Client Case Study: Data Center Consolidation and Virtualization in the Cloud

A Team that Plans Together, Works Together and Helps the Vision Come Together

The Client:

Our Client is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. Their core businesses manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automates decision-making. They also help people to check their credit report and credit score and protect against identity theft. In 2016, for the third year running, they were named one of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” by Forbes magazine. They are currently listed on the London Stock Exchange and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Their total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2016, was US$4.6 billion.

The Challenge

Over the years, acquisitions by our client’s e-mail marketing division resulted in an IT infrastructure that consisted of 9 different data center colocation facilities (some with multiple cages and shared cabinets) and 3 major office locations (one on the east coast, one in the Midwest and one on the west coast). As the acquisitions were integrated into the company, their products remained in their own silos. This resulted in team members holding information about their product, but the limited overall picture of the entire IT infrastructure. The company estimated the environment contained about 650 servers and network devices. The company was planning a major network redesign and data center consolidation initiative. As with many major initiatives, additional projects were added to the scope. The additional projects included a virtualization build out, a disaster recovery site builds out, smart hands assistance in the data centers, holiday expansion, and daily network support. The scope of the project requests would overwhelm the workloads of the in-house resources.

Our Solution

The company partnered with MDS to lead its Domestic Data Center Consolidation and Virtualization Standardization. Our client leveraged both MDS Managed Services and Professional Service offerings. Specifically Data Center Solutions, Project management, and staff augmentation to assist them with their large scale initiatives. MDS, utilizing our own Project Management Office, performed the following services:

Professional Services

  • Provided 3 project managers to assist the companies Project Management Office.
  • Provided certified VMWare virtualization engineers to build out the virtualized environment.
  • Create Procedures, methodologies, and policy for Virtual Environment.
  • Train client in-house team through knowledge transfer

Managed Services: Data Center Solutions

  • Conducted a physical inventory of each data center and office location. MDS’ teams traveled to each colocation facility and recorded server information such as Rack U space, Rack U position, name, model number, serial number, power, and network connections. With this information, the project management team met with the internal teams and pieced together a detailed physical inventory.
  • Reviewed phone, colocation, and internet bills to determine the connectivity and bandwidth between each of the colocation facilities as well as the office locations.
  • Performed detailed analysis of the network equipment to come up with an overview of routing and IP Address space.
  • Provided network engineer consultants to assist the network team.
  • Smart hands & Remote Hands: complete ownership of the colocation facilities to build and consolidate servers. The technicians would perform the rack and stack as well as configure the ILO and DRAC then turn the servers over to the company teams to build.
  • Provide Cloud SME to design, architect, and integrate network within the Amazon Cloud

The Results

Upon completion of the physical inventory and team meetings, we discovered there were actually over 1300 physical devices. Using these physical findings and the internal team’s information, we mapped out the current infrastructure. Armed with the updated data, we proposed a plan to create a new network infrastructure. This included simplifying the network infrastructure and the consolidation of equipment.

  • We closed 1 data center saving $2,450.00 per month.
  • Within one data center, we consolidated four shared space cabinets into existing cage saving $26,000.00 per month.
  • Within another data center, we consolidated four shared space cabinets into existing cage saving $13,000 per month.
  • We also consolidated a cage (with an expiring lease) containing 7 cabinets into an existing cage saving $34,000.00 per month.
  • MDS built out a VM farm that allowed for failover into the disaster recovery site and handed it over to our client.
  • We assisted the client’s network team with daily moves, adds, and changes.
  • MDS assisted the network team with SSL certificate updates, ensuring secure websites did not expire and new websites were set up in time for end-user go-live dates.
  • Our team racked, stacked, configured and turned over 200 of servers in 3 data centers. This included the holiday expansion and disaster recovery infrastructure.
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