DATANET dials up for expansion

Capitalizing on new business opportunities with IBM Flex System

Published on 17-Sep-2013

"Previously, we had 30 servers, all with separate power supplies and maintenance contracts. Today, we have a single, integrated solution – reducing our power consumption by 60 percent and our maintenance costs by 50 percent per year." - Alik Aliyev, IT and Datacenter Manager, DATANET GmbH

Customer:
DATANET

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Flex System, Flex System running hypervisor - VMware, Flex System running Linux - Red Hat, Flex System running Linux - SUSE, Flex System running OS - Windows, Flex System x220, Flex System x240, PureSystems, Storage: Storwize V7000, Cloud Computing

Overview

Based in Bad Münstereifel, Germany, DATANET GmbH is an accounting service provider that processes and analyzes telecommunication bills – identifying opportunities for its clients to reduce their communications expenses.

Business need:
Accounting service provider DATANET analyzes millions of electronic bills for clients each month. With its client base growing rapidly, the company needed to scale up operations to maintain high client satisfaction.

Solution:
The company consolidated its big data analytics platform from 30 physical servers onto a single private cloud environment based on IBM® Flex System™ with an IBM Storwize® V7000 Unified disk system.

Benefits:
Enables DATANET to provision new services to clients 75 percent faster; cuts systems management time and maintenance costs by 50 percent; delivers simple scalability to accommodate business growth.

Case Study

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

Based in Bad Münstereifel, Germany, DATANET GmbH is an accounting service provider that processes and analyzes telecommunication bills – identifying opportunities for its clients to reduce their communications expenses.

Clients from a range of industries submit invoice data – including 3.4 million telephone bills every month – to DATANET for analysis. They can explore their spending via interactive analytics dashboards on DATANET’s secure web portal, or import the analytics data including all relevant accounting records and information into their own internal systems using pre-configured interfaces for leading ERP solutions.

With the Eurozone financial crisis driving a greater need for cost efficiency, an increasing number of companies are now utilizing DATANET’s analytics offering as part of their wider strategies to optimize costs. A client base growing by as much as 30 percent each year was putting pressure on DATANET’s existing systems.

As Christof Milischewski, Head of Sales at DATANET GmbH explains, “Our unique selling point is that we analyze billing data in more detail than the competition. Processing these massive volumes of data requires high levels of compute performance, reliability and scalability.

“In the past, we utilized a distributed landscape of 30 Fujitsu-Siemens and HP servers, but as this environment grew it became more costly and complex to manage. This presented a risk to our business, as it reduced the free time we had to develop and refine our analytics models – a key differentiator of our offering.”

Simplifying and streamlining
After thoroughly evaluating proposals from a number of different vendors, DATANET selected the IBM Flex System. Alik Aliyev, IT and Datacenter Manager at DATANET GmbH explains, “Of all of the solutions we considered, we were most impressed with IBM Flex System – its tight integration of compute, storage and networking resources, simple scalability and dense footprint made it the optimal solution for our business requirements.”

Working with IBM, DATANET consolidated 30 distributed servers to a single IBM Flex System comprising one IBM Flex System x220 node and five x240 compute nodes, all based on high-performance Intel processors. The x220 compute node runs VMware vCenter and VMware vSphere management software, while the x240 nodes support business applications including Oracle databases and Microsoft SharePoint servers.

To deliver enterprise-class storage, DATANET implemented a Fibre Channel switching fabric based on two IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 10Gb Scalable Switches and two IBM Flex System FC5022 16Gb SAN Scalable Switches, plus an IBM Storwize V7000 Unified Disk System with a total capacity of 24 TB.

“Our IBM Storwize V7000 Unified has enabled us to create a centralized storage environment that is far easier to maintain than our distributed platform,” says Christof Milischewski. “We are currently planning to consolidate up to six file servers on the Storwize solution, which will help us to further simplify our storage administration.”

To protect its mission-critical client data, DATANET uses IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager software to perform backups of approximately 30 TB of data each month. To help ensure resiliency, backups are performed using two synchronously mirrored IBM System Storage® DS3512 disk systems and an IBM System Storage TS3200 Tape Library with four LTO5 tape drives.

Integrated solution boosts efficiency
By deploying IBM Flex System, DATANET has succeeded in building a scalable, high-performance and cost-effective big data analytics platform to deliver excellent service levels to its growing client base.

Alik Aliyev says, “The full virtualization of servers and storage makes it possible to quickly clone systems – we can deploy new virtual machines 75 percent faster than before. Our increased agility means that we are now free to devote more time to developing and refining our analytics models, helping us to deliver an enhanced service to our clients.”

Using the IBM Flex System Chassis Management Module node, DATANET’s administrators can connect to multiple nodes in parallel to perform maintenance tasks, enabling the IT team to work much more efficiently. The time required for system management has been reduced by 50 percent.

Alik Aliyev explains, “Previously, we had 30 servers, all with separate power supplies and maintenance contracts. Today, we have a single, integrated solution – reducing our power consumption by 60 percent and our maintenance costs by 50 percent per year. The cost-efficient scalability of the solution will give us the ability to easily scale out our IT environment as we continue to grow our business.”

Looking to the future
Based on the success of the IBM Flex System, DATANET plans to extend system automation even further by deploying an IBM Flex System Manager™ node. When installed, Flex System Manager will enable the management of the company’s virtual and physical compute, storage and networking resources from a single interface – further reducing the administrative and manual workload for DATANET’s IT team.

“The IBM Flex System has impressed us so much that it is already playing a role in our plans for the future,” says Alik Aliyev. “We are investigating the possibility of deploying a second IBM Flex System at a separate data center, and synchronously mirroring our production systems to reduce the risk of unplanned downtime.”

Christof Milischewski concludes, “Big data analytics requires a fine-tuned IT infrastructure, which is precisely what our IBM Flex System delivers. By continuing our close collaboration with IBM, we are well placed to ensure that more businesses than ever can get the deep insights they need to make informed decisions about their communications spending.”

Combining virtualization and performance
The high-density IBM Flex System enables DATANET to consolidate 30 servers on just six IBM Flex System x240 and x220 compute nodes within a single chassis. Using tightly integrated compute, storage and networking resources, the company has cut both maintenance costs and systems management time by 50 percent, and leverages virtualization to deploy new services 75 percent faster than before.

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Flex System, Flex System running hypervisor - VMware, Flex System running Linux - Red Hat, Flex System running Linux - SUSE, Flex System running OS - Windows, Flex System x220, Flex System x240, Storage, Storage: Storwize V7000 Unified, Storage: TS3200 Tape Library

Software:
Tivoli Storage Manager

Operating system:
Linux, Novell SUSE Linux

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. IBM Deutschland GmbH. IBM-Allee 1. 71139 Ehningen. Deutschland. ibm.com/de. IBM Österreich. Obere Donaustrasse 95. 1020 Wien. ibm.com/at. IBM Schweiz. Vulkanstrasse 106. 8010 Zürich. ibm.com/ch. Produced in Germany. September 2013. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Flex System, IBM Flex System Manager, PureSystems, Storwize, System Storage and Tivoli 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, the Intel logo, Xeon and Xeon Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Linear Tape-Open, LTO, the LTO Logo, Ultrium, and the Ultrium logo are trademarks of HP, IBM Corp. and Quantum in the U.S. and other countries. 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. The client is responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations applicable to it. IBM does not provide legal advice or represent or warrant that its services or products will ensure that the client is in compliance with any law or regulation. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.