High-flying Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus offers cutting-edge corporate and training aircraft. Mirroring its dynamic business, the company generates soaring volumes of data through new development and production applications—and therefore needed more adequate IT. As Pilatus’s existing servers and storage were reaching their limits, the aircraft manufacturer decided to replace its heterogeneous, performance-limiting infrastructure with a unified, forward-facing solution based on Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) products. This restored the company’s scope to manoeuvre and respond to changes on short notice.
With the finance-lease cycle for key system components coming to an end, Pilatus decided to build a central infrastructure to consolidate its previously heterogeneous server and storage landscape. Top priorities for the new solution included:
“Our bottom line for the new server and storage infrastructure was ‘Keep it simple.’ We now use only three types of servers at Pilatus, which has simplified our support and procurement processes significantly.”
Dominik Amstalden, Head of ICT Operation, Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG
The solution consolidates all storage and SAN subsystems onto two fully redundant HPE 3PAR StoreServ 10800s with an integrated SAN virtualisation layer and advanced tiering technology. This last feature automatically distributes data blocks to faster or slower (and therefore more affordable) storage media, depending on performance requirements. The solution also utilises six high-end, latest-generation HPE server systems to enable virtualisation through a new vSphere 5.x cluster. Added to this are HPE blade servers, also of the latest generation. The LAN/SAN networks, which had previously been kept separate in the blade chassis, were brought together using powerful HPE FlexFabric technology. These networks were also equipped for comprehensive FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) connectivity to enable higher broadband. And to ensure maximum data protection, all key data is now replicated synchronously in real time through two data centres. Finally, the entire setup was completed by an application that backs up data to separate HPE P2000 G3 systems.
Project manager Dominik Amstalden pinpoints the new solution’s enhanced scalability, notably better system performance and radically simplified management as its chief benefits. “Our company continues to grow dynamically,” Mr Amstalden explains. “The IT department is often confronted with new requirements and projects that must be implemented on very short notice. We can now respond much more quickly thanks to our new, highly scalable server and storage solution, which is in and of itself ideally designed for virtualisation.” The decision to limit the hardware to a few models and greatly simplify the architecture has resulted in easier system administration and leaner support and procurement processes. The storage side leverages fully automatic tiering and thin provisioning to automatically free up unused storage capacity for other systems. Such state-of-the-art technology saves up to 45% storage volume and enables substantial cost savings. The two redundant data centres and optimised backup and restore processes guarantee maximum data protection: if one system-critical component fails, its redundant counterpart takes over seamlessly. Through the System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), IT staff is able to monitor the entire infrastructure on one intuitive platform and evaluate trends. Mr Amstalden sums up the success of the project by stating, “Our new server and storage infrastructure has provided us with a flexible, scalable solution for the future.”