An Interview with Matthew Day, ICT & Support Manager at Langs Building Supplies
Since the 1970s, Queensland-based Langs Building Supplies has been servicing the construction trade needs of Australians, expanding from a local one man operation to the national powerhouse it is today. With a focus on high quality products complemented by first-class service, Langs deployed Nutanix in 2014 which would later transform its entire operation, not only enhancing its competitive position, but evolving its IT department from cost centre to profit centre. We recently spoke with Matthew Day, ICT & Support Manager at Langs to discuss the company’s Nutanix implementation and the 2016 .NEXT series.
Q. How is the Nutanix deployment working out for Langs?
A. It’s hard to explain the qualitative benefit of Nutanix because its impact on the organisation has been so wide-reaching. The technology has provided drastic performance, reliability and availability improvements to all the systems and applications which it delivers.
We initially implemented the platform in early 2014 to solve a specific problem; we wanted VDI to improve application accessibility which in turn improves overall efficiency. Once we solved that, we quickly migrated other mission-critical workloads such as SQL and ERP. As time passed and we progressed, we realised we could use Nutanix as the starting point for a complete software-defined strategy spanning infrastructure, networking and PABX at the onset.
We have seen amazing performance from the Nutanix solution, but it continues to deliver, especially around ease of management. Previously, we had traditional 3-tier architechture which required a lot of babysitting – it took a lot of time and money to maintain. Nutanix has reduced the resource overhead allowing us to optimize our workloads and focus on strategic intiatives, all because it runs on its own. Since the Nutanix solution was deployed, we’ve rarely had to interact with it. Adding new nodes is simple, quick and without extensive configuration requirements.
We have saved a considerable amount of time which allows us to focus on more than IT; our department can now focus on information and operational technology that generates profit and drives better business outcomes. We now have the ability to quickly respond to new and changing business demands.
Q. Have you completed any new IT projects since implementing Nutanix?
A. Yes, we’ve managed to pursue several new IT and operational projects because we know Nutanix can handle them, and we’re no longer caught up in managing legacy IT infrastructure.
For example, we have been able to overhaul operational needs in other business units such as logisitics. Working with the key stakeholders in those areas, we were able to decrease average vehicle turn around from up to 2 hours down to about 20 minutes. This was achieved by leveraging skill sets across multiple departments and engineer a new delivery platform that could be preloaded for delivery and efficiently distributed around the loading yard.
Nutanix also freed up capacity to address the problem of having multiple devices in each truck. Our drivers previously used a digital camera, SatNav, a messaging unit and a mobile phone. Each of these had an associated cost and required regular maintenance. We’ve now been able to consolidate all of that into one smartphone, with Airwatch beaming all data back to headquarters so we know where our drivers are, what has been delivered, when to expect their return, and importantly, we can ensure they are safe. Nutanix’s reliability and self-healing capabilities ensure data is quickly synchronised and readily available for our use.
To be quite honest, if you told Matt Day of 2014 that he’d be able to achieve everything we have as a result of deploying Nutanix, he wouldn’t have believed you. While I understood the value at the time, I couldn’t quite fathom the extent of the qualitative impact it would have on Langs.
Q. Is Langs using the cloud for any applications?
A. Hyperconverged infrastructure is about bringing public cloud-style management to a private organisation. So when people ask if we run cloud I say yes, we run all our applications in a an enterprise cloud.
The truth is, I don’t care what sits behind the scenes – I care about my applications, and that’s what Nutanix enables me to focus on. In recent times there have been a lot of heavily-publicised public cloud stories, with some major brands experiencing outages. There’s also a perception that cloud is slow. But with Nutanix in house, we have the same agility and cost benefits as a public cloud environment, but with an increased performance and relaiblity factor.
Q. Will you be attending .NEXT again this year? If so, what are you hoping to learn more about?
A. .NEXT is a key event in my calendar. It gives me a chance to learn what other companies in various industries are doing with Nutanix and other technologies; their experiences and challenges play a factor in our decision-making process. I’m mostly looking forward to catching up with Nutanix’s engineers and learning about upcoming changes to the Prism management console and Nutanix’s OEM alliances.
Come visit us at .NEXT!
Nutanix .NEXT is scheduled for June 20-22, 2016 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information and to register for the user conference, please visit: www.nutanix.com/next