Credit and Investment Ombudsman
“We’ve not only greatly improved performance, but also reduced our hardware infrastructure foot print and simplified the management of our VMware environment.”
– Matt Grech, IT Manager, Credit and Investment Ombudsman
The Credit and Investment Ombudsman (CIO) was established in 2003 and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia. CIO offers consumers an accessible, independent and fair external dispute resolution service, approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. CIO has more than 18,000 participating financial services providers who operate in a variety of financial service sectors. The aim of the organization is to provide consumers with a free and impartial dispute resolution service as an alternative to legal proceedings for resolving complaints with their financial services and product providers
With the growing success of its services, CIO was experiencing new growth challenges within its IT. The organization’s new levels of growth required a new data platform for the next chapter in the organization’s life. The legacy IT infrastructure was designed for the early stages of the organization’s operation. CIO was running all their applications on physical servers, and they had not invested in virtualization. Their legacy infrastructure impaired CIO’s ability to expand and adapt to new business growth. It was time to make a change.
Data Center Optimization, Backup and Disaster Recovery, and Simplified Management
CIO was challenged by managing a cluttered data center of aging hardware and software. Their physical environment consisted of general purpose Dell servers with built-in storage. The physical stack consumed multiple racks in their data center. The complex infrastructure ran Microsoft Small Business Server and other database servers. The servers were dedicated to running specific applications such as WebApp, Database, email messaging, accounting and various line of business applications.
To manage risk and protect data, CIO used Symantec Backup Exec for backup and data protection. The organization performed weekly full backups and nightly incremental backups to portable drives. While this was viable for CIO’s early growth phase, a new strategy was needed that also improved data availability and enabled improved off-site data protection and DR. Like most midmarket customers who have less than 50TB of storage, CIO only had approximately 2.5TB, but they needed to plan for growth plus they wanted to improve their risk profile by establishing a disaster recovery site. They also wanted to implement Test/Dev capabilities to improve agility.
With a small IT team, CIO required a drastic simplification and upgrade to their data center. Matt Grech, IT Manager at CIO, saw the need to simplify their IT data center and started evaluating solutions that would meet their requirements for application delivery, data center simplification, improved backup/restore, improved reliability and data center optimization needs. Grech knew the efficiency gains provided by VMware virtualization, and he saw this as a perfect opportunity to look for a solution that would reduce their total cost of operation.
Through partner The IT Consultancy Group, Grech learned about SimpliVity OmniCube, a next generation, hyperconverged infrastructure solution that provides a globally federated, hyperconverged IT infrastructure platform that uniquely combines eight to twelve core data center functions, including VMware hypervisor, compute, SSD and HDD storage, network switching, backup, replication, WAN optimization, real-time data efficiency, performance acceleration and global unified management in one solution. To address all CIO’s requirements, they chose the space efficient, 2U OmniCube CN-2200, and they have deployed two nodes in their primary data center and a third system in the DR co-location site.
The OmniCube 2200 not only met CIO’s financial requirements, but also met all their key design requirements including:
- 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 a small team to be proficient in a smaller set of products
- Shrink the infrastructure footprint
“We just didn’t have the human capital to manage VMware running on a complex SAN with traditional servers,” remarked Grech when discussing his evaluation of other legacy infrastructures. “We were trying to figure out how to get the most resource efficient solution from a CapEx and OpEx perspective.”
Since deploying OmniCube in their Sydney data center and DR site, CIO has experienced a radical reduction in data center complexity. After performing a P2V (physical to virtual migration), CIO eliminated multiple Dell servers in their primary data center, and they easily deployed a space efficient OmniCube that only consumes 2U of space within their co-location DR site. All their mission-critical applications are running on SimpliVity, and performance levels have improved.
“Report generation is at least three to four times faster now that we are running our line of business apps on SimpliVity,” comments Grech. “The migration from physical servers to VMware on OmniCube has significantly improved our customer user experience.” The application performance improvement is a result of SimpliVity’s Data Virtualization Platform that uniquely accelerates performance through deduplication, compression and optimization of all I/O in real-time across all Virtual Machines. SimpliVity uniquely optimizes the I/O path between the applications and their data.
As well CIO has dramatically improved its risk profile and DR posture with SimpliVity. The legacy backup model has been completely replaced with SimpliVity’s native data protection, off-site backup and replication capabilities built-in to OmniCube. Using the policy-based automation included with OmniCube, Grech is backing up all applications including Exchange, SQL databases, web servers, SharePoint and more. Rapid, space efficient backups are stored in the primary data center and sent efficiently to the off-site DR site. Also CIO can now rapidly clone or restore VMs for Test/Dev.
“Recently we had a corruption in one of our main accounting applications, and the staff knew this meant for a recovery process that would take hours to perform and would deliver a recovery point from a few days ago based on the old restore process,” stated Grech. “With SimpliVity from vCenter, I easily restored the full VM of the accounting app in minutes from a copy taken 15 minutes prior to the corruption. The staff was amazed at this new business agility we had enabled.”
CIO now enjoys simplified, streamlined management from within vCenter, fewer hardware pieces to monitor and manage, and exceptional agility and operational efficiency with dataset and VM mobility. When asked if he would recommend SimpliVity to a colleague, Grech replied, “Absolutely.”
Key benefits include:
- Best of both worlds: x86 cloud economics with enterprise functionality, protection, data efficiency, performance, and global unified management.
- Achieving 295:1 data efficiency
- Four fold performance gains
- Three fold reduction in rack space
- Native, VM-centric DR capabilities with enterprise-class SLAs
- New agility enabling Test/Dev capabilities