Derive Technologies’ client is a privately held, East Coast manufacturer and distributor of specific food products for the food service industry in the United States. Among the company’s many important accounts, they are the official condiment supplier to one of America’s most important sports teams.
The food supplier company turned to Derive to implement new, Tier 1, all-flash array Hewlett Packard Enterprise® (HPE®) 3PAR StoreServ Storage solutions, along with new HPE BladeSystem Gen 9 servers, and other complimentary technologies and services from VMware® (vSphere 6.0), Exagrid® and Veeam®, to optimize their corporate IT and modernize their disaster recovery facility—all to meet fast-paced, ever-changing business needs at reduced cost by engaging Derive’s experienced team.
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- National Wholesale Food Product Supplier Company: Storage and Infrastructure Modernization: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and VMware, Exagrid + Veeam
A nearly decade-old disaster recovery (DR) site (as of 2015) comprised legacy storage, server and data management technologies – from HP and other complimentary providers – that were implemented for the food product supplier company by Derive Technologies during the DR site’s initial build. When put in place almost 10 years ago, these solutions were forward-looking; however, after such a long period, they had come to end-of-life for support, and also could not meet the client’s current, rapidly-expanding business requirements.
The food supplier company’s headquarters and DR facility – the main office located in New Jersey; the DR site in the southeastern United States – were, in 2015, continuing to employ older-generation LeftHand P4000 Series iSCSI storage and ProLiant (DL380) G6 Servers, running VMware vSphere 4.0. With new requirements for data and network speed, and with greater volumes of information stored on these devices using legacy virtualization software (yet cloud-based), these technologies began to become increasingly slower and less available.
After conducting an initial business review of the systems in both of their locations, the food product supplier company decided to undertake an infrastructure modernization initiative. This would ensure best practices in service delivery and compliance, increase overall business and service up-time, and improve user experiences for their business-to-business customers.
Derive Technologies was chosen by the food product supplier company to support the project. The client had, and continues to maintain, a long, trusted business relationship with Derive, and Derive is a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) PartnerOne Platinum Specialist Partner (Converged Infrastructure) and a VMware Server Virtualization Partner. Derive performed the original installation and support of the LeftHand storage, the DL Series Servers, and the older VMware vSphere software in the client’s DR site, and also undertook other, ongoing, IT consulting and support projects for the company for a decade.
Derive’s knowledge of all of the client’s existing systems, and experience in implementing, testing, and providing ongoing support for, new technologies needed to meet the company’s current requirements – including needs surrounding modern business applications, mobility, increased data speed, improved redundancy, and more – were seen by the client as beneficial for the project. Cited as well as among the Derive’s assets were, and continue to be, Derive’s familiarity with the physical environments within the food product supplier company’s headquarters and DR site, and of the company’s overall corporate culture. According to the food supplier company, the most beneficial attribute of engaging Derive for this project (and for other projects) is that they can achieve their modernization through local outsourcing of Derive’s on-staff, high value, engineering resources. For an important, but midsized company like Derive’s food supplier client, to hire professionals with the combination of skills that Derive can provide, would be cost prohibitive.
Derive began the project by replacing the legacy, LeftHand P4000 iSCSI storage in the client’s headquarters with a flat storage-area network (SAN) using HPE Gen 9 Blade Infrastructure and HPE 3PAR StoreServ 7400. Along with this installation, Derive – to obtain performance details for the HPE 3PAR StoreServ – implemented the HPE Reporting Software Suite, HPE’s Storage Device Management Software package. According to HPE, System Reporter is a, “flexible, intuitive, web-based performance and capacity management tool that aggregates fine-grained performance and capacity usage data for HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage Systems, regardless of location.”
Additional highlights of the implementation at the client’s corporate office were the addition of SSD drives for adaptive flash cache and storing their virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) image on a solid-state drive (SSD) tier. This was done following the running of a HPE 3PAR StoreServ performance report, which showed the needs to further increase input and output (I/O) to support new streaming & VDI services that would be run run by the company. Derive also upgraded the food product supplier company’s VMware environment from vSphere 5.0 to the new generation 6.0, which, as VMware puts it, is the “Foundation for Hybrid Cloud”, delivering “More Than 650 New Features and Innovations- New VMware OpenStack Distribution Delivers Simple Path to Building OpenStack Clouds.” Finally, Derive configured SAN-based Veeam Backup & Replication v9, which, according to Veeam, “provides fast, flexible and reliable recovery of virtualized applications and data, bringing virtual machine backup and replication together in a single software solution.” As the new technologies were being put in place, Derive decommissioned the legacy LeftHand storage and standalone G6 and G7 blade servers.
The entire upgrade was performed with no interruption to business uptime, with Derive running a mirrored environment using the newly-implemented VMware vSphere 6.0, including the virtual VMware ESXi utility. By using VMware vSphere, data migration could be undertaken while users were, and – for future storage upgrades and data transfer – are, using it, and will use it in the future.
Derive was also sent back to the DR site in the southwest U.S. – where, as stated previously, Derive first implemented an HPE storage and performance infrastructure – to upgrade from HPE LeftHand P4000 storage to new HPE 3PAR StoreServ 8400 two-node storage. In the same manner as the install at the company’s headquarters, Derive equipped the DR site with new HPE ProLiant DL360G9 servers (replacing the G7 series stand-alone servers), and added two Brocade SAN switches for fibre connectivity. Derive seamlessly upgraded VMware vSphere (in this location as well) from V 5.0 to 6.0, and integrated data from the soon-to-be-decommissioned HPE LeftHand 4000 series storage to the new HPE 3PAR StoreServ 8400 storage seamlessly—all also without business interruption. Veeam Backup & Replication v9 was configured for the new DR infrastructure to provide seamless failover and business continuity.
At the conclusion of the upgrade, the food product supplier company requested that Derive’s professional services team, under an ongoing, managed infrastructure service contract, continue to maintain the firmware for all of the IT hardware in both of their environments—Derive can support firmware upgrades and other troubleshooting remotely (e.g. from Derive’s New York headquarters for both the New Jersey and southeast U.S. facilities), as well as onsite. Utilizing the same contract, Derive continues to manage the storage and blade infrastructure and any additional, large data migrations, to upgrade Veeam OS upgrades and to meet other related needs. Using VMware Operations Manager, the client, and Derive, are able to be more proactive to identify the system, storage, availability and other requirements for the company’s future IT projects.
According to the client, the entire modernization and ongoing staff augmentation initiative resulted in, and continues to provide, dramatic improvements in the performance of various long-running business applications and of data speed. It also enables the implementation of new, state-of-the-art software and services to support the client’s always-evolving working model and to improve customer experiences. By utilizing Derive to manage the storage and infrastructure upgrade and to support related, ongoing IT business needs, this midsized food supplier company is assured of a scalable, secure, up-to-date, computing architecture at a predictable, and an appreciably reduced, cost—according to Derive’s client, providing savings of more than 25%.