Adix’s IT infrastructure could no longer support the company’s customer-focused vision, which is why it decided to set up a new storage environment. For a brief while, Adix had offered its customers dedicated servers. This meant that each customer was assigned a dedicated server, soon resulting in twenty-four racks filled with servers that all had to be provided with power.
In practice, this arrangement was extremely inefficient because the processors were not in use 90 per cent of the time while still running continuously. Most servers had a capacity of 500 gigabytes, but some customers were effectively using only50 gigabytes of their capacity. As a result, energy costs rose sharply. In 2007, Adix decided to virtualise its physical servers. This significantly improved efficiency in that available capacity could be used more flexibly.
“Although virtualisation of the physical servers had already yielded a huge improvement in the relationship between cost and performance, the problem of our limited spread of risk still remained unresolved”, says John Tomasowa, Managing Director at Adix. “If a server went down, this would directly affect all customers who have a dedicated virtualised environment running on that server. In the worst-case scenario, one single failure would cause downtime for eight customers. That is not a risk we want take and it does not sit well with our desire for optimum business continuity for our customers.”
Previously, setting up a server would sometimes take an entire week. An important objective for Adix when setting up a new storage environment was therefore to reduce delivery time and improve scalability of the storage environment. Adix’s new solution also needed to help to improve the service by accelerating and simplifying the expansion of storage capacity, so customers could be assisted better and faster. Adix was looking for a storage environment that would be both horizontally and vertically scalable and that would provide high availability while being energy-efficient.
The existing infrastructure had to be migrated to a more efficient storage environment in which performance could be guaranteed with fewer server racks. Adix selected PROACT to develop the new environment. The storage integrator delivered a Cisco UCS and NetApp Cluster solution equipped with thin provisioning. Thin provisioning means more efficient handling of the available storage capacity. Virtual servers can be easily extended without additional servers being required.
“At an early stage of our quest for a new solution, we knew that we’d come to the right place by contacting PROACT”, adds Tomasowa. “We looked at some other providers at first, but their solutions didn’t match our demands. When we eventually got in touch with PROACT, we knew straightaway they’d be the right choice. They have a very high level of expertise; they know the market and therefore know exactly what we as a small player need in order to grow. After a demonstration at Cisco, we knew for sure this was the solution we were looking for.”
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