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Tackling Overdue Data Center Refresh in Three Steps with Dell, VMware

With the uncertain economy of the past few years many companies have put IT investment on hold. Before you know it, years have passed since your last scheduled data center refresh. Now you have no choice but to upgrade… but where do you begin?

Sound familiar?

This was the reality facing the IT team for a large health provider network and insurance company responsible for covering nearly a million people in the Southwest.

The company’s IT manager and IT director started working with Dell on its data center refresh. But when it became clear that the client needed more consultation and assistance, Dell’s Naomi Slack called MicroAge’s Daniel Archer.

“I was brought in as a data center expert to develop a solution that would bring their data center and IT environment current,” Daniel says.

Naomi says Daniel is her preferred partner.

“I don’t have a physical presence in the local market,” she explains. “I wouldn’t entrust my clients with just anyone. Daniel is friendly and very knowledgeable, and I know my clients will be taken care of.”

The on-site presence was key.

“They needed someone who could see the entire environment, understand their goals and then put all the pieces together,” Daniel says. “It was not just storage or servers. It was bigger than that. Putting a data center together is kind of like completing a puzzle.”

The pieces of that puzzle came together in three basic steps.

Step 1. Upgrade the core hardware with the future in mind.

“As we upgraded the client’s hardware, it was also important to keep in mind the direction they wanted to go,” Daniel says. “Our goal was to get them current—and then make sure they would be solid for five years.”

With Daniel’s guidance, the client opted for a Dell Compellent SAN for storage and three PowerEdge R730 servers. “Plus, we upgraded them to a 10 GB network,” Daniel adds.

The solution also included redundancy and added a second firewall that they could failover to. “In case the first firewall goes down, they’ll still have locks on the doors,” Daniel explains.

Step 2. Virtualize the environment.

Next, Daniel recommended VMware vSphere to virtualize the client’s servers. And with vSphere with Operations Management, the client also has access to a unified command console to see key performance indicators as well as the ability to analyze performance data and view predictive analytics.

Step 3. Plan for disaster recovery and business continuity.

MicroAge has earned the Premier Partner status with both Dell and VMware

MicroAge is a Premier Partner with both Dell and VMware.

For business continuity and disaster recovery, Dell AppAssure and VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) are on the case.

Through replication and backup, AppAssure protects data on virtual machines, in the cloud and on physical servers, while SRM automatically moves virtual machines to a new location in the event of an outage.

“Their business is much more secure now. Before this data center refresh, they were doing the bare minimum to get by. This will make recovering after a disaster easier and faster,” Daniel says. “If they go down, they’ll be back up in hours or minutes instead of days or weeks. And any sort of data loss is restored in minutes instead of in hours.”

Next Up: Virtualizing the desktop infrastructure.

With its data center upgrade complete, the client was eager to tackle their next project. And thanks to Daniel’s strategic data center planning, they were in a good place to do so.

“We used a significant amount of solid-state hard drives in their SAN because we knew we’d eventually move to a virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI),” he explains. “That essentially helped us future-proof so they didn’t have to go back and upgrade the SAN once they were ready to start the VDI project.”

For the VDI, the client is installing VMware Horizon and Dell Wyse thin clients.

With MicroAge’s help on installation and deployment, the client couldn’t be happier.

“They love their Dell environment. They love their network,” Daniel says. “They a have a flexible environment, and they have better insight into it. They’re finding it’s faster than ever to spin out servers and deploy applications. They’re more secure and more agile.”

If you’re ready to design your new and improved data center, MicroAge can help. Contact Daniel Archer or his colleague, Martha Banister. Daniel can be reached at 480-366-2125 or daniel.archer@microage.com. Contact Martha at 480-366-2127 or martha.banister@microage.com.

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Daniel Archer
10 Years Experience
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Martha Banister
17 Years Experience
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