Rudolph AG creates a flexible and reliable global cloud with IBM

Providing highly secure private cloud environments for customers

Published on 04-Apr-2013

"In addition to its reputation for reliability, the IBM System x iDataPlex offered us much greater configurability and a very powerful set of remote management features." - Stephan Rudolph, Managing Director, Rudolph AG

Customer:
Rudolph AG

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Switzerland

Solution:
Technical Computing, Business Resiliency, Cloud Computing, Cloud & Service Management, Energy Efficiency, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server

Overview

Based in Bern, Switzerland, Rudolph AG is a highly specialized consultancy for complex Java EE-based distributed applications. Working for organizations across all industries, the company has considerable expertise in Oracle WebLogic Server middleware, and its consultants are almost constantly ‘on the road’—travelling globally to design, deploy and troubleshoot applications.

Business need:
To help its global customers build and test Java EE applications, Rudolph AG needed to rapidly provision new virtual testing and development environments—storing all data securely in Switzerland.

Solution:
Deployed private cloud solution based on virtualized IBM® System x® iDataPlex® dx360 class servers running Linux; Integrated Management Module II allows full remote control.

Benefits:
Can create virtual servers for customers within hours; half-depth iDataPlex servers meet space and cooling restrictions; reliable and powerful IBM hardware supports round-the-clock global operations.

Case Study

Based in Bern, Switzerland, Rudolph AG is a highly specialized consultancy for complex Java EE-based distributed applications. Working for organizations across all industries, the company has considerable expertise in Oracle WebLogic Server middleware, and its consultants are almost constantly ‘on the road’—travelling globally to design, deploy and troubleshoot applications.

The large organizations that Rudolph AG serves have complex IT procurement processes, and it typically takes them several weeks to procure and deploy new hardware. Being able to create new virtual server environments within hours is a key value-add proposition for Rudolph AG, but the company needs to ensure high security for customer data.

Stephan Rudolph, founder and Managing Director, says: “We can give our customers both speed and flexibility in setting up new environments to troubleshoot their applications. For security reasons, we must do this on a private cloud, and we keep all data under Swiss jurisdiction.”

Hands-off solution

With its existing infrastructure approaching its sixth year of operation, and no longer able to keep pace with customer requirements for performance and flexibility, Rudolph AG looked for a new private cloud solution.

“As we are rarely even in the same country as our own office, our key selection criteria were reliability and comprehensive remote management capabilities,” says Rudolph. “Beyond that, we needed a server platform that would meet our unusual environmental requirements. Like most of downtown Bern, our office building is many hundreds of years old, so space is limited, and we also have restrictions on power consumption and heat output.”

After rejecting a number of generic options as lacking build quality, Rudolph AG made a head-to-head comparison between competing half-depth solutions from IBM and SGI. “In addition to its reputation for reliability, the IBM System x iDataPlex offered us much greater configurability and a very powerful set of remote management features,” says Rudolph.

Flexible and resilient

Rudolph AG deployed a total of six IBM System x iDataPlex dx360 class servers: four (two servers in each of two 2U chassis) that boot from USB keys to run Linux virtual servers on VMware vSphere 5; a fifth in a 3U chassis with 180 GB of solid-state storage and 22 TB of conventional hard drives to act as the storage environment; and a sixth, identical to the fifth, located in a second data center 450 kilometers away for disaster protection. These servers each have two Intel Xeon Processor E5620 CPUs, offering industry-leading performance and energy efficiency with the ability to intelligently adapt performance to changing requirements.

The storage environment is based on the OpenIndiana operating system with ZFS file system, which provides built-in data compression, protection against data corruption and point-in-time snapshot backups.

“Virtual server images are stored on the hard drives in the storage environments, then reside in memory once they are initialized,” says Rudolph. “The solution is extremely flexible: we can move virtual machines from one physical iDataPlex server to another if we are running out of resources. Equally, we can easily add further iDataPlex machines to increase the total capacity. The use of ZFS makes the solution extremely resilient, and enables us to ‘roll back’ to earlier versions at the touch of a button.”

Rapid response

The new private cloud running on iDataPlex gives Rudolph AG a highly secure, flexible and reliable platform for setting up virtual infrastructures for its customers. “Where it might take our customers two weeks or more, we can build complex virtual landscapes on the iDataPlex private cloud in a matter of hours,” says Rudolph. “With iDataPlex, we can respond in a highly flexible way to customer requirements, and that is a big advantage. It’s also important that the solution protects data against loss or unauthorized access.”

The compact and efficient iDataPlex dx360 class servers are a good fit for Rudolph AG’s Bern offices. The company positioned the servers against an exterior wall, utilizing fresh air from outside to cool them. “Heat is much more concentrated in a half-depth server, but the iDataPlex cooling is highly effective,” says Rudolph. “The temperature control is very precise and responsive, which gives us peace of mind when we are out of the office at customer sites.” Stephan Rudolph also appreciates the front-access cabling on the iDataPlex servers: “The cabling arrangement really makes our lives much easier when deploying servers. You can do all the wiring in the rack, slide in the new servers, then simply plug in the cables at the front.”

Global capabilities

Thanks to the built-in Integrated Management Module II (IMM2), Rudolph AG has complete remote control over the iDataPlex environment. For example, it can accurately simulate disaster scenarios for its customers by powering down the physical servers then powering them back up.

“The IMM2 component of iDataPlex enables us to do remotely practically anything that we could do in our office,” says Rudolph. “For example, we can install software on iDataPlex from a DVD drive in a laptop thousands of kilometers away.”

Looking to the future, Rudolph AG anticipates that its customers may want to host production environments on its private cloud. The solution is ready for this scenario, and it is also positioned to help as Oracle pushes its WebLogic platform increasingly towards the cloud. “With our private cloud on iDataPlex, we can help our customers understand the impact of moving their distributed applications to the cloud, without any of the restrictions that they would encounter with a multi-tenant cloud from a major provider,” says Rudolph.

For more information

Contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit us at: ibm.com/systems/x

For more information about Rudolph AG visit: http://www.rudolph-ag.ch and follow them on Twitter @rudolphag

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
System x, System x: iDataPlex dx360 M3

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America April 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, iDataPlex, and System x are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., 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 ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon and Xeon Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. Java and all Java-based trademarks and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. 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. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.