CANCOM IT Solutions finds the solution to growing pains

Making savings and increasing productivity with IBM technology

CANCOM IT Solutions GmbH (CANCOM IT Solutions) is part of the CANCOM Group, a leading IT service provider in Germany. Employing 100 people and headquartered in Cologne, CANCOM IT Solutions offers services including IT logistics, project management and competence centers.

Growing pains

Following the acquisition of SYSDAT GmbH, CANCOM IT Solutions faced the challenge of merging networks to ensure consistent service across the newly combined companies. CANCOM IT Solutions wanted to address issues with downtime and connect all branch offices to a single network.

Oliver Rattay, Sales Manager at the CANCOM IT Solutions System x Competence Center, comments: “With over 90 percent of the infrastructure at our Cologne site virtualized, we are fully aware of the potential of virtualization to ensure service continuity regardless of location. The acquisition of SYSDAT led us to evaluate our existing networking infrastructure and decide to tackle the availability issues we were experiencing, which were impacting employee productivity.”

Testing and demonstration plays a central role in CANCOM IT Solutions’ business, and so the company decided to update this environment at the same time. Rattay explains: “Our testing and demo environment is where new customer environments are tried out, and we can innovate and experiment to find ways to boost performance. It is in our interest to make it as easily accessible and flexible as possible. We were looking to renew this part of our infrastructure, and wanted to find a solution that could integrate seamlessly with our network, while remaining isolated from business-critical production environments.”

Selecting IBM technology

CANCOM IT Solutions chose to replace its existing 3Com and Huawei switches with IBM RackSwitch™ G8052 solutions, selecting this solution over Cisco switches because the company felt it offered a better price-performance ratio. The IBM RackSwitch solutions form the backbone of the new company-wide network, offering employees secure and reliable access from any branch office.

Primarily deployed as core and aggregation switches, the implementation of the IBM RackSwitch G8052 solutions was carried out in-house. Configured in stacking mode, the G8052 switches protect CANCOM IT Solutions from failure across multiple physical switches, maximizing redundancy.

“Although we are undoubtedly more skilled than a typical customer, we were impressed by how easy it was to implement the IBM RackSwitch solutions,” says Rattay. “We were able to deploy them with no downtime, and they are configured in such a way as to help us build redundancy into every part of our network.”

With help from IBM, CANCOM IT Solutions implemented an IBM PureFlex System solution configured with one IBM Flex System™ p460 and two IBM Flex System x240 compute nodes to host the company’s testing and demonstration environment. Combining x86 and POWER® architecture within a single chassis, IBM PureFlex reduces cost and complexity for the company by removing the need to purchase, install and manage separate infrastructures for these environments. It is connected to the company network via IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 10 Gb Scalable Switch technology, offering the capacity to scale to 40 Gb in the future, supporting the company’s long-term strategy for networking. By deploying a separate virtual network for this environment, it is both easily accessible to employees and isolated from systems in production.

“The IBM PureFlex System solution appealed to us because it is delivered as a pre-integrated, cloud-ready, easy-to-deploy package, meaning we could accelerate time-to-value,” comments Rattay. “It was also important to us to ensure the same accessibility to our testing and demonstration environment, as for the rest of our network. Selecting the IBM PureFlex System solution and configuring it with a separate network made this possible.”

Enjoying the benefits

As a result of the project, CANCOM IT Solutions expects to eliminate downtime for its business-critical network. Moreover, highly energy-efficient IBM technology will contribute to a lower total cost of ownership.

“Over the last four years, we have experienced two unscheduled outages on the network of about two hours each, preventing 70 employees from working during this time and causing significant frustration,” says Rattay. “We expect to eliminate this by moving to an ultra-reliable network based on IBM technology. The new IBM switches also use 140 watts less power per switch than our old solution, lowering our energy costs by approximately 71 percent – a major saving.”

Selecting IBM PureFlex and RackSwitch technologies is expected to further boost productivity for CANCOM IT solutions by simplifying configuration. Integrated features such as IBM VMready® software maximize performance for multiple virtualization technologies within the same system, offering the company unprecedented flexibility and speed in configuring new environments. As a result, the solution will accelerate development of services and provide the ideal training platform for employees.

“The IBM switches simplify configuration so much that we expect our employees to spend an hour less on administration per month, which we think could boost our profitability significantly,” states Rattay. “Our new testing and demonstration environment, supported by the IBM PureFlex platform, will help us foster innovation by providing the ideal platform for employees to try new things, and engage with new customers more effectively. We believe it will also help improve the quality and speed of training new employees, who can access the solution from any of our locations and get to grips with our operations without the risk of impacting systems in production.”

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The Customer

CANCOM IT Solutions GmbH

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The Partner


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