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IT infrastructure/cost reduction Case studies1
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Case studies


IT infrastructure/cost reduction

 

BT Strategic Data Centres – optimising data backup processes to save cost, mitigate risk and reduce environmental impact
GlassHouse Technologies

 

BT’s data centre strategy is to achieve industry leading levels of resilience while optimising costs and environmental benefits. They are moving to “lights-out” operations where highly mobile staff can support the company’s data centre estate across the UK rather than having staff resident in each. BT asked GlassHouse Technologies to help them arrive at an automated backup environment to save cost, improve service, mitigate risk and reduce environmental impact. The objective was not only to facilitate the transition to lights-out but also allow BT to consider taking on the management of customers’ data centres through a dynamic, service-oriented support organization with more mobile engineers.

In mid 2007 BT and GlassHouse Technologies undertook an 18 month transformation programme. At a tactical level the team worked to release capacity and reduce incidents while using root cause analysis to identify and eliminate underlying problems. Longer term the focus was to stabilize and optimize the estate to release under-utilised resources and enable backup operations to be fully automated.

By late 2007 the joint GlassHouse BT team had achieved a hundred fold reduction in the number of traps (as part of a steadily declining ongoing trend). The backup success rate had climbed to in excess of 98% on a consistent basis. Savings of £650,000 had been identified and hand-back to business as usual management was in progress.

Simply using better design principles, back up capacity within the existing estate was increased by 25 per cent from four petabytes to five petabytes (a petabyte is 1024 terabytes, over 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes). In addition, between April 2007 and October 2007 backup volumes were increased by one petabyte per month with minimal investment. The released capacity created by that optimisation work will be used to accommodate growth without significantly increasing infrastructure, power, and space requirements.

Having consolidated the estate, the planned introduction of fully automated back up processes using new technologies will enhance service levels at reduced cost and mitigated risk for BT and its customers. That new architecture will enable BT to adopt its lights-out support model. The accent will shift to over 90 per cent of BT’s data centre operations team becoming mobile (whereas 50 per cent were permanently resident in data centres previously). BT will also be able to use that highly flexible resource to offer its clients either a better support service or full outsourcing deals.

Another advantage of the transformed infrastructure is that class-leading disaster recovery capabilities will no longer see tapes physically transported for storage. Instead ultra-high-bandwidth optical fibre links between data centres, using DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) technology, will enable mission critical data to be stored off-site in more than one place in real time. By so doing, BT is improving the resilience of its core systems infrastructure (already, obviously, carrier class) and better mitigating operational risk for closer regulatory compliance.

As well as those powerful business outcomes, environmental benefits will flow too. Reduced and more efficient back up equipment has a lower carbon footprint, and travel demands are being lowered with far less people commuting to data centres. This more than offsets the on-demand trips of the fewer mobile staff, which in many cases are obviated anyway by the automated and highly reliable nature of the transformed infrastructure.

“Through our partnership with GlassHouse Technologies,” says Harkeeret Singh (Head of Data Centre Strategy BT), “we are getting closer to achieving our vision of automated, standardised, and highly efficient back up services for both internal and external clients. The programme is also improving our business sustainability by, for example, cutting down on travel and reducing the amount of hardware consuming power and requiring cooling."

 


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Yapi Kredi Bank – backup and recovery
GlassHouse Technologies

 

Yapi Kredi Bank is Turkey’s first privately-owned bank and fourth largest private bank. Considered as a pioneer in Turkey’s banking industry, the Bank has established leading positions in a wide array of services including retail, commercial, private banking, asset management, leasing and private pension services. Beyond servicing individuals, SME and corporations through a prominent local presence, the Bank has successfully exported its expertise to the Netherlands, Russia, and Azerbaijan. In 2006, Yapi Kredi Bank was acquired by Koç Financial Services (KFS) owned by UniCredit-one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in Europe, and the Koç Group-Turkey’s largest industrial and services group.

Consolidation of different backup solutions of the banks was an important part of the integration process. Faced with increased IT complexity, recovery issues, and a lack of capacity and resources, Yapi Kredi needed a service that would reduce business risks and bring visibility and flexibility to its environment. Yapi Kredi Bank turned to GlassHouse Technologies’ Recovery Readiness service for assistance.

Initially, Yapi Kredi’s key stakeholders-from backup administrators, application owners to IT finance-were brought together for discovery sessions. The goal was to review the current environment from technology, people and process perspectives, and express requirements for a desired future state. Back in house, GlassHouse analysed the degree of customer alignment relative to risk, quality and/or cost in the current state and future state, and produced a gap analysis. Areas of remediation were identified and were embraced in a prioritised action plan. Supporting the high level remediation plan, technical reference architecture of the future backup infrastructure was provided to the client.

The newly designed backup architecture targeted crucial improvements to the environment:
  • from a technology perspective, the new backup infrastructure will ease the burden of heavy applications on the backup windows and by so doing, will restore backup and recovery services as strategic keys to reduce business risks. Moreover, the bank will rely on a single backup solution which will reduce its total cost of ownership.
  • at the team level, the consolidation of backup structures will be optimised through training and mentoring to deliver unified backup and recovery services.
  • at the service level, clearly defined restore services aligned to the requirements of the business will help Yapi Kredi frame the discussions with the business and design of the underpinning technological solutions. By using the ITIL v3 framework defining these services and tiers and aligning the applications and the data to these tiers, the business units will know that the data is resident on the most cost effective platform that meets its needs. This will drive out excessive costs from the business units and increase customer satisfaction by reducing over engineering and hedging. Policy driven data mobility in the sense of automated archival, secure data retention and automated (or semi automated) data deletion will help to build confidence between IT and users and manage data throughout its life cycle.

 


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National Library of Scotland – data storage
GlassHouse Technologies

 

When the National Library of Scotland began its expansion from traditional hard-copy book storage, to digital publication archiving, it called on GlassHouse to lend its expertise to a very data-heavy project.

The National Library of Scotland (NLS) is a major European research library and is the world’s leading centre for the study of Scotland and the Scots – an information treasure trove for Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture. The Library’s collections are of world-class importance and holds well over 14 million items, including printed items, approximately100,000 manuscripts and nearly 2 million maps.  Every year it collects over 300,000 items via Legal Deposit. In addition, the library is one of only three in the UK that has opted to store digital publications for public reference purposes.

In late 2006, it was decided that the Library needed a more modern approach to storing, retrieving and protecting its digital data, as well as catering for the growing rivers of electronic based publications and web-based information.  NLS asked GlassHouse Technologies to assist because of their deep expertise and rigorous independence.
GlassHouse initially started out working with the NLS to produce the storage aspect of a business case for project funding. When the completed case, incorporating storage recommendations, was put forward, the NLS secured £1.8 million worth of funding for the Library to cover the entire project.

Following this success, GlassHouse embarked on the larger job of assessing the full technical storage requirements for the project, and producing the full reference architecture to be followed. The project team conducted a series of requirements interviews with stakeholders across the organisation. This was followed by a collation of each request, and an assessment of its importance within the development of the NLS digital library; were they ‘must‐haves’, or ‘nice to haves’? It was from this that a plan for a large Storage Area Network (SAN) was designed that allowed above all for easy management and access of data. Following this, a complete and objective assessment of supplier bids was needed, so GlassHouse built a scoring mechanism for use in the RFP (request for proposal) stage to help decide which vendor would be chosen for the project.

A year after the hardware and integration programme was initiated, the NLS is starting to look like a very different place. The SAN is now up and running and data is being migrated from the old network attached solution to the new 102 Terabyte SAN. This SAN itsel fhas been mirrored to ensure business and data continuity, as per the GlassHouse plan, and one of the NLS primary requests. The second identical site is positioned 30 miles away in Hamilton, and is connected via a high‐speed network link.
When looking back at the value of the GlassHouse consultancy for the NLS, Tim Dinham the NLS ICT Manager is pretty definite about his decision to work with the company. “The GlassHouse activity was a small percentage of the overall project budget, but it was an extremely useful investment to make to ensure that at a technical level our project was successful. It’s almost as though we needed an internal audit before we did the project. It’s difficult to measure specific return on investment here, but what I can say is that we have built an infrastructure that will keep us happy for the years ahead, and we have a very clear picture of what we have to do next, which in many ways is priceless.”

The NLS has some big plans for its digital library moving forward – all very clearly laid out. Its next step is to take the SAN to the next level with the introduction of a virtualisation hypervisor, to simplify data management. Beyond this, it’s going to focus on increasing the usability of its data, assessing its value by mapping it out.

 


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Standard Chartered Jersey – implementation of a strategic server virtualisation solution
VirtualizeIT

 

Standard Chartered Jersey faced  a critical business dilemma. They needed to capture an aging system that was still required for historical data but move it from the front line as the unsupported operating system and older hardware made the application vulnerable and difficult to support. Standard Charted Jersey had been tracking the growth of server virtualisation, in particular VMware ESX Server, and felt that this could possibly offer an ideal solution to their immediate issue as it would allow them to mothball the application but retain access and support. In addition they were well aware that they had an opportunity to introduce a new technology that could have significant strategic importance and wanted to maximise the potential it presented, particularly in terms of reducing their physical and carbon footprints.

Standard Chartered Jersey selected VirtualizeIT as their expert advisors because from the outset they demonstrated a thorough understanding of both the immediate issue and the wider strategic aims.   

VirtualizeIT helped design a strategic solution. Phase 1 comprised four VMware ESX host systems based on IBM x3850 servers and VMware Virtual Center server to provide the systems management. Two were dedicated to front line duties and two for disaster recovery. The existing system was converted from its physical presentation into a virtual equivalent (P2V) and was contained within the SAN platform. The ability of Vmotion (dynamic placement of the virtual machine from one host to another) enabled high availability of the application. Phase 2 focused on further exploiting VMware’s capabilities. The fringe services that were not running on enterprise class hardware were moved into the virtualisation platform. An element of risk was removed by having high availability built into the underlying solution rather than needing point solutions and doubling of hardware resource. “Middleware” servers operating on the Windows 2003 Server platform quickly followed.

The overall solution means that Standard Chartered Jersey now has protection for aging but critical systems and reduced physical and carbon footprints. It is able to take advantage of high availability delivered at an Infrastructure level as standard, a containment area for new servers and the rapid deployment of services. In addition they have gained a high function development and testing platform resulting in significant productivity gains and improved IT delivery.

On the project as a whole, Rob Barton (Head of Technology at Standard Chartered Jersey) stated “VirtualizeIT quickly met our immediate requirement but it was the partnering that for us delivered the most benefits. We now have a team internally who understand the technology and are pioneering its productive use within the Bank. The solution really delivers the virtual infrastructure that VirtualizeIT presented at the first conceptual meeting between the two companies."

 


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Lawrence Graham Lawyers – optimisation of the virtual server environment 
VirtualizeIT

 

Lawrence Graham (LG) is one of the UK’s top 50 internationally focused firms of commercial business lawyers, advising clients and providing practical solutions for services such as raising capital, real estate, risk and regulation. Their head office is in London with further offices located in Dubai and Monaco. The company employs 500 staff and has 85 partners worldwide. The environment is data intensive (with each case involving literally thousands of documents and files) and constant accessibility and robust availability of applications and data is a prerequisite.

LG had already begun the process of server virtualisation but timelines were being missed as staff struggled to transition and provision the virtual servers. In addition the partly virtualised environment was unstable with outages common and downtime an issue. The lack of a concrete DR policy meant that servers, applications and storage were potentially susceptible.

The new IT Director, Jason Petrucci, asked VirtualizeIT to work with LG to help them devise a fresh approach down the virtualisation path. VirtualizeIT mapped out an ideal virtualised system environment design, implementation and support plan to revive the virtualisation of the entire estate. In production the team agreed on an HP 8000 EVA, running 12 blade and 13 VMware ESX3.01 servers with Virtual Centre v2.5 for the monitoring of the 20 virtual machines. For disaster recovery, a HP 4000 EVA was recommended with 6 blade and 6 VMware ESX 3.01 servers across 20 virtual machines.

Currently 80% of the environment is virtualised with LG enjoying lower costs through reducing their investments in hardware. True clustering is now achieved over both live and DR sites and the IT team is pleased with the ease of management virtualisation brings. DR is now guaranteed and new applications can be easily added without down time. The previously volatile Exchange, Filesite and Sharepoint environments have stabilised. LG can now demonstrate lower CO2 omissions and remote access is now secured via Citrix. For the future LG are looking at Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and virtualised SANs and will continue to work VirtualizeIT to enhance optimal implementation and support capabilities.

“With VirtualizeIT we really believe they have understood our business requirements and aligned the technology needs applying their expert services to address them. It really is an ongoing strategic partnership with a trusted independent advisor.” concludes Jason Petrucci, IT Director LG.

 


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Honda’s Environmentology™ - data centre virtualisation and green IT  
VirtualizeIT

 

Environmentology ™ is Honda’s ongoing commitment to environmentally responsible technology. The results include world changing advances in fuel economy, low emissions and alternative energy sources for the future.  As part of the Environmentology™ programme,  Honda asked VirtualizeIT to assist in the development of a strategy to leverage the benefits of virtualisation within the head office data centre at Langley, Berkshire.

The strategy identified a clear solution:
  • 40:3 consolidation ration utilising VMware Vi3 Enterprise
  • High availability with enterprise class server platform from IBM x3850s
  • Disaster recovery capabilities with site to site fail over for key services
  • Enhanced backup and recovery capabilities with Vizioncore esxRanger Professional
  • Systems management and reporting with Vizioncore esxCharter
  • Additional replication options with out of SAN replication capabilities with Vizioncore esxReplicator to supplement SAN to SAN replication.

The solution is now in place and operational with approximately 40 virtual machines operating across 3 hosts over two sites. The introduction of the virtualised platform has enabled Honda to decommission 20 machines and replace them with just 3, whilst also increasing the availability of systems not only in the primary site but also in the event of disaster. Servers can now move within the hosts to enable increased maintenance windows and the implementation has enabled ever higher systems availability.

The initial footprint has provided Honda with a platform that can now be scaled in its size as existing physical hardware comes to its natural end and can be migrated into a virtual equivalent. This has resulted in almost every new server since implementation being deployed into the virtual infrastructure, rather than a physical box, so the environmental benefits keep on increasing with every server not being physically deployed.

As Ian Timm, Honda’s Network Support Manager states “Virtualisation allows IT departments to respond quickly to changing business requirements. We can literally deploy to a new server now in 15 minutes, using the exact same standard build each time. It means we don’t have to worry about whether there’s enough rack space or cooling in the comms room to support the new services”.

 


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A major UK clearing bank - contract renegotiation and consolidation across the total IT service spend
Tyler Loveridge

 

Tyler Loveridge successfully completed a one year assignment encompassing the total IT service spend including the:
  • renegotiation of the existing outsourced PC help desk contract with the incumbent supplier resulting in an improved service level and a £7million annual reduction in cost
  • selection of the supplier  to refresh the existing PC base (80,000 units) resulting in an enhanced machine specification, improved warranty and reduction in unit cost
  • negotiation of mainframe maintenance contracts with IBM and Unisys resulting in a  £2million annual saving
  • renegotiation of the  outsourced desktop print contract for 21,000 units resulting in a faster rollout of replacement printers and an annual saving of £1.5million.

 


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A regional electricity supply company - hardware contract renegotiation and consolidation
Tyler Loveridge

 

Tyler Loveridge successfully delivered several contract renegotiation projects consolidation projects for this client including:
  • the consolidation of all existing service contracts and the selection of a single source supply
  • following the takeover of another regional supply company, the cost effective termination and integration of service contracts into the single source supply contract. Results included the smooth and cost efficient transfer of workload and an annual saving of £1million
  • the redesign of service requirements from the existing telecom (voice only) supplier which resulted in a rebate from accidental historic overcharge of £500,000 plus an annually saving of £100,000.

 


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Central government department – contract termination and renegotiation
Tyler Loveridg
e

 

For a central government department Tyler Loveridge successfully:
  • negotiated the early termination of a multi-million pound network support contract to minimise the contract penalty payment]
  • formulated the new service level agreement and associated contractual terms and conditions for the replacement contract resulting in a £1million reduction in penalty payment and contractual terms reflecting the client’s needs.

 


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