It’s a necessity for all organisations to monitor their internal IT systems to ensure they are as efficient as they can be. As data grows and technology advances, it’s without doubt a possibility to simply cling on to the systems you’ve been using for years, but developments can mean increased efficiency and improved savings - and this is exactly what Predatar reseller Silverstring have seen in recent weeks.
For some time now, Silverstring’s Technical Services team have been analysing their internal IT systems, particularly in respect of their function of hosting Predatar, the UK based storage management automation application, which continues to be more demanding.
And with more and more of Silverstring’s customers using products from the Predatar portfolio and with the growing amount of storage under Silvertsring’s management, it was apparent that an IT renovation was needed.
After examining and analysing a number of different solutions potentially suitable to replace the legacy hardware hosting the Predatar UK IT infrastructure, on Sunday 10th June 2012, the renovation was complete. The new hardware and software now hosts Predatar’s Cloud based storage management automation application and the underlying infrastructure fully supports the full portfolio of Predatar products, as well as having the capacity to support its future enhancements and additions.
Although summarised in just one paragraph above, the decision making process of which hardware and software to invest in was extremely difficult - Silverstring utilise virtualisation technologies to reduce their carbon footprint and therefore the technologies they decided to implement not only had to meet their efficiency demands, but the demands for performance and high availability of the Predatar products.
And the technology they chose has proven to meet their needs perfectly.
For instance, the IBM Storwize V7000 was selected for their disk system. A recent addition to the IBM storage product portfolio, it has been a huge talking point as of late, due largely to its simplicity - with the large number of features available, including the enablement of real-time compression and the auto migration of actively used data to SSD, the simple to use GUI (which is in fact being adopted across many IBM products) put the final seal on the decision to use the Storwize V7000.
To work alongside the new disk system, Silverstring chose to install an 8GB fibre channel storage area network with IBM SAN24B switches, ensuring the necessary IO bandwidth was available between the virtual machines and disk system, a period during which a redundant switch deployment design was also implemented.
Furthermore, to pro-actively monitor the SAN fabric and the disk systems hosting Predatar and its associated systems, IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Centre (TPC) was chosen. Continuously monitoring the SAN fabric and disk systems for performance related issues and custom defined thresholds, these are crossed to allow Silverstring to pro-actively upgrade the infrastructure to meet the product demands and resolves issues before they become a major problem.
And as IBM TPC has recently been updated - to version 5.1 - it means Silverstring are able to take advantage of the improved, streamlined interface, amongst a number of other new features and product enhancements.
In addition to the major disk system and SAN fabric overhaul, Silverstring’s IT renovation also included the replacement of server hardware to ensure they could meet the demands of their virtual machines, as well as utilise VMware vSphere 5 with its enhanced functionality and high-availability features and because of this, IBM’s System x3755 M3 servers were chosen.
With adequate CPU cores and memory to cater for the current and future requirements of memory and processing power, the 2U servers can easily manage the demands of the latest hypervisor technologies and its virtual machines, whilst also being able to ensure Silverstring can continually reduce the power and cooling requirements without impacting upon performance (and because of the embedded VMware hypervisor, no disks were required in these servers).
Technically, the IT renovation carried out by Silverstring involved a lot of work and took a considerable amount of time and resources to ensure the correct hardware and software was chosen, not only to meet their current requirements, but to be certain they will be suitable for their growing Predatar and storage needs.
The results, however, have been tremendous to date - not only have they seen a 35% decrease in annual operational costs (most notably from maintenance, software licenses, power and footprint costs), but user response times for generating key reports have improved by over 200%.
Silverstring didn’t need to renovate their IT environment immediately. They didn’t need to replace their disk system or server hardware - but they realised the potential in doing so.
They researched heavily and analysed the potential outcomes. They looked at what was likely to happen and what could happen and made their decision based on their in-depth analysis.
And needless to say, their renovation has proven to be extremely beneficial and is likely to continue to be so well into the future.
For further information on any of the systems or products used by Silverstring, please contact them directly here.