Hawa Sliding Solutions – a leading Swiss company in sliding technology – has two data centres with VMware ESXi® virtual servers at two locations as the result of a merger. The infrastructures connected via data lines experienced redundancies and were very high-maintenance and increased and asymmetric workloads combined with the long data lines resulted in performance bottlenecks. With HPE’s hyper-convergent SimpliVity servers, Hawa’s IT specialists started on the path towards relieving the strain.
The servers and storage in both data centres are reaching the end of their lives. When the companies Hawa (Mettmenstetten) and EKU (Sirnach) merged, the IT team was faced with the task of fusing both organisations’ IT infrastructures. As the future ERP and Citrix environment were already in use in Sirnach, it was decided that the main data centre would be set up there and the second location in Mettmenstetten would be linked via two 1 GB fibre optic lines.
The backbone of the Sirnach data centre were two HPE 3PAR StoreServ and four HPE ProLiant DL380 servers, on which virtual servers were to be set up with VMware ESX, as well as one local storage area network each. A virtual desktop infrastructure based on XenServer is also in place at the Sirnach site, whereas in Mettmenstetten are additional servers for storing CAD data. The dual infrastructure that was set up at very short notice with existing hardware due to the merger experienced redundancies and was relatively complex and high-maintenance. The growing number of users created performance bottlenecks, especially in the ERP and CAD systems, which were exacerbated by the long fibre optic lines’ latencies. At the same time, the entire hardware was reaching the end of its life. Head of IT, Chris Bregenzer, and his team needed to act.
Hyper-convergent HPE SimpliVity servers at both locations. Chris Bregenzer first became aware of the new HPE SimpliVity server at an event put on by HEWA’s long-term IT partner, Bechtle. We were very interested in the hyper-convergent approach of integrating storage and network components into the server and shifting the focus to virtualised workloads”, remembers the head of IT. Chris Bregenzer and his team started to weigh up the pros and cons. The benefits included the high scalability, enhanced performance thanks to integrated Flash-only storage, lower costs compared to a classic SAN/ESXi solution, and reduced complexity. An additional bonus was the deduplication technology included in the server.
There was only one downside—the unknown technology. “Despite that, knowing that we had a reliable partner by our side with HPE platinum status in the form of Bechtle, made our decision to go with SimpliVity a relatively easy one”, says Chris Bregenzer. To kick off the project, two HPE SimpliVity 380 servers were ordered for Mettmenstetten and four for Sirnach and were installed with Bechtle’s support. The network was switched from fibre channel to NFS via IP-LAN. The final stage was to migrate the virtual servers and storage.
Hyper-convergence isn’t only a marketing buzzword. It offers real benefits for IT.
Better performance, less complexity, reduced data volumes. Hawa’s head of IT, Chris Bregenzer, couldn’t be happier with the new HPE SimpliVity servers. “Practical experience shows that hyper-convergence is not simply a marketing buzzword. The technology delivers real benefits for IT including, most critically, simplicity in the data centre. Thanks to SimpliVity, we no longer need separate SAN and network components in either of our data centres, The SSDs have led to a significant increase in speed which is world’s away from what we had with our old HDDs.” Today, all ERP and CAD applications run smoothly on all HAWA workstations. The integrated SimpliVity deduplication technology also works very well. IT head: “This technology has helped us get a handle on the growth in data volumes. On the two new clusters, we are saving data volumes at a ratio of 15 and 13:1 respectively, which is how we can afford the SSDs.”
Bechtle also had only positive things to say about the project. Project lead, Hans-Peter Schneider, explains: “Conditions at Hawa were perfect for the installation of HPE SimpliVity were ideal because the company were looking to replace both servers and storage at the same time as part of their cyclical hardware renewal. Against such a backdrop, the economic benefits brought by SimpliVity were all too clear to see.” Hawa was one of the first Bechtle customers to have installed HPE’S new hyper-convergent server generation and has not looked back. Chris Bregenzer: “The technology was new, but in Bechtle we had an excellent, reliable and long-term partner by our side for both the project as well as subsequent operation. Thanks to their fantastic preparation and support, migration went off without any serious hitches. The next step for us in the coming months is to fully migrate our Citrix environment to the HPE SimpliVity server, which we hope will generate even more positive feedback from our users”, explains the head of IT.