Bristol Port came to us with a requirement of replacing their mission critical systems. They had an ageing infrastructure with limited manageability and scalability which required a lot of resource from the IT team to maintain and support. As the equipment was old, it also raised an issue of reliability and an extra factor of worry.
During initial discussions, Bechtle were able to establish the customers pain points and began formulating a future proof solution to help alleviate those issues. We began by compiling a capacity report which recorded their data usage over 30 days, thus allowing us to see how workloads could be consolidated whilst providing enough tolerance to remove one of their two on-site datacentres completely. Once complete, we had an onsite meeting to report the results and to discuss potential solutions. The one decided upon consisted of a stretched cluster—two datacentres located at significant distances apart, with a host of networking in-between, allowing them to work together as one. To ensure that Bristol Port were confident with the solution, we set up a day at HP’s demo centre in Filton, Bristol. Here, HP were able to talk through the hardware and run a live demo to show how easily it could be managed, plus they were able to answer all of the questions from Bristol Port. The solution allowed for live migration between sites, servers and storage which brought new levels of performance, computing capacity and fault tolerance to their existing VMware estate via HP Gen8 servers.
Working with Bristol Port, we were able to put together a scope of works which minimised their downtime and due to the time restrictions, we could not perform all server migrations during the project. Instead, we provided training on how to migrate the old systems to the new platform and explained the potential problems that could be encountered and how to fix them.
The installation was collaborative between our engineers and the Bristol Port IT staff, this approach helped the IT staff understand the new technologies and design best practice, whilst physically implementing the new solution alongside our engineers. Upon completion, Bechtle also provided training courses for the IT staff to get them up to VCP level.
Bristol Ports new vSphere infrastructure brings many significant advances to their business, some of which will only be truly realised as they get to know and understand the power that virtualisation brings, but immediate benefits to their business include:
available storage and server infrastructure that is split across the site to provide a full disaster tolerant environment, this can be tested and proven without impacting on the business.
The availability of extra capacity for software development when the DR space is not being used for DR.
Increased maintenance opportunities in a 24/7 mission critical environment
Less time maintaining legacy hardware which helped free up resource within the IT team.
Improved flexibility and manageability
As a result of Bristol Port’s migration to a fully virtualised infrastructure, the infrastructure is more agile able to respond to changes in business conditions more rapidly and consistently whilst continuing to offer high availability across the entire platform.
Our server virtualisation project was an important part of our modernization strategy and Bechtle proved an invaluable partner in completing the implementation on time and on budget.
Tony Nicholson, IT Director at The Bristol Port Company