AXIANS deploys a cloud-ready platform for a fast-changing market

Growing revenues with flexible, innovative cloud solutions built on the IBM PureFlex System

Published on 22-Apr-2013

"The IBM PureFlex System gives us unprecedented flexibility by allowing us to install and manage different processor architectures in the same machine. AXIANS is led by its clients – we deliver whatever they need, and the PureFlex System is the ideal platform to support this philosophy." - Hans Mekking, Business Unit Manager, AXIANS Eindhoven

Customer:
AXIANS

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Netherlands

Solution:
Flex System x240, PureFlex, PureFlex Standard, PureSystems, Business Resiliency, Cloud Computing, Enabling Business Flexibility, Infrastructure as a Service, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server

Overview

A subsidiary of VINCI Energies, AXIANS specializes in consultancy, delivery, implementation, maintenance and management for networking, storage, security, IP telephony and management solutions. AXIANS is an umbrella brand, comprising all activities of VINCI Energies in the areas of voice, data and image integration, with divisions in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In the Netherlands, AXIANS has locations in Eindhoven and Utrecht, and employs 56 people as part of a 1,400-strong workforce across Europe.

Business need:
Recognizing a shift in the market from traditional reselling towards cloud-hosting services, AXIANS began looking for a cloud-ready, flexible computing platform with low management requirements.

Solution:
AXIANS chose to deploy the IBM® PureFlex™ System, delivered with pre-integrated compute, storage, networking and management components as a basis for its cloud services.

Benefits:
By cutting the time taken to provision new environments by 30 percent, the PureFlex solution accelerates time-to-market. Reducing management time helps the company focus on customer service.

Case Study

A subsidiary of VINCI Energies, AXIANS specializes in consultancy, delivery, implementation, maintenance and management for networking, storage, security, IP telephony and management solutions. AXIANS is an umbrella brand, comprising all activities of VINCI Energies in the areas of voice, data and image integration, with divisions in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In the Netherlands, AXIANS has locations in Eindhoven and Utrecht, and employs 56 people as part of a 1,400-strong workforce across Europe.

Staying abreast of a changing market
AXIANS recognized that many of its clients were struggling to cope with the combination of rising costs and speed of innovation in IT.

Hans Mekking, Business Unit Manager at AXIANS Eindhoven comments: “AXIANS prides itself on understanding what its clients need and want, and giving it to them. Recently, we have noticed clients moving away from purchasing their own infrastructure, and making use of hosted services instead. Companies today – particularly those in the mid-market – want to benefit from the latest technology without making huge investments in infrastructure and IT skills. That is where we come in.

“For a while now, we have been making the move towards offering managed services, but what we really needed was a cloud-ready platform that we could roll out quickly and easily to support this growing part of our business.”

Expert integrated system from IBM
Following a review of competing offerings on the market, AXIANS selected the IBM PureFlex System, attracted by the simplicity of dealing with a single vendor, as Mekking explains: “We considered a variety of different vendors, including Cisco, NetApp and HP, but we found that IBM was the only one that could offer us a credible pre-integrated platform including compute, storage, networking and management components.

“For us, a big selling point of the PureFlex is that it offers a single entry point for support. We do not have to spend time engaging with multiple vendors if anything goes wrong. This was proven in the implementation of the PureFlex System – even though we were relatively early adopters, we felt that the superb support we received from IBM offset any risk.”

Boosting performance and flexibility
AXIANS chose to deploy IBM Flex System™ x240 compute nodes, based on Intel processors optimized to deliver exceptional performance for a broad range of enterprise workloads. The company also has the option to implement IBM POWER® processor-based compute nodes within the same chassis.

“The IBM PureFlex System gives us unprecedented flexibility by allowing us to install and manage different processor architectures in the same machine,” says Mekking. “AXIANS is led by its clients – we deliver whatever they need, and the PureFlex System is the ideal platform to support this philosophy.”

The company also implemented IBM Storwize® V7000 storage nodes, totaling about 12 TB in capacity, including four solid-state drives (SSDs). Integrated IBM System Storage® Easy Tier® technology automatically moves frequently-accessed data to these ultra high-performance SSDs, helping to deliver extremely fast response times to AXIANS’ clients. Mekking adds: “The IBM Storwize V7000 has been our storage system of choice for some time now, and we continue to be impressed by its easy manageability.

“Unlike other managed service providers, AXIANS does not work on the basis of service level agreements – if our customers complain about low performance, our view is that we have already failed to do our job properly. Combining IBM Storwize V7000 technology with the impressive processing power offered by the Flex System x240 compute nodes helps us meet our goal of delivering outstanding service quality, all the time.”

The networking components selected by AXIANS include the IBM Flex System FC3171 8Gb SAN Switch and the IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 10 Gb Scalable Switch, which offers “pay as you grow” scalability with the option to turn on additional ports. Mekking comments: “Working closely with IBM Systems Lab Services, we were able to build a really great network adapted to scale for multi-tenancy.”

Fulfilling the AXIANS philosophy
With the IBM Flex System Manager node, AXIANS has a single management console to control the entire PureFlex System solution. Moreover, since deploying the solution, the company can provision new customer environments much faster. As a result, employees can shift their focus from administering the infrastructure to fulfilling the AXIANS central ethos: delivering “the human added value to ICT solutions”.

“Our aim is to become trusted advisors to our clients,” says Mekking. “To do this, our employees simply cannot afford to spend too much time managing the infrastructure. The easy manageability of the IBM PureFlex System gives us the tools to make our mission statement a reality. For example, we can set up a new virtual machine in just five minutes, much faster than before.”

Platform for the future
AXIANS is already in the process of ordering and installing an additional IBM PureFlex System in a mirrored configuration with the existing one, which will add a further layer of protection against any data loss in the unlikely event of a hardware failure.

Mekking concludes: “Our confidence in the roadmap for IBM PureFlex in the coming years, combined with its scalable, easy-to-deploy design has truly made it AXIANS’ platform for the future. Because IBM continues to invest in pushing the limits of performance and efficiency in the underlying technology, we can leave that part of the infrastructure to them and concentrate instead on our core business.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Flex System x240, PureFlex Standard, Storage, Storage: Storwize V7000, System Networking, System Networking: IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 10 Gb Scalable Switch

Service:
STG Lab Services: System x

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Nederland BVJohan Huizingalaan 765P.O. Box 99991066 VH AmsterdamNetherlands Produced in the NetherlandsApril 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Easy Tier, IBM Flex System, IBM Flex System Manager, POWER, PureFlex, PureSystems, Storwize and System Storage 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: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Intel, Intel logo, Intel Inside, Intel Inside logo, Intel Centrino, Intel Centrino logo, Celeron, Intel Xeon, Intel SpeedStep, Itanium, and Pentium are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. 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. Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.