Synapse360 has completed the roll out of a new virtualised infrastructure for Trent and Dove Housing, based on EMC’s VSPEX reference architecture. The project began in November 2012, with the first phase completed in January 2013, with the infrastructure itself costing just under £100,000.
The EMC-based infrastructure replaces Trent and Dove’s ageing server estate which was beginning to suffer from numerous hardware failures, slow performance from its Citrix desktops, and desktop and backup and disaster recovery processes that were taking too long.
John Imber, information systems manager, Trent & Dove Housing, said, “Some of our servers were up to seven years old and although we had partially virtualised our environment, we were still spending too much time maintaining the infrastructure and too little time helping the business address new challenges.
“We needed a high degree of reliability and performance, we wanted to reduce disaster recovery times from days to hours, we wanted something easy to manage and that could scale with us for five years without further significant investment, and it needed to offer great value for money. We were also constrained by the size of our server room.”
Synapse360 was chosen in 2012 to supply and implement Trent and Dove’s new infrastructure, with the housing provider reporting that Synapse360 was the only supplier to propose a fully integrated solution.
VSPEX is an EMC reference architecture that combines server, network, virtualisation, storage and backup technologies in an infrastructure stack that enables businesses to transform their IT infrastructures quickly and simply. For Trent and Dove, Synapse360 specified Cisco UCS servers and networking, EMC VNX storage and Data Domain backup, and a VMware hypervisor.
Imber said, “One option was for us to build our own technology stack but there is always a risk that the components won’t work well together. With VSPEX, EMC has already done all the hard work by testing and pre-validating every component in the solution in order to significantly reduce our risk. We migrated 20 servers in the first week and that was pretty painless.
“VSPEX requires much less management than our old infrastructure. It is simple to provision virtual machines and the auto-tiering facility means that we can be sure that we are optimising our storage capacity without constant intervention.”
The integration of Data Domain has reduced Trent and Dove’s reliance on tape for backup and recovery. Backup times have been significantly reduced using Data Domain’s de-duplication technology and because it is fully integrated with the storage array, backup management is much simpler.
Imber said, “Resilience, performance, DR, scalability and management are all better with VSPEX, and we’ve slashed costs too.”