At the time, the company was running their business from a relatively robust private cloud. This environment provided the necessary resources to run their internal production and analytics environments, hosting of customer environments, data platforms, a development environment, and all the shared business functions needed to run their business.
As robust as their private cloud was, Virtual DBS had some components that were coming up on end-of-life, and the business was looking to avoid substantial CapEx spend. They were also hoping to see some OpEx optimization from a support/maintenance perspective and improve overall performance by moving to a new environment with better hardware.
Initially, Virtual DBS planned to build their new environment themselves, as they had done with their previous one, but when they began to compare the costs to build versus the costs to rent, they decided to take a serious look at Envision’s InFlight platform.
Comparing the total cost of ownership for building and hosting their own environment (including colocation costs, hardware costs, support and maintenance costs, IT staff/consulting spend, replacement schedule costs, etc.), Virtual DBS discovered that InFlight provided a less expensive alternative to building everything themselves. With InFlight, Virtual DBS would not need to expend IT resources to manage the environment. Instead, IT would be freed up to focus on end user support and business needs.
Increases In Performance
While the CapEx and OpEx savings for Virtual DBS were substantial, the company also determined that the performance of InFlight would be superior to what the company could expect to get from an environment they would build on their own.
To build an environment as robust as InFlight would be cost prohibitive for Virtual DBS, but with InFlight, they could realize that increased performance. With 60Gb/s to every blade, hybrid flash storage, and a vCloud Director SDDC model, InFlight provided the security and the performance that Virtual DBS was looking for at a price that could be afforded.
The Project's Process
Internal IT at Virtual DBS worked with Envision Technology Advisors as part of a three phase process to move their infrastructure over to InFlight. Before getting started, the two teams outlined everything that was running in the current environment (not by specific VM, but by business function). This planning helped to produce a document that listed all the proposed VMs in the new environment, the resource allocations needed, the specific functions of each VM, and the access controls needed to ensure security.
For the first phase of the project, clean VMs were built for everything defined in that initial planning document. Using VM templates, the team was able to deploy all the Windows Server 2012 VMs quickly and customize them as needed.
The second phase of the project was a data migration. Some of the data was moved via NAS, while other data was moved over the IPSec tunnel between datacenters and InFlight. Over 40TB of data was eventually moved from the old environment to the new one, and because of pre-planning, the new environment’s layout presented that data in a way that easier to manage for the future, as well as for better adherence to security policies.
The final phase of this project was the move of hosted customer environments and other critical business systems that we were keeping intact and not rebuilding, including ones that required high uptime during this migration. Using Veeam Replication, Envision pre-seeded the VMs in the two-weeks prior to the final cutover of those environments and VMs. Thanks to Veeam, all the VMs from the old system were able to be cutover to the new environment in sync with each other with less than 30 minutes of downtime (power down source, final sync, power up destination, DNS propagation, etc…). Veeam Replication also handled re-IPing the VMs and attaching them to the appropriate virtual networks at the destination.
While the full impact of Virtual DBS’s move to InFlight has yet to be determined, some incredibly positive results have been seen already, including increases in performance and substantial savings in cost.
While Virtual DBS is still decommissioning their old environment, the savings that the InFlight system will bring are roughly $10k per month in colocation and data transport circuit costs, $3k per month on storage and hardware support renewals, and $5k per month on hardware (assuming a 5-year replacement schedule).
In terms of performance, Virtual DBS is already seeing a significant improvement in CIFS and NFS performance for the reads and writes of the very large data files that they work with. They have also been able to consolidate IIS and SQL servers to a smaller overall number, which improves management without negatively impacting performance due to the improved IOPS profile of the new environment.
General line of business applications have seen an increase in performance as well, with a decrease in file build times and improved data analytic performance. According to Ken Stewart, Virtual DBS' Chief Technology Officer, the company has "experienced an over 300% performance increase in key areas of our processes, as well as a marked reduction in administrative tasks." He goes on to say that he would "highly recommend others considering Envision's InFlight platform to handle their network environmental needs."
You can learn more about the InFlight Cloud Platform at www.envisionsuccess.net/inflight