Altus IT transforms its cloud-computing services

Improving flexibility and availability with IBM Flex System and innovative KVM technology

Published on 17-Apr-2013

"IBM Flex System was our first choice for delivering high performance within the cloud. The KVM technology helps decrease our licensing costs, so we can be more competitive in our cloud pricing for customers. At the same time, KVM provides all the technical functions we need." - Goran Djoreski, chief executive officer, Altus IT

Customer:
Altus IT

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Croatia

Solution:
Flex System, Flex System running hypervisor - KVM, Flex System x240, PureSystems, Business Continuity, Business Resiliency, Cloud Computing, SaaS, Virtualization - Server, Virtualization - Storage

IBM Business Partner:
Business Computer Systems

Overview

Based in Zagreb, Croatia, Altus Information Technologies provides cloud computing and data center services for a variety of clients in many different industries. The company was founded in 2011 as a subsidiary of Markoja d.o.o. and specializes in helping its clients find the right mix of IT infrastructure services to meet their needs—and their budgets.

Business need:
Altus IT needed a flexible, scalable, cloud-computing infrastructure to help broaden its offerings for corporate customers, while also increasing efficiency within its own data center.

Solution:
Altus IT deployed an IBM® Flex System™ solution with four IBM Flex System x240 compute nodes using intelligent Intel® Xeon® processors, CentOS with KVM technology and IBM Storwize® V7000.

Benefits:
The IT services provider enabled clients to save up to 75 percent by leveraging cloud deployments, while improving its own operational efficiency and lowering its total cost of ownership (TCO).

Case Study

Based in Zagreb, Croatia, Altus Information Technologies provides cloud computing and data center services for a variety of clients in many different industries. The company was founded in 2011 as a subsidiary of Markoja d.o.o. and specializes in helping its clients find the right mix of IT infrastructure services to meet their needs—and their budgets.

Meeting mission-critical needs in the cloud

When Altus IT first began offering cloud services, many customers were interested in using the infrastructure to host their own Software-as-a-Service applications. Typically, these applications were not used for critical business transactions. However, the IT services provider soon realized that it was missing out on a significant market opportunity—helping organizations achieve high performance and reliability for mission-critical applications in the cloud.

Goran Djoreski, chief executive officer at Altus IT, explains, “We had set up our cloud infrastructure from a software perspective, where applications could run on any system, but we realized that this was not quite right for more demanding applications. For example, pharmaceutical firms and financial institutions require very fast access to their own databases, and our hardware could not support this level of performance. That’s when we talked to IBM.”

Since Altus IT was already using open-source cloud provisioning software from OpenNebula, the company needed an industry-standard platform that could fit seamlessly into the environment—without adding licensing costs or management complexity to its day-to-day operations. The company also needed high availability and reliability to provide customers the right level of performance at the right price.

Delivering scalable, cost-effective cloud services

Altus IT turned to IBM and IBM Business Partner Business Computer Systems d.o.o. (BCS) to implement a new cloud solution comprised of IBM Flex System and IBM storage solutions. By deploying an IBM Flex System solution, the organization not only gained a high-performance platform for its clients, it also established itself as a serious player in the cloud services marketplace.

“IBM Flex System was our first choice for delivering high performance within the cloud,” says Djoreski. “We knew the components would fit easily into our existing infrastructure. Also, IBM is already strongly positioned in the markets we would like to work in. So, when talking to potential customers, we can say ‘yes, your infrastructure will run on IBM hardware,’ and it helps them feel more confident in our services.”

To provide a full range of cloud services, Altus IT uses the KVM hypervisor on CentOS software—an open-source platform based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux—and runs multiple virtual machines within a completely heterogeneous environment. This way, its customers can run their applications on the systems that make the most business sense. For example, enterprise-resource planning applications or online transactional processing databases can run on the high-performance IBM Flex System servers with KVM, while email and other business applications can run using VMware on other types of virtualized hardware. Companies pay for the performance they need now, and the cloud platform can scale in the future.

“KVM virtualization technology helps decrease our licensing costs, so we can be more competitive in our pricing for customers,” explains Djoreski. “At the same time, KVM provides all the technical functions we need.”

IBM Business Partner BCS optimized the hardware configurations during the one-month implementation process, and continues to provide ongoing support. This saves Altus IT valuable time and money. “By not having to spend time managing the hardware, we are able to focus on more strategic activities,” says Djoreski. “We can also expand our services without having to hire any more people.”

Ensuring business continuity with simplified storage

Altus IT uses an IBM Storwize V7000 system within a Fibre Channel-based storage area network configuration to provide fast access to virtualized storage, and to unify disparate storage devices within the existing infrastructure. Plus, Storwize V7000 comes with solid-state drives to enable flexibility and better service.

“If you decide on an IBM Flex System, the natural choice for storage is Storwize,” says Djoreski. “First, you get single-vendor support for the complete system. Second, the hardware is designed to work together, so you can expect fewer problems and better performance.”

The virtualized environment also helps the company’s clients save on disaster recovery. For example, financial institutions must legally demonstrate that they can recover from a disaster without disrupting their services. By moving to a cloud-based approach for disaster recovery, these clients no longer have to maintain a dedicated secondary data center. With a cloud powered by IBM Flex System, clients can save up to 75 percent on their data-center costs.

To manage its heterogeneous cloud infrastructure, Altus IT uses OpenNebula software for cloud provisioning and orchestration. Altus IT also engaged IBM Global Financial Services to purchase the IBM solution, and plans to deploy additional IBM Flex System nodes as its cloud business grows.

Providing a solid foundation for the future

By implementing the IBM solution, Altus IT can now offer a full range of cloud-computing services, ranging from entry-level clouds to highly available, enterprise-scale cloud solutions. The company has improved performance and simplified management of its own IT infrastructure, helping lower its TCO. Plus, it reports a 60 percent faster time-to-market for customers choosing to host applications on an Altus IT cloud—compared to clients having to configure and manage their own test and production environments.

Moving forward, Altus IT has confidence in its continuing relationship with IBM and the prospects for delivering more value across the region. “All the people at IBM are very easy to approach,” says Djoreski. “And I think this is a huge difference from other vendors. We know everybody on a personal basis, and we never feel like they just sold us a box. Whether we need support on a system or in business development, we can just call IBM and know that they will work really hard with us to find a solution. We feel less alone with IBM on our side.”

For more information

Contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit us at: ibm.com/pureflex

For more information about IBM Business Partner Business Computer Systems d.o.o., visit: http://www.bcs.hr

For more information about Altus Information Technologies, visit: www.altus-it.hr/en

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Flex System running hypervisor - KVM, Flex System x240, Storage: Storwize V7000

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation IBM Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America April 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Flex System, and Storwize are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation 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. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds 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. 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.