ZCL Composites Inc.
“My job is to get all those DR policies up and running. Now we’re streamlining them further.”
– Mohit Robinson, IT Manager, ZCL Composites
ZCL Composites leads the market in providing underground fiberglass tanks for the petroleum industry, with more than 80% market share in gas stations in its native Canada. ZCL counts 15 locations with its headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta.
Just a few years ago, ZCL’s IT operations were entirely outsourced, but have now moved largely in-house. IT Manager Mohit Robinson had some big goals to accomplish when he started looking for a solution that could help continue to consolidate IT, plus add remote office management and data protection and recovery.
ZCL’s small IT team of less than 10 people supports 300 end users across 14 locations in the U.S. and Canada. The server environment is 100% virtualized. Robinson knew the company would need an adequate IT environment to support its infrastructure.
Robinson had been down the hyperconverged road before with another vendor, but the experience was disappointing, and ZCL eventually removed the equipment entirely from their environment. The retired platform consumed nearly half of the compute resources available, leaving very little CPU for running applications.
As a VMware VCP, Robinson knew that VMware virtualization was the way forward for him and his team, rather than Hyper-V, which he had tried before. SimpliVity’s vCenter integration impressed him, as did the pre-sales support. “I talked to a technical person up front, which was very reassuring,” Robinson said.
Robinson needed scalability and stability most of all. “We’d been running into quite a lot of outages, which was concerning,” he said. Robinson found SimpliVity after hearing a positive recommendation. One key criteria for choosing SimpliVity was its ability to quickly move data to and from ZCL’s remote manufacturing locations.
They did a trial run at the company’s Minneapolis site and brought the server up and running within 15 minutes, which was reassuring to Robinson. ZCL hadn’t had enough compute, storage, or memory to keep up with the business. The company also didn’t have any disaster recovery policies. Robinson was cautious after his previous experience, but within six months of evaluating SimpliVity he made the decision.
Deployment was very straightforward. “They handed it over and we started vMotioning,” Robinson said. He moved the hypervisor platform from Hyper-V to VMware at the same time, and those servers took a week at the most to spin up. The SimpliVity part of the equation took only about four hours, Robinson said.
Bringing Hyperconvergence Benefits
SimpliVity has made Robinson’s job easier. “My job is to get all those DR policies up and running. Now we’re streamlining them further,” Robinson said, and their IT consultant or in-house team can do the work if Robinson isn’t available. He’s freed up a lot of time for new projects.
SimpliVity’s inline deduplication has saved a lot of storage space, with 22:1 dedupe and 14:1 data efficiency ratios. With those space savings, ZCL can now optimize resources better for its servers. They’ve moved from the previous 8MB of RAM and 1 CPU per server to offer more space to the development team for their test environments. ZCL hasn’t experienced any of the resource issues they had with the previous vendor, since SimpliVity’s OmniCube technology offloads processing to avoid any application performance issues.
Robinson has been very pleased with SimpliVity support as well. “You ask technical questions and you get a sensible answer,” he said of the western Canada support team he’s used. “They saved us from creating a new DR plan.”
Planning for Growth
“We’ve had great success,” Robinson said, and with the success of the SimpliVity implementation, he has mapped out IT’s next projects. ZCL has consolidated down to half a rack in the data center, and power consumption has dropped accordingly. Robinson said IT is now upgrading firewalls and finishing a VoIP project, and will then implement VMware Horizon to run VDI on SimpliVity for remote sales users.
Robinson expects growth in that virtual desktop area, especially now that enough storage space is available to handle that growth. Another goal is increased systems security. Robinson also said ZCL will aim to phase out its Barracuda backup appliance once it upgrades to SimpliVity 3.0, which includes file-level restore capabilities.
ZCL Composites has built a foundation for growth with SimpliVity, in addition to creating disaster recovery sites, adding data protection, and connecting remote sites
to headquarters. Its approach to hyperconverged infrastructure brought the efficiency, global management, and built-in data protection that ZCL needed to move forward.
ZCL COMPOSITES INC. has grown to become North America’s leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of cost-effective fibreglass tank systems to the petroleum industry. An unrelenting drive to manufacture superior fibreglass tanks that “simply will not corrode” has made ZCL the preferred choice in many industrial and retail sectors.
Combined with its subsidiary companies, XERXES CORPORATION, ZCL DUALAM INC. and PARABEAM B.V., ZCL COMPOSITES INC. is an unparalleled industry leader with a vision “to be the leading global provider of environmentally friendly liquid storage, fluid handling and corrosion resistant industrial products.”