Sivantos Group Standardizes on Nutanix
Sivantos was running out of capacity on its legacy storage systems. They wanted to find a cost-effective option for the infrastructure upgrade that would increase performance and simplify ongoing management.
Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform:
- Nutanix Acropolis and AHV
- Nutanix Prism management solution
- Eliminated 100 hours per year of infrastructure management
- Consolidated nine datacenters down to three
- Doubled VDI performance
- Reduced desktop logins from 3 minutes to 32 seconds
- Obtained excellent, proactive vendor support ❯ Saved almost a quarter million dollars a year by eliminating the need for co-lo facilities
Singapore’s Sivantos Group is one of the world’s top manufacturers of hearing aids, selling more than three million devices each year. The company employs more than 5,000 people in 27 countries, and its international sales departments and audio specialists serve customers in an additional 95 countries.
“We were running out of capacity on our Dell and EMC vBlock storage systems,” explained Allan Basso, Global Infrastructure Architect, Sivantos Group. “If we upgraded to newer EMC systems, we would have to rip and replace our entire environment–basically starting over. We could have just added more capacity to our existing systems without upgrading, but the licensing and maintenance costs would have gone up sharply on those out-of-date systems. That’s when we decided to look for a better storage and server solution.”
Sivantos’ IT team looked at a wide range of infrastructure options for the refresh, including Simplivity storage arrays and VMware’s EVO:Rail and VSAN solutions. “There were lots of different infrastructure options, but they all fell short of what Nutanix offered,” Basso admitted. “With Nutanix’s ability to incrementally scale, we would be able to purchase only what we needed upfront, rather than what the vendors wanted to sell us. Both of the VMware solutions required me to buy four nodes at a time, and licensing was going through the roof. In addition, EVO:Rail had a limitation in how many blocks would be useable, and it didn’t have erasure coding. Since those features are available with Nutanix in a cost-effective platform, we made the decision to purchase the hyperconverged arrays.”
Sivantos deployed its first Nutanix systems in 2015, placing one cluster in New Jersey and the other system in Florida. “We were able to purchase Nutanix for BOTH of our datacenter locations at 40% of the cost we originally paid for the two EMC Vblock systems,” Basso shared.
Sivantos moved forward with the Nutanix deployment without running a POC. “This was probably the first time I ever made such a sweeping change to my datacenter without installing the hardware and playing with it here first, but the Nutanix recommendations were so universally positive that I felt confident moving forward,” admitted Basso. “We knew it was the solution we wanted, and if it lived up to everything Nutanix said it was going to do, we’d be very happy. I’m pleased to report that the Nutanix systems met or surpassed all of our expectations.”
By March of 2016, Sivantos was 100% dependent on Nutanix for all of its enterprise workloads in two datacenters, including its VDI deployment, ERP systems, MS Dynamics, MS SQL, MS Exchange, and a variety of homegrown applications.
Faster VDI Performance
Sivantos’ virtual desktops are running much faster on the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud platform. “We were originally using an all-flash Dell array and Dell servers for our VMware view environment,” explained Basso. “When we lifted the entire environment and dropped it onto the Nutanix 3060 cluster, we immediately saw a 100% increase in virtual desktop performance, and our 3-minute logins dropped down to just 32 seconds.”
Consolidating from Nine Datacenters to Three
The hyperconverged Nutanix infrastructure is enabling Sivantos to simplify its network and reduce datacenter footprint. “We currently have nine small to large datacenters, and our goal is to consolidate everything into three primary business datacenters on Nutanix, with a couple of smaller regional offices to facilitate specific tasks. We will be replicating between those three centers for business continuity,” noted Basso.
Reducing Management Time
“The maintenance simplicity of Nutanix is impressive,” Basso said. “We had a 3-tier VBlock environment before Nutanix. It was a ‘so-called’ converged solution–as opposed to a hyperconverged infrastructure–but it was nowhere near self-sustaining. It took about 100 hours per year just to keep that environment running. By moving to Nutanix, the 100 hours of infrastructure management dropped to nearly zero. Plus, we can now perform maintenance during the day on our production systems without impacting application performance. It takes just ‘one click of a button’ to maintain Nutanix.”
Proactive Nutanix Support
One of the biggest factors in Basso’s decision to go with Nutanix was the quality of support. “I spent almost five hours at .NEXT 2015 talking with Nutanix’s director of support,” Basso admitted. “He explained Nutanix’s deep commitment to world-class service, and how those values have been instilled in all of his people. That dedication was proven to me during my first installation. Even though I was doing the install myself, our Nutanix SE suggested I open a support ticket just to see how the process worked. The support rep immediately called me back, and we went through the entire install step-bystep. He suggested a couple of tweaks, since there’s always something more that technicians know from their many years of experience. After we made a few adjustments, I went on my way with a ‘blessed’ configuration.”
Basso was surprised to hear back from Nutanix Support less than two weeks after the installation. “My phone rang, and it was the same Nutanix support rep that I spoke to during the install,” Basso recalled. “He noticed that we were running VMware ESX 6.0, which was a fairly new release at that time. He had just heard that there could be a problem running VMware 6.0 with certain AD settings. He called me and said, ‘It looks like everything is fine with your environment, but could I take a look at your cluster just to make sure you’re not going to have any problems in the future?’ Of course I let him do it–he’s the pro here! I did ask him if it was something in the Nutanix infrastructure that was causing the problem, and he assured me it was not. Any company that takes the time to call a customer that could possibly encounter a problem – even if it isn’t caused by their product – speaks volumes to the level of support they’re willing to provide to their customers.”
Eliminating Co-lo Costs
After moving to Nutanix, Sivantos stopped using the co-location facility and moved all of its datacenter infrastructure in-house. “Since the Nutanix systems are so easy to manage, there was no need to maintain our co-location contract and pay the $20K/month premium,” Basso explained. “It took less than three months of running co-lo revenue to build-up our entire datacenter here. And our power and cooling footprint is just 4% of what it used to be. All of that adds up to a big savings for our organization.”
Saying ‘Yes’ to all Business Requests
“I want to be able to say ‘yes’ whenever the business asks about a new project,” Basso said. “It took a lot of extra steps to get anything done with our previous 3-tier infrastructure. Whenever our business units asked for additional capacity, I had to say that I’d ‘look into it and get back to them’. By using the Nutanix Prism management interface, I can immediately see if I have enough resources for their requests. With Nutanix, I can now focus on moving the business forward, instead of thinking about how difficult – or impossible – it would be to implement new projects.”
Creating a Global Standard
“Because of the incredible cost and management time savings we obtained on our first two systems, we decided to use Nutanix as our global infrastructure standard going forward,” said Basso. “We have already rolled out three additional Nutanix clusters in Singapore and China, and we’re getting ready to deploy another one in Germany. We have five 10-foot tall racks in our co-lo in Germany, and we should be able to shrink that down to 1.5 racks by the time we’re done. With Nutanix, we will be able to achieve significant cost savings there as well.”
Moving to Citrix and AHV
Sivantos is now exploring the use of Citrix for its VDI deployment, and moving from the VMware hypervisor to AHV. “We would love to deploy our virtual desktops through Citrix on AHV, in order to take advantage of Nutanix’s management simplicity,” Basso explained. “Eventually, we would like to move all of our workloads over to AHV and leave the expensive VMware licensing behind.”
A Simpler Life
“Nutanix is making my life as an IT administrator much easier, and it has also helped advance my career,” admitted Basso. “I was recently promoted to Global Infrastructure Architect, and I’m sure that was partly due to my role in the Nutanix implementation. Nutanix has lived up to every promise they’ve made to me, which is quite unusual for a technology company these days.”
“When we lifted the entire environment and dropped it onto the Nutanix 3060 cluster, we immediately saw a 100% increase in virtual desktop performance, and our 3-minute logins dropped down to just 32 seconds.”
– Allan Basso, Global Infrastructure Architect, Sivantos Group