FORCO successfully migrates to a fully integrated infrastructure

Achieving rapid ROI with a powerful, flexible and highly integrated IBM solution

Published on 08-Jul-2013

"Our investment in the IBM PureFlex offering sends a clear signal to our clients that we take security and efficiency extremely seriously." - Yves Georgelin, CEO, FORCO

Customer:
FORCO

Industry:
Professional Services

Deployment country:
France

Solution:
PureFlex, PureFlex Standard, PureFlex System running hypervisor - VMware, PureFlex System running OS - Windows, PureSystems, Storage: Storwize V7000, Enabling Business Flexibility, High Availability , Virtualization, Virtualization - Server

IBM Business Partner:
By The Way

Overview

Under French law, all private employers are required to make financial contributions towards professional and vocational training. FORCO is a collection agency (OPCA, Organisme Paritaire Collecteur Agréé) accredited by the French Ministry of Labour, Employment and Professional Training, tasked with collecting, aggregating and disbursing these statutory professional and vocational training funds.

Business need:
FORCO wanted to provide new value-add services to clients in a flexible and cost-effective manner. The existing IT infrastructure lacked the necessary scalability, reliability and speed of response.

Solution:
FORCO worked with IBM Business Partner By The Way to deploy an IBM® PureFlex™ System solution providing integrated server, storage, networking and system management resources, hosting VMware virtual servers.

Benefits:
Elimination of monthly managed service fees means an 11-month payback for the PureFlex solution, which provides higher performance, availability and reliability, with easier management.

Case Study

To read a French version of this case study, click here

Under French law, all private employers are required to make financial contributions towards professional and vocational training. FORCO is a collection agency (OPCA, Organisme Paritaire Collecteur Agréé) accredited by the French Ministry of Labour, Employment and Professional Training, tasked with collecting, aggregating and disbursing these statutory professional and vocational training funds.

As a provider of services to enterprises, FORCO wanted to keep developing its offerings in line with growing client expectations. Its existing information tools and infrastructure had been built up over time, and consisted of standalone servers and storage technologies from a variety of vendors. These were becoming obsolete and increasingly difficult to manage, making it difficult for the organization to create new value-add services for clients.

Yves Georgelin, CEO at FORCO, explains: “Our processes were becoming somewhat archaic and this was constraining our productivity. Our clients are professional and commercial organizations, and it was clear that we needed to refresh our approach if we were to remain fully in tune with their evolving needs. And with plans for new business-to-business tools on the horizon, we needed a powerful and secure IT infrastructure.”

Franck Caroulle, CIO at FORCO, adds: “The ongoing development of our services requires us to have an infrastructure that is easy to develop, to scale and to secure. We also needed more capacity and performance, and continuing to scale the existing infrastructure by adding new standalone servers was clearly an unsustainable approach.”

All-in-one solution
Working with IBM Business Partner By The Way, FORCO successfully migrated to an entirely new infrastructure based on an IBM PureSystems™ solution, including training, in less than two months. The company deployed an IBM PureFlex System Standard Edition with six IBM Flex System™ x240 compute server nodes. The solution includes the single-point-of-control IBM Flex System Manager node for unified system configuration and tuning. An integrated IBM Storwize® V7000 disk system provides flexible, high-performance storage, and is linked to an IBM System Storage® DS3512 disk system and an IBM System Storage TS3100 Tape Library Express for backups and long-term archival of data. To enable non-headquarters employees to access the systems running on the IBM PureFlex solution, FORCO deployed an IBM System x® 3300 M4 server as a gateway in each of its 11 branch offices.

“We considered adding servers to our existing infrastructure, but it was clear that this would just aggravate the situation,” says Franck Caroulle. “The IBM PureFlex solution provided a powerful set of management tools in Flex System Manager, together with the security, stability and scalability that we needed. It also corresponded well with our notion of having an internal cloud of computing resources, giving us everything we needed in a single integrated solution.”

Yves Georgelin adds, “The strength of the IBM brand was a reassuring factor in our decision: we are confident in the long-term availability of support for the solution, and it also sends a message to our clients that we are investing in best-of-breed technology.”

Smooth deployment
Expert assistance from By The Way helped ease the FORCO team’s transition to the PureFlex solution, as FORCO was also bringing the management of its infrastructure fully in-house for the first time.

“By The Way did a great job of presenting the PureFlex solution and showing us how it would deliver benefits rapidly,” comments Yves Georgelin. “Their consultants were highly professional, and the transfer of knowledge to our internal team was very effective.”

Franck Caroulle adds, “We were not simply deploying new hardware – this was a complete transformation of our hosting and management arrangements. With Flex System Manager, we accelerated the deployment of the infrastructure, and we now have a far more stable, secure and flexible environment than ever before.”

The PureFlex solution supports all of FORCO’s applications, namely: financial and accounting systems, human resources systems, administration systems and an electronic document management solution, in addition to sites and extranets for clients. These are hosted on approximately 50 virtual Microsoft Windows servers running on VMware across the Flex System x240 compute nodes.

Rapid ROI
The PureFlex solution has had a direct impact on FORCO’s employees, who now enjoy higher availability for their applications with faster response times. These benefits ultimately translate into better and faster service to clients.

Beyond the clear improvements in performance, reliability and flexibility, the PureFlex solution offers significant financial benefits to FORCO. By providing a compact, easy-to-manage infrastructure, the IBM solution enabled FORCO to eliminate the high monthly cost of its previous fully managed hosting agreement, which will mean a very rapid return on the company’s investment.

“We calculated that the IBM PureFlex solution will pay for itself within just 11 months by allowing us to end our managed services contract,” says Yves Georgelin. “It also gives us a much more powerful and flexible platform for building new web-based services for our clients.”

Building better services
FORCO’s major enterprise clients – which include many of the biggest names in the French retail industry – increasingly expect the company to provide information and services that are fully integrated with their own internal systems. By choosing the IBM PureFlex solution, FORCO can offer these clients the reassurance of high data security and reliable, standards-based computing.

“Our investment in the IBM PureFlex offering sends a clear signal to our clients that we take security and efficiency extremely seriously,” concludes Yves Georgelin. “It also demonstrates our aim to bring new value-added services to market at higher speed, all based on proven, highly reliable and secure IBM technology. As our business grows, we are confident that the IBM PureFlex solution will scale to meet our needs.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Flex System x240, PureFlex Standard, PureFlex System running hypervisor - VMware, PureFlex System running OS - Windows, Storage, Storage: DS3500 Express, Storage: Storwize V7000, Storage: TS3100 Tape Library, System x, System x: System x3300 M4, PureFlex

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America July 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Flex System, IBM Flex System Manager, PureFlex, PureSystems, Storwize, System Storage 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: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. 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. 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.