical database applications.
Additionally, the division’s development and test environments were greatly enhanced with OmniCube due to the ease of cloning a VM. OmniCube offers native VM clone functionality to obtain a fully functional database that can be manipulated and tested. OmniCube not only replaced the existing infrastructure, but markedly improved the productivity of the overall group, allowing them to develop and test rapidly without compromising the quality of the results.
The IT team has proven the value and benefits of operating a SimpliVity OmniCube Federation in its environment. Now operating a total of four OmniCube systems with plans to scale in the future, the team is functioning with greater efficiency and productivity.
Key benefits recognized by the team after deploying OmniCube include:
- Ease of use for small IT team and reduced need for training
- Affordable consolidation of functionality
- Native data protection, high availability, VM move, and VM-level DR
- Scale-out on-demand, by adding OmniCubes as needed
- Real-time deduplication, compression, and optimization for VMs
Given the tremendous success of the initial deployment, the team is already planning to expand the role of OmniCube. Specific next steps include implementing OmniCube systems into more development and testing environments, including the build server, ticket and support systems, and a bug tracking tool. With 28 racks of legacy gear still in use, the team sees the opportunity to continue to expand its OmniCube Federation to displace the outdated equipment, further drive productivity improvements, increase data protection and availability, and gain back rack space.
As the team looks towards expansion, the simplified scale-out capability—in which a single system can be added to existing Federation to expand the pool of available resources—is of great value and a refreshing contrast to legacy systems that require very large acquisitions of new gear when scaling.