Deploying a scalable and flexible infrastructure from IBM
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Cyber Network offers a full range of IT hosting and connectivity services to corporate clients, with a particular focus on the financial services and insurance industries. The company was founded in 1997 and specializes in providing complete infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and application-as-a-service environments to its clients.
As the number of clients on its CyberCloud hosting platform grew, Cyber Network recognized that it needed to invest in a new infrastructure that would offer better scalability. The company wanted to be able to support more virtual servers for a given number of physical servers, and it also aimed to streamline IT management, so that the existing technical team could seamlessly handle a much larger systems landscape.
Says Marco Tricarico, Chief Technology Officer, Cyber Network, “CyberCloud gives our clients a complete turnkey infrastructure for environments such as Microsoft Exchange. Our existing infrastructure was already virtualized, but we wanted to delay the point at which we needed to add new hardware as the number of virtual machines grew.”
Cyber Network evaluated several possible solutions, including IBM Flex System. “Given our existing technical competence, our requirements in terms of the density of virtual machines, and our positive previous experience of IBM servers, Flex System was the right choice for Cyber Network,” says Marco Tricarico. “We were already managing some IBM BladeCenter® servers on behalf of a bank, and we like the blade concept in general terms. Flex System takes this concept a step further, in particular providing the software to manage up to four chassis from a single point of control.” To ensure high resilience for its clients’ hosted environments, Cyber Network deployed twin Flex System solutions in each of its two Geneva data centers, which are approximately 15 kilometers apart.
Each solution currently includes one IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis with six IBM Flex System x240 compute nodes, one of which runs IBM Flex System Manager software. Data storage is provided by an IBM Storwize V7000 virtualized storage system in each data center; data is synchronously replicated between the two using IBM Metro Mirror software. Cyber Network currently has more than 150 VMware virtual servers running on its Flex System infrastructure.
Fast and scalable
The new IBM infrastructure delivers very clear performance advantages for Cyber Network compared with its previous platform. The Flex System x240 servers each provide dual eight-core Intel Xeon processors, versus the dual quad-core processors previously used, while memory has grown from 72 to 128 GB per server. Likewise, the interconnects between servers and storage now run at 8 Gb/s, compared with 1 Gb/s previously.
“The IBM Flex System gives us excellent performance and a significant amount of headroom for the future,” says Marco Tricarico. “This means that we can add new clients without any concerns about negative impact on our existing ones.”
The introduction of Storwize V7000 virtualized storage systems provides further benefits in terms of performance and flexibility. “The Storwize systems enable us to provide consistently high performance for data storage, which is absolutely critical for a large VMware landscape,” says Marco Tricarico. “We can also take a more sophisticated approach to setting up volumes that are striped to a pool of multiple RAID arrays, and we can move live VMware environments from one pool to another without affecting users and without needing to make configuration changes. This makes it easier to manage and maintain the performance of our clients’ environments.”
Increasing flexibility for the future
Beyond the clear improvements in performance for both servers and storage, the key benefit offered by the Flex System solution is greater scalability – both in terms of the capacity of the system and its ease of management. With more virtual servers per physical server, Cyber Network can delay investment in new hardware as its business grows. And the Flex System Manager operational console will enable the company to orchestrate the workloads of a larger number of physical systems without needing to add new technicians to its staff.
“Management is the real difference between Flex System and other options,” says Marco Tricarico. “With Flex System Manager, we can control all the elements of the infrastructure. This single point of control will save us considerable time and effort, meaning that our investment in Flex System will translate into lower costs per client.”
He concludes, “At Cyber Network, we want to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by the value we can add to our clients – we are not satisfied just with standard approaches and standard technology. With the cutting-edge IBM Flex System technology, we can give our clients a resilient, high-performance cloud platform for their business-critical applications.”
To learn more about IBM System Networking, contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit us at: ibm.com/networking
To learn more about IBM PureSystems, contact your IBM sales representative of IBM Business Partner or visit us at: ibm.com/puresystems