Here’s how a company patched up its crumbling IT foundation

colocation 2The company had a problem: Its IT environment was so disjointed and outdated, it was a proverbial house of cards, teetering on collapse. The outdated infrastructure was unreliable and slow, which caused delays in sales and inventory reporting. If one system failed, it could shut down the entire IT infrastructure and paralyze sales management and order fulfillment.

For small and medium-sized businesses with more pressing budgetary priorities, it’s easy to see how such a situation could arise. When an external audit found that the company had severely underfunded its IT department for years, management took notice.

The company, which manufactures building materials, decided to make a change and upgrade an old, end-of-life array and its virtualized environment into a reliable and well-constructed infrastructure. But it needed help fixing an IT environment that was just barely working.

A lean shop that needed help

The company’s litany of problems included hardware that was past end-of-life support, a new EMC VNX5200 storage array that wasn’t properly deployed, and two separate VMware environments that lacked integration. The company ran a lean IT department that had a legacy of saving money wherever it could, so the system was ineffective and poorly maintained but it worked just well enough to get by.

The company’s new management called upon SHI to assist in fixing the problems. SHI properly deployed and configured the new array, allowing it to communicate with other storage and server nodes, and then migrated all existing data.

SHI’s experts and the company’s IT team also installed an updated VMware environment and moved the company’s production data to the cloud. The result was a functional environment that was fully supported.

But the work wasn’t done just yet, as still more upgrades were on the horizon.

Assembling an integrated environment

The company came back to SHI a few months later when it needed assistance building a second cluster for its database. Because part of the environment was well past its end of life, the system performed slowly and unreliably. A hardware refresh was the only fix.

The company purchased the new hardware, SHI deployed it, and the company gained a more reliable and fully supported network environment. Now, problems with the hardware could be fixed by the vendor – a far cry from the past when the only support offered was the opportunity to upgrade. And the system ran faster and could handle complex reporting easily.

Part of the upgrade process was consolidating two VMware environments into a single version in one cluster of servers. SHI assisted in combining the two existing virtualized environments and upgrading them to VMware 6.0. By simplifying its virtualized environment, the company was able to reduce its virtualization footprint, as well as some costs related to licensing and floor space requirements. As a result, the company gained clear insights into its data and virtualized applications.

Rebuilding an underserved environment

SHI helped the company improve its IT environment by stripping it down to its basic parts and rebuilding it piece by piece. This process went slowly but smoothly, and the company’s environment is now built on solid and secure IT fundamentals. These incremental improvements made a big difference, as the system is now more responsive and reliable, and processes that once took hours now only take a few minutes.

This rebuilt infrastructure means key processes have been centralized and all hardware is properly integrated, which gives the organization better insights into capacity and where data is stored. This strong foundation allows the company to forecast needs based on current storage and server usage, and scale up when it needs additional capabilities.

All of this allows the company to better process customer orders and manage existing sales.

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