Central Highlands Regional Council supports rapidly changing requirements with Nutanix
The council has been able to press ahead with digitizing services thanks to its scalable, cost-effective IT delivered by Nutanix Partner Truis
- Gains flexible infrastructure for continued transformation
- Accelerates multi-cloud strategy adoption
- Enables trouble-free response to remote-working need during COVID-19
- Reduces TCO by AUD$50,000 to AUD$100,000 a year
- Cuts IT footprint and power usage by 50%
- Lowers workloads by 25%, with tasks take hours instead of days
Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform
- Acropolis Software, including built-in hypervisor, AHV and Security Configuration Management Automation
- Prism management plane
- Nutanix Files, a software-defined, scale-out file storage
- Asset management application
- Document management system
- Geographic information system
- Microsoft SQL databases
- Windows servers
- Skype for Business
The legacy IT infrastructure at Central Highlands Regional Council (CHRC) could no longer support the authority’s digitisation goals. Scaling the infrastructure was difficult because of the lack of space, and managing the existing solution was a lot for the small IT team. When the infrastructure went end of life, the council had an opportunity to deploy a new solution for a multi-cloud era and continued digitisation. It implemented Nutanix, gaining scalability, simplified administration, and cloud compatibilities. As such, CHRC responded quickly to remote-working needs for COVID-19 while driving service transformation. It also lowered the total cost of ownership by AUD$50,000 to AUD$100,000 a year, halved the IT footprint and power usage, lowered workloads on the IT team by 25 percent, and began completing tasks in hours when they used to take days.
With Nutanix, we have been able to meet growing demands for digital services while keeping a tight control on our budgets. Plus, Nutanix has given us the flexibility to adopt multicloud services where they are a good fit.”—Clinton Nicol-Dickson, IT Manager, Central Highlands Regional Council
The Central Highlands region is in central Queensland, Australia. Covering around 60,000 square kilometres, the area is home to approximately 30,000 people, living in rural communities and small towns. Overseeing the area is the Central Highlands Regional Council (CHRC), which is responsible for services such as community development, waste management, roads and water.
Like government agencies worldwide, CHRC is digitising services. Online interactions are often less time consuming for citizens and they also reduce administrative burdens. Plus, digitisation more broadly is helping councils improve environmental management and respond more effectively to severe weather events. Yet, continued digitisation became a challenge for CHRC. Expanding the IT infrastructure was virtually impossible because of a lack of space in the data centre. The small IT team already had its hands full trying to manage the infrastructure as it was. And disaster recovery (DR) capabilities were at their limits, making failover a concern for an expanded platform.
With the legacy three-tier infrastructure coming to the end of its life, CHRC had the opportunity to turn the situation around. For Clinton Nicol-Dickson, IT manager at CHRC, it was a chance to transform the council’s IT for a multi-cloud era. “We’ve already moved several workloads to the cloud or SaaS [software as a service],” he says. “But we’ll always have an on-premises need, so we wanted something to make it easy to transition workloads to the best platform available.”
Nutanix Partner Truis provided us with the technical expertise to migrate our systems to our Nutanix solution without any disruption. We developed a really strong relationship with Truis because it went above-and-beyond the levels of service of other IT solution providers.—Clinton Nicol-Dickson, IT Manager, Central Highlands Regional Council
CHRC engaged Nutanix Partner Truis, which provided management services for the council’s three-tier infrastructure. “We wanted to work with Truis again because of the support it had provided in the past,” says Nicol-Dickson. Based on its knowledge of the council’s challenges and goals, Truis recommended a Nutanix HCI (hyperconverged infrastructure). “We trusted that a Nutanix HCI from Truis would create a highly scalable, modernized data center to move applications between on-premises and different clouds.”
Truis then provided the technical expertise to help CHRC design a Nutanix infrastructure to meet its requirements. It also provided support to deploy Nutanix HCI appliances and migrate applications and data off the legacy infrastructure. “Working with Truis really gave us peace of mind,” remembers Nicol-Dickson.
CHRC deployed three Nutanix nodes at its production site and three at a DR site for replication with Veeam enabling hourly snapshots and daily backups. The council migrated key workloads over to Nutanix, including an asset management application, a document management system, and a geographic information system (GIS). In addition, both Microsoft SQL databases, Windows servers, and Skype for Business were also moved to Nutanix. To streamline IT management, CHRC has Nutanix Prism and for intelligent file storage, Nutanix Files. Says Nicol-Dickson, “We have a large number of file shares to oversee, from shared drives to collaborative working directories. Nutanix Files makes it really simple to control through a single interface.”
Gains flexible infrastructure for continued transformation
With Nutanix, CHRC is driving digitisation to improve service delivery. Council personnel have secure remote access to data on multiple devices when working in the region’s communities. While in-the-field, for example, they can log damage reports on infrastructure, such as roads, caused by fire or flooding, expediting workflows so tasks are completed sooner. Indeed, constant access to key systems on Nutanix means they no longer have to travel back to council offices to check documents or submit forms—enabling them to get more work done.
Accelerates multi-cloud strategy at council
CHRC can pursue a multi-cloud strategy, using Nutanix to run workloads on private and public clouds as well as SaaS platforms. Right now, the council is using Microsoft Azure for backing up some of its data. Referring to Nutanix, Nicol-Dickson says, “We have a solution that easily interacts with cloud environments, making processes, like migrating a VM [virtual machine] up to the cloud, seamless.”
Enables trouble-free response of remote working during COVID-19
The flexibility of Nutanix was also highlighted when CHRC had to respond to the pandemic, and personnel needed to work from home. The council was able to install a new virtual private network connection with the support of Truis to give more personnel access, leveraging the simplified management of Nutanix to streamline implementation. Nicol-Dickson remembers, “Using Nutanix Prism, we were quickly able to fine tune settings and spin up more capacity to handle additional remote working.”
Reduces TCO by AUD$50,000 to AUD$100,000 a year while halving IT footprint and power
Besides delivering workplace efficiencies for CHRC, Nutanix is helping IT significantly lower costs. “We’ve cut our data centre footprint in half,” states Nicol-Dickson, freeing up space for future expansion. Moreover, power efficiency of Nutanix compared with the three-tiered infrastructure is much greater. “The load on our UPS [uninterrupted power supply] is down 50 percent,” he says.
In total, the combined impact of Nutanix has been a reduction in total cost of ownership of AUD$50,000 to AUD$100,000 ($39,000 to $78,000). “We no longer have to support all the licensing, maintenance, and support costs of multiple suppliers as we did before,” comments Nicol-Dickson. “We had the upfront investment, but the on-going savings are significant.”
Lowers workloads by 25%, tasks take hours instead of days
The savings and management efficiencies from Nutanix are freeing up time for the IT team to focus on strategic projects. The team has cut management workloads by at least 25 percent and spinning up new VMs can be done in hours when before it could take a couple of days. What that means is more time to work with Truis to bring on new applications to improve services and to complete development work faster. “Having Truis and Nutanix allows us to be more agile because we have the support and additional time to deliver a stream of new projects for the organisation.”
Looking ahead, the council is planning to expand its storage infrastructure for increasing amounts of video footage being recorded by personnel out in the field. Consolidating storage to a single platform is another important part of building out their cloud platform and continuing to simplify. Adds Nicol-Dickson, “We will also be working closely with Truis to understand where Nutanix can help us improve the value of our IT services and deliver better services to personnel and citizens.”
Based in Queensland, Truis supported CHRC throughout this project, providing design, deployment, and management services. Not only was CHRC highly satisfied with Truis and its level of service, the Nutanix partner’s professional support ensured the project was delivered on time without disruption.