ProfilGruppen makes the most of growth opportunities

Saving thousands and enhancing business agility with higher-performing, efficient solutions from IBM

Published on 29-May-2013

"One of the areas where implementing IBM Flex System Manager has had the most impact is software development – it has freed us to manage more of this in-house, cutting the amount we spend on external consultants by 44 percent, translating into savings of thousands of Swedish kronor." - Mattias Lindahl, IT Manager, ProfilGruppen

Customer:
ProfilGruppen

Industry:
Industrial Products

Deployment country:
Sweden

Solution:
Flex System, Flex System Manager, Flex System running hypervisor - VMware, Flex System x240, Storage: Storwize V7000, PureSystems, Business Resiliency, Enabling Business Flexibility, High Availability , Virtualization

IBM Business Partner:
Office IT-Partner Växjö

Overview

Headquartered in Åseda, Sweden, ProfilGruppen AB is a comprehensive supplier of complex customized aluminum extrusions and components. Employing approximately 350 people, the company operates primarily in the Western European market, with sales companies in Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Business need:
ProfilGruppen wanted to sustain its rapid growth trend by taking on new employees – but the IT infrastructure supporting employees and business services was unable to scale efficiently.

Solution:
By implementing the IBM® Flex System™ offering with IBM Flex System Manager™ and IBM Storwize® V7000, ProfilGruppen gained a scalable, high-performing platform requiring little administration.

Benefits:
Offers more than enough capacity to accommodate expected growth, while raising performance levels and minimizing costs, including a 44 percent saving on external consultancy for software development.

Case Study

To read a Swedish version of this case study, click here.

Headquartered in Åseda, Sweden, ProfilGruppen AB is a comprehensive supplier of complex customized aluminum extrusions and components. Employing approximately 350 people, the company operates primarily in the Western European market, with sales companies in Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Tackling the barriers to growth
Rapid growth brings with it challenges as well as benefits, as ProfilGruppen discovered. The pressure on existing resources is often felt most by the IT department, which needs to find innovative ways to support new employees and services without letting costs and complexity get out of control.

Mattias Lindahl, IT Manager at ProfilGruppen, explains: “We have been growing faster than expected, and have set a target to significantly increase our market share in the Nordic region. We were seeing the strain on existing resources, and knew that we urgently needed to update our infrastructure if we wanted to expand further.

“Our IT department is made up of only two people, and one focuses completely on managing our ERP systems, so I am basically responsible for handling the IT needs of a workforce of 350 people. This means that manageability is always a key concern – any time that can be diverted from focusing on back-end systems can be more usefully spent on innovation and development.”

Taking the lead
Over the last few years, ProfilGruppen had replaced HP servers and storage with solutions from IBM, seeing IBM technology as a better fit for its needs.

“Our experience of IBM solutions has been extremely positive, so when we began looking to add capacity to our infrastructure, IBM was a natural choice,” says Lindahl. “After we heard about an exciting new platform that was coming to the market – IBM Flex System – the IBM team persuaded us to become relatively early adopters by demonstrating how much IBM believed in the technology and the established roadmap that is in place.”

Fast deployment
Working with IBM Business Partner Office IT-Partner Växjö, ProfilGruppen replaced ten rack-based servers with a single IBM Flex System with IBM Flex System Manager and two IBM Storwize V7000 storage systems.

The Flex System Enterprise chassis is populated with five IBM Flex System x240 compute nodes virtualized with VMware software. The Flex System supports mission-critical systems including Oracle Database, Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenApp, Microsoft Windows and SQL Server software.

Maximizing resilience
Deployed in two separate data centers 500 meters apart, the two Storwize V7000 storage systems are connected using IBM Flex System Virtual Fabric Adapters. Using synchronous mirroring, ProfilGruppen ensures it has a full copy of all production data which can be used to restore systems in the event of a disaster.

“Company guidelines state that we must get all systems back online within four hours of a disaster,” comments Lindahl. “With remote mirroring of our Storwize V7000 systems, we can actually restore them immediately and with no data loss, so employees can continue working without interruption.”

Saving thousands
ProfilGruppen relies on the Flex System Manager to manage its entire VMware environment, storage and network resources from a single point of control. Flex System Manager offers the company unprecedented insight and control of its infrastructure, dramatically reducing the time required for administration tasks.

“In 20 years of working with IT solutions, the IBM Flex System Manager is the easiest and most comprehensive management console I have seen,” says Lindahl. “It has transformed our approach to IT management, enabling us to forget about the back-end systems and instead focus on developing innovative new services to support the business. We noticed the other day that we have not been down to the server rooms in over a year except to deploy new components!

“One of the areas where implementing IBM Flex System Manager has had the most impact is software development – it has freed us to manage more of this in-house, cutting the amount we spend on external consultants by 44 percent, translating into savings of thousands of Swedish kronor.”

Reaching full potential
Since deploying the IBM Flex System, ProfilGruppen has seen significant enhancements in performance of key business systems, contributing to greater productivity. Lindahl says: “We estimate that running our business-critical applications on IBM Flex System has cut response times by an average of 40 percent. This helps keep our users satisfied and lets them work more effectively.”

With the option to add up to five additional compute nodes within the existing chassis, ProfilGruppen has a solution that can scale to twice the current capacity, far exceeding projected growth for the next five years. This has led ProfilGruppen to consider offering hosting services to neighboring companies, a potentially profitable opportunity.

Moreover, ProfilGruppen has plans to automate processes using the configuration patterns that can be created using IBM Flex System Manager, which will help the company respond to new opportunities more quickly.

“There is a demand from our internal users to automate processes, and the configuration patterns we can create using Flex System Manager provide an ideal way to do this,” says Lindahl. “IBM Flex System has already helped us cut the time it takes to set up a new virtual server to just 15 minutes – a saving of 75 percent. Using configuration patterns we expect to be able to do this even faster.”

Lindahl concludes: “We are very excited by the potential we see in IBM Flex System. IBM is continuing to hone and develop the technology, showing us that this is only the beginning and there are bigger, better benefits to come.”

Easy and comprehensive management approach
Thanks to the straightforward, modular design of the IBM Flex System solution, a single engineer was able to configure the IBM Flex System solution at ProfilGruppen in only five days. IBM Flex System Manager integrates management for the company’s server, storage, networking and virtual environments from a single point of control, saving time and accelerating the provisioning of new services. By reducing response times for business-critical systems by an average of 40 percent, productivity is boosted across the company.

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Flex System, Flex System Manager, Flex System x240, Storage, Storage: Storwize V7000

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Svenska AB 164 92 Stockholm Sweden Produced in Sweden May 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Flex System, IBM Flex System Manager, PureSystems and Storwize 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. IBM and Office IT-Partner Växjö are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Office IT-Partner Växjö makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. 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.