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Manufacturing: Steel Summit Holdings

Steel Summit Holdings

Introduction

Steel Summit Holdings is a provider of specialized steel products, including cut-to-length, slitting and stamping for the automotive, electrical, HVAC and industrial industries. As a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, Steel Summit Holdings prides themselves on service, quality, guaranteed supply and an innovative materials program. The company’s IT department consists of a team of three, supporting 130 users across the U.S.

Challenge

In the summer of 2016, Steel Summit Holdings was operating their Windows based environment on physical servers. The servers in both of their manufacturing sites were nearing end of life and needed to be replaced. This presented an opportunity to virtualize their environment and enhance their DR plan. “Among our goals were a highly available architecture and site-to-site replication. When evaluating solutions, we quickly backed away from VMware-based solutions primarily due to the acquisition and licensing costs.” said David York, IT Manager at Steel Summit Holdings. “Our lack of VMware experience was also a factor. We knew we needed a cost-effective solution that allowed us to focus on managing our virtual servers not the hypervisor.”

Solution

Steel Summit Holdings chose Scale Computing’s HC3 platform, which brings storage, servers, virtualization and management together in a single, comprehensive system. With no virtualization software to license and no external storage to buy, HC3 lowers out-of-pocket costs for the company and radically simplify the infrastructure it needs to keep applications running. HC3 makes the deployment and management of a highly available and scalable infrastructure as easy to manage as a single server.

“I evaluated both Scale and SimpliVity, but SimpliVity required VMware licensing which was a turnoff. Our cost analysis for installing 2 clusters, including Windows Server licensing, showed the acquisition cost for Scale was 12 percent less than SimpliVity and the 5-year TCO showed Scale was 26 percent less,” continued York. “We did try to compare Scale to a third solution but quickly realized it was not viable due to its cost so we terminated analysis of it and focused on Scale. I’ve been around technology for a long time so I don’t get excited about technology often, but Scale got me excited.”

Steel Summit needed to consolidate their two Windows domains to a new domain. They stood up a test environment on Scale, performed all their testing then tore down the test environment without impacting the live environment. They then stood up a new, live domain on Scale and executed the consolidation.

“If we did not move to Scale and virtualize our servers, we would not have done the Windows domain consolidation when we did. Many times you get sold on a sales pitch beyond what the company capabilities are. However, the Scale solution is just as advertised. I kept thinking there was going to be a surprise and it was too good to be true. The proverbial ‘other shoe’ never dropped.”

The cost savings with Scale Computing helped Steel Summit move other projects forward. They are planning to build a new corporate office and the conversation about servers is different now. David said, “We simply ask ourselves how many nodes we need. It’s simple and costs are predictable.”