niu Solutions - IBM Client Reference Video

Published on 04-Feb-2013

"As a service provider, IBM XIV gives us a significant competitive advantage. The architecture is designed to support shared multi-tenancy environments and virtualized environments, which means that we can run the business more flexibly and cost-effectively." - - Phil Clark, Channel Director, niu Solutions

niu Solutions

Professional Services

Deployment country:
United Kingdom


niu is a managed ITC services provider, formed from the acquisition and integration of four organizations: Telinet, EVD, Pasporte and Ipitomi. Based in London, England, the company employs around 120 people and operates data centers in the UK and US.

Business need:
As niu’s mid-market customer base expanded, the managed service provider sought to maintain high service levels without increasing operational expenses or staffing levels.

Seeking a more efficient data storage infrastructure that would enable it to support growing customer numbers at a low cost, niu replaced legacy storage with the IBM® XIV® Storage System.

Upped performance by a factor of up to four; requires less than half of one FTE to manage ten XIV systems; TCO savings allow niu to offer top-tier hosted storage at a highly competitive price.


City of London-based cloud services provider claims “XIV makes more money for this business than any other technology we have. I can put that in black and white very, very easily.” Watch how niu banks on XIV to provide scores of customers consistent high performance, agility, elasticity, low TCO, and resiliency for MS Exchange, financial applications, SAP, Oracle, SQL and more.

Video Transcript

niu Solutions Transcipt

Phil Clark, Channel Director at niu Solutions: XIV gives us is a future proof technology. The architecture is absolutely brilliant for the service provider market

Steve Bedford, Technical Director at niu Solutions: XIV makes more money for this business than any other technology we have. I can put that in black and white very, very easily.

Phil: niu Solutions are a managed service provider. We’ve been around for about ten years, servicing UK mid-market clients primarily. We’ve got two offices. One in London and one just outside London. We’ve got four data centers in the UK that we use for IT services. In total as a service provider, we have around about 250 clients.

Steve: Our customer focus is mid-market, mid-market cloud provision in the UK. We have about ten frames in total with about 700 or so Terabytes. We have Oracle databases, SQL server databases, DB2 databases. We have large WebSphere deployments, ERP, CRM business intelligence applications. It’s a really, really mixed bag.

Phil: As a managed service provider we’ve got a number of things we need to worry about. One is performance for our clients, so delivery of good quality performing applications. We were seeing performance from day one. Moving from Gen2 to Gen3 has also brought us about four times performance improvement. As you add disks, the performance just gets better and better. So actually for things like shared services where we have multiple clients running tens of terabytes of storage, as you add more clients, the whole client base gets the benefit of high performance for the whole device. It’s very clever the way the architecture supports a shared service or a managed service provider in that context.

Secondly is reliability. An XIV’s inbuilt resilience as well as the ability to fail over between sites means that we don’t have to worry about clients losing data or clients losing services

And finally price, we need to be profitable and we need to offer good quality price points to our clients.

Steve: So, we’ve got about ten units now that we run in a number of data centers and we have less than half a head in terms of management. I can add ten customers and probably another 50 or 60 terabytes of storage and I'll have zero incremental overhead in management.

We have a key metric which is Pound notes of revenue to rack footprint, and XIV is number one without a doubt. Out of all of the services that we've run within on our business, XIV generates the most Pounds per square inch per KVA power.

Phil: XIV is ideal for cloud delivery of services. It’s very, very elastic; it’s very, very scalable. All of the things that cloud defines in terms of reactivity and in terms of responsiveness to requirements, XIV is designed to support those sorts of business requirements.

Steve: We run predominantly private cloud services for our clients. So when a client requires another four or five or six or ten virtual machines, they simply go into a portal, spin up those machines and they’re done. There is no consideration whatsoever about what the storage impact of that is. It’s just there and it just runs. So, from our point of view, the management overhead of actually assigning storage to those cloud based system is minimal. We provision space once and then that’s it. The rest is automatic.

Steve: We use Tivoli Storage Manager for all of our data protection. So whether that’s virtual machines, whether that’s dedicated IBM AIX machines, so on, it’s all Tivoli Storage Manager and we run all of that as a managed service as part of our cloud backup. We simply align that to the XIV storage platform that sits at the back-end and is actually providing the storage.

Phil: We know that we’re in a place where we feel we’re part of the journey that IBM are taking to offer these sorts of services to their clients using storage infrastructure in a very clever way. IBM lead the way in technology and so we feel that by having a good relationship with IBM, we can exploit those future views of the way technology is going and make sure we are prepared for the way our market is going to change.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Storage: XIV, Storage: XIV Gen3

Tivoli Storage Manager

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America January 2013 IBM, the IBM logo,, Tivoli and XIV are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.

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