SLTN

Reduces cloud and virtualization management costs with IBM SmartCloud Provisioning and KVM

Published on 05 Oct 2012

"One of the biggest benefits of IBM SmartCloud Provisioning is that we can deploy non-persistent virtual machines within seconds and can reduce administrative costs enormously." - —Henk Jansen, General Manager, Services, SLTN

Customer:
SLTN

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Netherlands

Solution:
SmartCloud - Foundation

Overview

Leveraging IBM hardware, software and storage technologies, SLTN is providing breakthrough cloud services that allow companies to integrate private clouds with their existing application services. SLTN’s approach enables it to deliver new cloud services to clients in days and dynamically provision virtual machines in seconds. For SLTN, the solution also reduces administration time by up to 70 percent, enabling staff to focus on business growth and service innovation instead of having to manage the cloud.

Business need:
Provide clients with private cloud services that support both legacy and cloud-based applications under a single platform.

Solution:
SLTN built a high-performance, reliable cloud computing data center based on IBM systems and storage technology. IBM® SmartCloud™ Provisioning software enables SLTN to simplify management and delivery of virtual machines on either KVM or VMware and provide clients with rapid access to cloud-based services.

Benefits:
Supports delivery of cloud-based services in two days; enables provisioning of virtual machines in seconds; reduces administrative time by 50 – 70 percent.

Case Study

Smarter Computing: The IT Infrastructure of a Smarter Planet
Leveraging IBM hardware, software and storage technologies, SLTN is providing breakthrough cloud services that allow companies to integrate private clouds with their existing application services. SLTN’s approach enables it to deliver new cloud services to clients in days and dynamically provision virtual machines in seconds. For SLTN, the solution also reduces administration time by up to 70 percent, enabling staff to focus on business growth and service innovation instead of having to manage the cloud.

SLTN is an information and communications technology (ICT) managed service provider and system integrator in the Netherlands. The company serves a wide range of organizations, from multinational corporations and government agencies to mid-market businesses.

SLTN’s evolution from hardware reseller to managed service provider, and, now, cloud services provider reflects changing IT needs over the past 15 years.

“There is a lot of interest in the market for cloud computing,” says Peter van den Muijsenberg, operations manager at SLTN. “A lot of companies want to expand their IT capacity without capital expenditures. However, they’re finding that cloud offerings from most vendors do not integrate well with their existing operations. We saw an opportunity to add our system integration capabilities to cloud services so that companies could benefit from the cloud without losing their existing systems.”

Having the flexibility to deliver both private cloud and traditional infrastructures as a single solution also enables SLTN to offer clients the most cost-effective approach for each application.

“We wouldn’t want to put Oracle Database, for example, in the cloud because it would be very expensive from a licensing perspective,” says Henk Jansen, general manager of services at SLTN. “In such a case, we would have to isolate the database on a dedicated system next to the cloud solution, but still have the solution feel like a single solution for the client.”

Building a reliable, high-performance infrastructure for private clouds

To deliver cloud services, SLTN designed and implemented a new data center based on IBM BladeCenter® and IBM System x® 3550 class servers, and IBM XIV® Storage System technology.

“IBM is a very important vendor for us as a reseller,” explains Jansen. “When you look at the projects that we have done, they have almost always been IBM based because of the flexibility, scalability and price-performance that IBM systems offer. IBM helps us to tell a good story to our clients.”

In addition to selecting technologies for performance, scalability, and extreme reliability, SLTN also considered the environmental impact of its data center.

“We’re proud that we’ve created a CO2 neutral data center, probably one of the first here in the Netherlands,” says van den Muijsenberg.

Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) and VMware virtualization technology are used to enable clients to run multiple virtual machines with Linux or Windows images depending on their needs.

“What we see, in general, is that customers say the system management of VMware can be difficult and that licensing costs are high; and that's the main reason why customers are looking to other options like KVM,” says Jansen. “We believe that there's a great future for KVM, especially in combination with Linux. I think there will continue to be a lot of development in KVM so we’ll see better and better performance, functionality and management capabilities.”

Improving virtual environment efficiencies with dynamic provisioning

Once the data center was in place, SLTN executives needed the ability to provision services quickly and cost-effectively. As Jansen and van den Muijsenberg evaluated cloud management solutions, only one stood out.

“Immediately after we learned about IBM SmartCloud Provisioning software, we felt that this would fit our needs,” says Jansen. “When we looked at the VMware approach to cloud management, we anticipated that we would need six months to decide what functionality we would want to use. But with SmartCloud Provisioning, it took us only two months to get it up and running so we could begin to demo the solution to our clients.”

SLTN found that by using SmartCloud Provisioning it could also rapidly provision virtual machines with little administrative effort.

“One of the biggest benefits of IBM SmartCloud Provisioning is that we can deploy non-persistent virtual machines within seconds and can reduce administrative costs enormously,” says Jansen. “Once we have the cloud fully in service with the right volumes, we expect to see roughly half of the administrative cost and 50 – 75 percent faster deployment of new virtual machines compared to other solutions.”

And while SLTN will use other cloud management technologies when needed, it has found that the majority of its clients can benefit from using IBM SmartCloud Provisioning software to support provisioning of both KVM and VMware ESXi hypervisors.

“If we look at our typical client infrastructure, at least 70 percent would run best using SmartCloud Provisioning as opposed to VMware solutions,” says Jansen.

A strong foundation for growth

With the ability to deliver new cloud services cost-effectively, SLTN expects to realize a 24-month return on its investment.

“As a company, we are spending a great deal of man-hours in looking at how we move from hardware sales to cloud services,” says Jansen. “We can still offer clients traditional infrastructure solutions, but we also now have a very good story around cloud services. We can show our customers that they don’t have to make a large upfront investment to expand their capacity or invest money in systems management. With our cloud services, they can easily add capacity when they need it. If a client gives me the order today, they can start using the cloud within two days. Our customers so far have been very happy about this.”

Solution components
Software

  • IBM® SmartCloud™ Provisioning
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (including KVM hypervisor)
  • Microsoft Windows
  • VMware
Hardware
  • IBM BladeCenter®
  • IBM System x® 3550 class server
  • IBM XIV® Storage System

For more information

To learn more about IBM cloud offerings, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/cloud

For more information about SLTN, visit: www.sltn.nl

Components

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

Hardware:
BladeCenter running hypervisor - KVM, BladeCenter running hypervisor - VMware, Storage: XIV, System x: System x3550 M3

Software:
IBM SmartCloud Provisioning, Linux

Operating system:
Linux, Win XP

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America October 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, BladeCenter, IBM SmartCloud, System x, and XIV 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 Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. Microsoft and Windows 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 performance data and 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. GMC14016-USEN-00

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