Cegal

Developing a “datacenter-in-a-box” for customers seeking lightning-fast time-to-value

Published on 16-Jan-2014

"With Flex System, we can offer a consistently excellent level of service, regardless of location." - Dag Ydstebø, Senior IT Architect, Cegal

Customer:
Cegal

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Norway

Solution:
Flex System, Flex System running hypervisor - VMware, Flex System V7000 Storage Node, Flex System x240, PureSystems, Cloud Computing, Enabling Business Flexibility, Infrastructure as a Service, Systems & Network Management, Virtualization

Overview

Founded in 2000, Cegal is an IT solutions provider that focuses on the oil and gas industry. It employs 170 people at locations in Stavanger and Oslo in Norway, serving more than 200 clients worldwide. Cegal develops modular operational solutions for the industry-specific needs of oil and gas companies, and also offers consultancy services.

Business need:
The oil and gas industry needs reliable IT solutions, even at remote sites where space is at a premium. Cegal wanted a platform that could support its oil and gas solutions despite these constraints.

Solution:
Cegal took the strategic step to move from IBM® BladeCenter® to IBM Flex System®, developing a new compact “datacenter-in-a-box” concept that can be deployed and scaled quickly at customer locations.

Benefits:
With three times faster deployment and 20 percent lower total cost of ownership than Cegal’s previous infrastructure offering, the Flex System accelerates time-to-value for both Cegal and its customers.

Case Study

Founded in 2000, Cegal is an IT solutions provider that focuses on the oil and gas industry. It employs 170 people at locations in Stavanger and Oslo in Norway, serving more than 200 clients worldwide. Cegal develops modular operational solutions for the industry-specific needs of oil and gas companies, and also offers consultancy services.

Space at a premium
Cegal’s client base faces the challenge of delivering IT services to users at remote or offshore locations such as drilling rigs, where accessibility is limited and the physical space available to house IT infrastructure is significantly constrained. It is up to Cegal to ensure that these sites get the same level of exceptional IT service as more traditional working environments.

Dag Ydstebø, Senior IT Architect at Cegal elaborates, “Our customers do not want to compromise on the speed or quality of IT services at any of their locations – regardless of whether we are talking about an office in a major city or a rig in the middle of the ocean.”

Specifically, Cegal encountered issues with helping its clients scale up their IT capacity quickly at remote locations, which can lack both the physical space and the IT skills to deploy new hardware.

“The data growth on rigs can be extremely unpredictable; volumes can escalate suddenly and with little warning,” says Dag Ydstebø. “As you can imagine, a rig running out of storage capacity presents a big problem – we quickly need to purchase, ship and deploy new disks to a location that is often difficult to get to and has limited IT expertise on-site. Our goal was to identify a ‘datacenter-in-a-box’ solution: a scaled-down version of our standard infrastructure offering, designed to be deployed with ease and speed.”

Natural choice
As a long-term satisfied IBM customer, Cegal first considered extending its existing IBM BladeCenter environment to accommodate its growing client base. But the company was intrigued by a new offering on the market: the IBM Flex System. With a cutting-edge, double-dense design that packs unprecedented levels of processing power within a small footprint, Flex System presented a potential solution to the challenges facing Cegal’s clients.

“IBM BladeCenter solutions have served us well, and we felt that it was a natural progression to move to the IBM Flex System,” explains Dag Ydstebø. “We believe that it offers greater flexibility for the future, and its roadmap aligns more closely with our company strategy. The deciding factor was when we calculated that the total cost of ownership for Flex System could be up to 20 percent less than our existing solution, especially for these kinds of small-scale implementations at remote sites.”

Lightning-speed implementation
Cegal chose to deploy six Flex System platforms at its central datacenter locations, and has begun rolling out additional machines to its customers’ offshore locations, seeing average deployment time drop dramatically.

Dag Ydstebø comments, “For us, the key selling point of the IBM Flex System is that everything – server, storage and networking – is integrated within a single chassis. This offers immediate benefits when it comes to installing a new client environment: we simply build the solution at our datacenter and then ship it over to be plugged in. So far we have deployed four Flex System machines on customer rigs, and have been able to get the new environment up and running three times faster than before, allowing customers to enjoy the benefits sooner than ever.”

Flexible datacenter-in-a-box becomes a reality
All of the IBM Flex System chassis deployed by Cegal have been populated with high-performance Intel processor-based IBM Flex System x240 compute nodes, virtualized with VMware software. The versatile architecture also offers the option to add nodes based on IBM POWER® processor technology or additional storage within the same chassis in the future.

“Since none of the Flex System chassis installed at remote sites are fully populated, our customers have the ability to scale up each of their systems as and when they need to,” says Dag Ydstebø. “Because we have the same infrastructure concept installed at both of our main datacenter and remote customer sites, we can offer a consistently excellent level of service, regardless of location.”

Deploying fully virtualized, integrated IBM Flex System V7000 storage nodes within the Flex System enabled Cegal to easily incorporate the new storage within its existing virtual storage pool, which is based on standalone IBM Storwize V7000 systems and managed with the IBM System Storage® SAN Volume Controller tool.

By selecting the IBM Flex System Fabric CN4093 10Gb Converged Scalable Switch solution for networking, Cegal gained support for multiple protocols including Ethernet, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), Fibre Channel and iSCSI within a single switch, offering exceptional flexibility. The company chose to utilize FCoE at the remote sites, contributing to the speed and ease of deployment of the solutions, while preserving redundancy.

“By converging storage area network (SAN) and ethernet switches with FCoE, we cut the number of switches we need in half, making it a simpler and more cost-effective option,” states Dag Ydstebø. “Once we successfully completed our first FCoE implementation, it was easy to replicate. Deploying FCoE for Flex System now only takes us about an hour as there are fewer ports to connect, and is probably the simplest part of the entire implementation process. Fewer ports also translate into fewer points of failure – a real advantage for more inaccessible locations.”

Exploring the benefits
With 100 percent availability since implementation, the IBM Flex System is proving the ideal platform to support Cegal’s commitment to deliver exceptional IT service to clients.

Dag Ydstebø concludes, “By condensing huge amounts of processing power within a small form factor, the Flex System allows us to rapidly bring the best of our services within the reach of all users in the oil and gas industry – wherever they may be working!”

Outstanding performance any place, any time
Companies in the oil and gas industry need to provide full-scale IT support to their users, even at remote sites such as off-shore drilling rigs. Space at these sites is often limited – so any solutions that help them make the best use of that space are extremely valuable. As an IT solutions provider to the oil and gas industry, Cegal capitalized on the double-dense, ultra-compact design of IBM Flex System to design a datacenter-in-a-box concept that helps its customers deliver high-quality IT services, regardless of the physical constraints of the location.

For more information
To learn more about expert integrated solutions from IBM, contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit us at: ibm.com/flex

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 V7000 Storage Node, Flex System x240, Storage, Storage: Storwize V7000

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2014. IBM AS. GSC. Postboks 500. 1411 Kolbotn. Norway. Produced in Norway. January 2014. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, BladeCenter, Flex System, POWER, 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 “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. 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.