Brodos solves business scalability challenges by moving to cloud services

Offering powerful, cost-effective services for customers, built on IBM servers and storage with KVM

Published on 17-Jul-2013

"We have been using IBM technology for many years, and we know that we can rely on IBM to provide excellent technology and outstanding support to help us manage our growing business." - Stefan Steinert, Manager of System Operations for External Services, Brodos AG

Customer:
Brodos AG

Industry:
Telecommunications

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Cloud Computing, Cloud & Service Management, Enabling Business Flexibility, Server Consolidation, Virtualization, Virtualization - Network, Virtualization - Server

IBM Business Partner:
PROFI Engineering Systems AG

Overview

Founded in 1991, Brodos AG is one of the leading distributors of telecommunications hardware, software and services in Germany. The company maintains some 5,000 retail outlets, has offices in Baiersdorf, Düsseldorf and Berlin, employs around 370 people, and in 2010 achieved revenues of €248 million (around $330 million).

Business need:
As Brodos wins new customers, existing IT systems proved unable to scale to meet the workload. This threatened to impact the company’s ability to maximize new business opportunities.

Solution:
Brodos consolidated to highly reliable IBM® BladeCenter® HS23 servers with Intel® Xeon® processors, running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with KVM, and an IBM Storwize® V7000 Unified disk system.

Benefits:
Brodos can scale up the IBM solution quickly and easily to provide for new customers. The solution helps Brodos maintain low operational costs, helping it beat international firms to new business.

Case Study

Founded in 1991, Brodos AG is one of the leading distributors of telecommunications hardware, software and services in Germany. The company maintains some 5,000 retail outlets, has offices in Baiersdorf, Düsseldorf and Berlin, employs around 370 people, and in 2010 achieved revenues of €248 million (around $330 million).

The company’s suppliers offer a huge range of handset and contract combinations, creating product and service complexity that is exceptionally difficult and costly to manage. As part of its distributor offering, Brodos created two hosting solutions, one designed to support and sell physical products and another to support and sell software, games, and music.

Stefan Steinert, Manager of System Operations for External Services at Brodos AG, explains, “In the last few years, we have achieved strong growth, particularly for our hosting services. As the company grew, existing IT systems at Brodos were unable to scale to meet the workload, and this limitation could inhibit the company’s ability to maximize new business opportunities.”

Simplifying and unifying business systems
To start its journey, Brodos engaged PROFI Engineering Systems AG, an IBM Premier Business Partner, to overhaul its IT infrastructure.

Brodos decided to deploy an IBM BladeCenter solution with seven IBM BladeCenter HS23 servers with intelligent Intel Xeon processors running the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. The servers can be configured with up to two 8-core Intel Xeon Processor E5-2600. The Intel Xeon processor E5 family combines performance, built-in capabilities and cost-effectiveness to meet diverse needs in the data center.

The servers are virtualized using Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology, and run a total of 150 virtual servers. Brodos also deployed IBM BladeCenter Virtual Fabric 10Gb Switch Modules, which provide excellent performance and low latency for networking. PROFI Engineering Systems managed the implementation and provided expert advice throughout the project.

Steinert says, “Brodos selected the KVM technology because it offers outstanding scalability, performance and security. In particular, with multi-tenanted solutions it is important to know that we can add customers to the same platform quickly and easily, and be certain that data is fully secured in each customer’s virtual space.”

“By selecting SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with KVM, Brodos has been able to leverage its existing skills to deploy and enable virtualization rapidly and effectively. PROFI Engineering Systems AG gave us excellent support, helping us to implement the IBM solution quickly and easily, and to configure the hardware to meet the needs of our business.”

Supported by IBM BladeCenter Virtual Fabric 10Gb Switch Modules, the IBM BladeCenter servers save time on administrative tasks and enable faster response to new requirements. For example, previously it took an hour to set up new virtual servers, whereas now this task takes just 30 minutes.

Steinert says, “Moving to an IBM BladeCenter solution enabled us to cut the time spent on server administration by around 50 percent. These time savings will help us to serve our growing customer base without needing to hire additional IT staff.”

Consolidating on IBM storage
Brodos also decided to replace its heterogeneous storage systems with an IBM Storwize V7000 Unified disk system, which consolidates block and file workloads into a single storage system. This approach helps to simplify management and cut costs by eliminating the need to manage separate storage systems for different data types.

The solution features IBM System Storage® Easy Tier® functionality, which automatically and non-disruptively moves frequently accessed data onto ultra-fast solid state drives (SSDs), delivering performance improvements of up to 200 percent.

Additionally, the Storwize V7000 Unified solution has helped to accelerate the company’s backup processes, managed using two IBM System x® 3650 M4 servers running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Steinert remarks, “The Storwize solution has dramatically reduced the amount of time we spend on backups. One particular backup used to take up to two days using our previous storage solution. With Storwize, the same backup now takes just four hours—a reduction of more than 90 percent!”

Supporting future growth
The IBM solution provides excellent scalability, enabling Brodos to deploy additional blade servers and disk capacity as demands on the infrastructure increase. The Storwize solution provides a total capacity of 8 TB, four times more than the previous storage solution, helping Brodos meet increasing demands for data storage.

Steinert says, “We know that we can scale up the IBM systems to support the business as it grows, helping us postpone future investments in additional hardware and deliver reliable hosting services to a larger customer base.”

“We have been using IBM technology for many years, and we know that we can rely on IBM to provide excellent technology and outstanding support to help us manage our growing business,” concludes Steinert.

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
BladeCenter, BladeCenter HS23, BladeCenter running hypervisor - KVM, BladeCenter running Linux - SUSE, Storage, Storage: Storwize V7000 Unified, System Networking, System Networking: IBM BladeCenter Virtual Fabric 10Gb Switch Module, System x, System x: System x running Linux - SUSE, System x: System x3650 M4

Operating system:
Linux, Novell SUSE Linux

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, BladeCenter, Easy Tier, 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 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. 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.