nutanix

Nashville Wire

Nashville Wire Transitions to SAN-Free Datacenter to Achieve Simplicity and Cost Reduction

Business Needs

Simplified, cost-effective server and storage infrastructure to host the company’s production applications.

Solution

The Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform (NX-2000 Series, NX-3000 Series).

Benefits

  • Much “greener” solution, consuming 83% less space and significantly less power
  • Server and storage infrastructure is now significantly easier to manage
  • Responsive, rapid and quality remote support
  • Future-proof infrastructure, ready to support the company’s progressive growth

Background

Nashville Wire Products, based in Nashville, Tennessee, is a world-class supplier of wire products. It specializes in the design and fabrication of welded wire products. Its primary products include OEM parts, wire mesh, retail displays, store fixtures, and wire products for the material handling industry.

A Massively Complex Server and SAN Infrastructure

When the lease period of Nashville Wire’s blade servers and SAN infrastructure was about to expire, they decided to look for a simpler and more cost-effective solution. “The traditional server and SAN implementation was a really complex system, so we wanted to simplify,” said Larry Miller, Systems Administrator for Nashville Wire. “We wanted to manage all of the servers and storage from one GUI. We also wanted the storage to be manageable and easy to allocate and resize.” When Miller explained his requirements for a new system to the reseller UDT, one of the representatives replied, “Well, that sounds like a Nutanix box.”

The IBM blade servers, blade enclosure and dual N3600 Fibre Channel storage systems had been in place for five years. “From the first day it was installed, we talked about trying to simplify. The IT team was not really happy with the solution,” said Miller. To make matters worse, the system was expensive. They had to manage the individual blade servers along with the blade enclosure infrastructure, all of which required frequent firmware updates. To provision storage, they had to create LUNs in the storage system and datastores in VMware and associate them together with the individual blades. Miller added, “After you throw in the Fibre Channel switches and the myriad connections, it became unwieldy and extremely difficult to manage. There was a huge learning curve associated with the server and SAN infrastructure. We brought in consultants who knew how to run these SAN boxes to train our team. The “experts” hired to install and deploy the system actually set it up incorrectly and the whole system crashed within a month. It was an IT manager’s worst nightmare.”

“While virtualization has made consolidation possible, it has made much of the infrastructure around it more complex and very expensive. The Nutanix solution is the first system we have seen that simplifies the virtual world of compute and storage while also reducing costs.”

– Larry Miller, Systems Administrator

Nutanix All-in-One System

The Nutanix converged compute and storage solution met all of Nashville Wire’s desired needs, foremost of which was simplification – everything in one box. The Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform has a scale-out architecture, which makes it easy to scale incrementally when needed simply by adding nodes and/or blocks to the cluster. This allows customers to start small, matching initial production and budget requirements, and grow over time. Power and rack space requirements were a small fraction of the blade servers and SAN. While Nashville Wire considered alternative solutions from HP, IBM and Dell, they were either equally as complex as the previous systems or larger and more expensive. In the end, the architectural advantages, lower initial cost, simplified management and superior support offered by the Nutanix solution were so compelling that it sealed the deal.

Nashville Wire purchased a 4-node Nutanix NX-2000 Series system to host the company’s virtualized production environment. Miller and the IT team migrated production applications to the Nutanix cluster over a weekend, which included Microsoft SQL Servers, Exchange, Active Directory, terminal services, file servers and VMware vCenter. “The Nutanix solution is essentially running our company,” he said.

Migrating to Nutanix has provided Nashville Wire a “greener” solution consuming 83% less space and significantly less power as compared to their previous infrastructure. “The power requirements are ridiculously small compared to what we were consuming previously,” Miller said. Application performance demands are being met and users are extremely happy with their response times.

“The number of production applications and offered features has now been increased to our end users. Simplifying the server and storage infrastructure frees up time to focus on other requirements. The simplicity part of the Nutanix solution cannot be overstated.”

– Larry Miller, Systems Administrator

The Necessity of Simplification

“While virtualization has made consolidation possible, it has made much of the infrastructure around it more complex and very expensive. The Nutanix solution is the first system we have seen that simplifies the virtual world of compute and storage while also reducing costs,” Miller observed. “The number of production applications and offered features has now been increased to our end users. For instance, users are now accessing the corporate network with various devices including smart phones and tablets. Simplifying the server and storage infrastructure frees up time to focus on other requirements.”

He continued, “The simplicity part of the Nutanix solution cannot be overstated. Additionally, it is critically important to have support before, during and after the production rollout, which is timely, of high quality, and affordable. As with any production environment where your business is at stake, it is essential to have the highest levels of commitment throughout the project lifecycle. In this regard, Nutanix not only delivered but actually overachieved. This new virtualized architecture has provided everything we needed for both our current and future needs. I’m glad I took a chance on Nutanix.”

Future Plans

The IT department has been focused lately on assimilating small companies that Nashville Wire has acquired. They are also planning for their future IT needs. They have already expanded their Nutanix environment with an additional purchase of a 3-node NX-3000 Series system. The NX-3000 is expected to host their telephony system, provide additional resources to their current applications and allow for growth. Document management and VDI are applications that have been on the growth radar for the IT Team. According to Miller, if the company decides to go with these applications or others, Nashville Wire would definitely purchase additional Nutanix systems.