Safran

"HC3 has allowed us to achieve scalability and performance in a simple to use, integrated platform that grows as our business grows"

Leonard Powers,
IT Infrastructure and Engineering Manager

Safran Power UK, a subsidiary of Safran

Fast Facts:

Goodrich Electrical Power Systems became part of French parent company Safran through acquisition in 2013 and was rebranded Safran Power UK. Continued growth, upon an already strong position in commercial, business and military segments, has meant the company was expanding at an incredible rate, with over 100 job vacancies in their company alone. With this company growth came data growth and the old infrastructure environment was facing challenges. The IT department needed to expand their storage environment to deal with the vast amount of data growth. They also wanted to move away from their current virtualization environment (vSphere 4.1), which was ready to be replaced.

Introduction:

Safran Power UK (formerly Goodrich Electrical Power Systems) came into the company through an acquisition, always a challenge when considering new IT infrastructure. The environment at the time consisted of Dell Equallogic for shared storage with leased servers acting as hosts. Last October, Leonard Powers, the IT Infrastructure and Engineering Manager realized they were running short on storage, and the lease on the existing equipment was about to expire. The organization’s data continues to grow at an alarming rate, and every 3 years they would have to go through the cycle of migrating data off old servers and storage and onto new infrastructure, a complete forklift upgrade. Safran needed infrastructure that could grow with their business. The current environment was being backed up to tape, which was proving to be more cumbersome than it was worth. A great deal of man-hours and resources were dedicated to the process, and even when working correctly, would only allow for a couple of days worth of data to be restored. Data needed to be readily available, and rolling back for data on tape was taking longer and longer. In addition, the organization’s engineers required compute and storage resources that were readily available to remain productive, and IT had to manually provision these resources every single time a request was made. Powers realized that although they had initially started by thinking only about storage, the reality was that they needed to re-examine their infrastructure from a holistic perspective. As the acquisition went through, and the organization continued to grow, it became more challenging to look at silo-ed infrastructure. They needed a solution that could scale as their organization grew, without the initial upfront infrastructure cost of overprovisioning. It was perfect timing to strategically evaluate their next solution.

Challenge: How to scale without the complexity, while growing the business

Safran Power UK’s storage infrastructure already handled tens of millions of PDFs and small files, programming and multimedia-rich files across 750 workstations, 17 physical servers and 35 virtual machines. Typically, server maintenance required shutting down production servers, which had to be planned over the weekend. Backups usually started on Friday and ended on Monday morning. Powers wanted to avoid the downtime of production servers as it not only disrupted the organization, but also required weekend on-call resources.

Powers was also feeling the pain of licensing fees from its VMware vSphere 4.1 environment. It wanted to continue to virtualize its physical servers, but the prohibitive cost of upgrading was too much. They had begun to achieve the benefits of virtualization, but now needed to upgrade and were stuck because of excessive pricing on licenses.

After extensive research, the team evaluated its incumbent vendor Dell Equallogic as well as HP.

Although the organization was a Dell shop, there were challenges with scaling the Equallogic solution. If Powers’ environment needed to grow a couple of terabytes, they had to buy a whole new system again. It would not only cost more money, but it would also take up more space.

Powers then evaluated HP, which proved to be a complex solution and had excessive licensing costs. The more disks you needed, the higher the cost became. Ultimately, the solution’s licensing structure became too complex to understand, and worse, more expensive.

Then, on top of these costs, he had to also deal with the excessive licensing costs of upgrading its vSphere 4.1. Cost was spiraling out of control.

Powers said, “Let’s start doing things (IT) differently. I don’t want to continue to buy the same thing just because it’s what we’ve been buying all along”

Solution: A scalable and highly available platform that was simple to manage

Powers evaluated Scale Computing’s HC3 and realized that he could achieve his needs for storage and virtualization in a single platform. HC3 would allow him to scale incrementally, and not force him to put out money upfront for capacity he could not accurately forecast.

Powers said “We needed a solution that could offer us something that was different than what we were doing before. We don’t know where we’re going to be in one year, 2 years, or what additional business might come in. We needed something that could be expandable.”

Safran UK decided on 2 x 8 node HC3 systems as a starting point for the needs of his organization today. With this solution, he has been able to achieve:

Simplicity: One of the most important things to Powers about HC3 was how easy it was to use.

“After all the complexity we saw in other solutions, we were surprised to see how HC3 was easy to deploy and use. There was no training required,” Powers said.

Availability: IT no longer has to worry about weekend on call duties, or any kind of failure. They know their data and resources will be available. They also moved from tape to disk and leveraging Symantec Backup Exec for deduplication, and they could now perform full server backups each night. This has enabled them to have access to 4-6 weeks of online backups. The deduplication and disk to disk backup have enabled 230TB of data to be stored in 3TB of disk.

Scalability: Engineers no longer have to wait for resources; HC3 provides them with the compute and storage they need, by provisioning virtual servers on demand.

‘“An integrated platform that was easy to use, scalable and highly available was what we needed, and HC3 delivered it at an affordable cost’,” Powers said.

Safran UK is now looking to expand HC3 to other departments, and standardize on a simple, available and scalable virtualization platform. Powers has been extremely pleased by the support he has gotten from its trusted partner.

“The team has been extremely helpful and responsive, from presale straight through the decision making process and implementation” With no virtualization software to license, no external storage to buy and the hypervisor built in to the system, HC3 radically simplifies the infrastructure needed to keep critical applications running. The architecture and user interface of HC3 makes the deployment and management of a highly available and scalable infrastructure as easy to manage as a single server.

Download Case Study

Location

United Kingdom

Industry

Aerospace, Manufacturing

Size

Corporate: 65,000
Subsidary: 600

IT Staff

8 Employees

Virtual Machines

52

Operating Systems

Windows 2012
Windows 2008R2
Windows 2003r2
Linux

HC3 Solution

2 x 8 Node HC3 Systems

  • 512 GB RAM
  • 16 x Quad Core Intel CPUs
  • 32 x 10 GbE
  • 64 SATA drives


“After all the complexity we saw in other solutions, we were surprised to see how HC3 was easy to deploy and use. There was no training required,” “ – Leonard Powers, IT Infrastructure and Engineering Manager

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