Leading investment and asset management firm transforms IT with SimpliVity: Reduces complexity, increases performance and dramatically improves operational efficiency with true hyperconverged infrastructure.
“Since the beginning of this data center consolidation project, I have been promoting SimpliVity to everyone. The product is so fantastic.”
– Corrado Pedron, Director of IT Architecture, Waypoint Capital
With roots in the early 20th century in Italy, and now headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Waypoint advises the funds and investments associated with the Bertarelli family and has two principal areas of focus: Life Sciences, with interests in biotechnology and healthcare, and Asset Management, with interests in hedge funds, private equity, real estate and fund of fund investments.
With the commanding success of its business, Waypoint wanted to ensure all its elements, including IT, were state-of-the-art and aligned with the goals of the business. The company required an IT infrastructure befitting its continued growth. Waypoint’s IT team understood the clear advantages of running its applications on virtualized infrastructure, but its legacy server and storage infrastructure was not functioning optimally across a wide area. The company’s legacy IT did not meet Waypoint’s requirements to expand and adapt to new business growth. It was time to make a change.
Cluttered data center, multiple sites, growing storage needs, and lagging disaster recovery
Like many companies, Waypoint faced a variety of challenges with managing a cluttered data center of somewhat aging servers, SAN hardware, backup appliances and backup software. The virtualized environment running VMware consisted of sixteen HP servers, 40TB of HP EVA and MSA SANs, multiple EMC Data Domain DD600-class backup appliances at multiple sites, and Symantec NetBackup data protection software. Across four sites, Waypoint managed more than 200 virtual machines (VMs) running business-critical applications, including security services, messaging, database, accounting and information sharing.
To minimize risk and protect data, Waypoint’s backup and off-site disaster recovery was driven by Symantec NetBackup software. Backup copies were stored on EMC Data Domain backup-to-disk appliances on-premises, and stored on tape for long-term retention and off-site disaster recovery. Waypoint consumes approximately 40TB of storage, but it needed a plan for growth. With unacceptably long recovery times, it also sought to improve on its current tape-based recovery to ensure business continuity. Additionally, Waypoint desired an active-active disaster recovery capability across its multiple sites to improve its risk profile.
Since Waypoint maintains a small IT team, the company also sought a solution that would streamline operations and improve efficiency. A drastic simplification and upgrade to its data center was, therefore, in order.
Under the leadership of CIO Frederic Wohlwend and IT Architect Corrado Pedron, Waypoint evaluated solutions that would meet its requirements for improved application delivery, data center simplification, backup/recovery, reliability and data center optimization. The IT team knew the efficiency gains provided by VMware virtualization, and this project provided the perfect opportunity to secure a solution that would reduce IT’s total cost of operation.
Data center optimization, native backup and disaster recovery, and simplified management – together lead to operational efficiency
Waypoint learned about SimpliVity OmniCube, a next-generation, transformational solution that provides a globally-federated, hyperconverged infrastructure platform. OmniCube uniquely combines eight to twelve core data center services, including VMware hypervisor, compute, SSD and HDD storage, network switching, backup, replication, WAN optimization, real-time data efficiency, performance acceleration and global unified management into a single, scalable solution. To address all of its requirements, Waypoint selected space-efficient, 2U OmniCube CN-3000 and CN-2000 series systems, and deployed a federation of nodes in its primary Geneva data center and clustered nodes in remote offices in London, Jersey and Boston. All sites run active workloads, and perform automated backups locally and to a remote data center for disaster recovery. The entire multi-site infrastructure is managed by just two people from a single VMware vCenter interface.
SimpliVity not only met Waypoint’s financial requirements, but also met all its key design requirements, including:
- Technology refresh: Aging data center hardware and software replaced with a solution that aligns to virtualization’s flexibility and scalability
- Improved disaster recovery: Native data protection resolves Waypoint’s issues with long data recovery times
- Improved operational efficiency: Hyperconvergence of IT components and services allows Waypoint’s small team to maintain expertise in a smaller set of products
- Accelerate performance: SimpliVity’s data efficiency optimizes the IO data path and improves application delivery and performance
Since deploying SimpliVity’s infrastructure across its multiple data centers, Waypoint experienced a radical reduction in data center complexity. After performing an audit of all its virtual machines, Waypoint consolidated and moved 160 VMs running its critical applications from 16 legacy servers and four SANs to a single OmniCube federation. The entire, non-disruptive migration was completed in less than 10 days. All of Waypoint’s mission-critical applications are running on SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure, and performance levels have improved significantly.
“For application performance, we’re seeing great response times and improved memory consumption now that we are running our line-of-business apps on SimpliVity,” comments Pedron. “Our end-users did not know we moved our critical applications from the legacy servers to OmniCube running VMware.” The application performance improvement is a result of SimpliVity’s unique Data Virtualization Platform that accelerates performance through deduplication, compression and optimization of all IO in real time across all virtual machines.
Waypoint also improved its risk profile and disaster recovery posture with SimpliVity. “Recovery times for VMs and data are much quicker with ‘online backups’ on SimpliVity versus having to go to tape,” noted Pedron. “Before SimpliVity, we retained one week of data online. After one week, backup data is moved off to tape, which requires more time and effort to restore.” Waypoint leverages SimpliVity’s policy-based automation included with OmniCube’s native data protection to easily build “Silver” and “Bronze” backup and retention policies. The IT team is now creating daily VM-centric backups of all applications and retaining ‘online backups’ for six months on SimpliVity. Business-critical applications running on SimpliVity include Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server databases, intranet servers, Citrix XenApp VDI, Microsoft SharePoint, file servers and more. Rapid, capacity-and bandwidth-efficient backups are maintained in the local data center and sent efficiently off site to a centralized disaster recovery location. The operational overhead and time required to manually diagnose failed backups due to SAN complexity has been eliminated. Waypoint can now rapidly clone or restore VMs for Test/Dev. Pedron noted, “The Waypoint IT staff is amazed at this new business agility that SimpliVity enabled.”
Waypoint now enjoys simplified, streamlined management from within VMware vCenter, fewer hardware components to monitor and manage, and exceptional agility and operational efficiency with data and VM mobility.
Key benefits include:
- Best of both worlds: x86 cloud economics with enterprise performance, protection, and other functionality.
- Consolidated 16 servers, four SANs, and four purpose-built backup appliances –all with multiple management interfaces—to one SimpliVity federation with global unified management.
- Achieving close to 100:1 data efficiency and almost two-fold performance gains. Native, VM-centric backup and disaster recovery capabilities with enterprise-class SLAs
- Dramatically improved operational efficiency.