Customers

Oil & Gas Systems enjoys resilient IT with Nutanix

Engineering Services Firm Swaps Legacy Infrastructure for Nutanix Reliability

With an upgrade to Nutanix Enterprise Cloud, Oil & Gas Systems can better support its workforce delivering specialist equipment for the oil, gas and power industries.

INDUSTRY 

Oil & Gas

BENEFITS

  • Greater resilience 
  • Less management effort

SOLUTION

Nutanix Cloud Platform

  • Nutanix NX series hardware
  • Acropolis (AOS)
  • AHV virtualisation
  • Prism Element management

Applications

  • Sage 200
  • Sage CRM
  • Sage Payroll
  • Autodesk Vault Professional
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Mailstore Email Archiving
  • Spiceworks
  • Domain Controllers / File & Print server

 

There are no more single points of failure now. I can carry out maintenance on a host, and the running virtual machines seamlessly move over to another host. There's no loss of availability to the business users.

– Kevin Fisher, IT Manager, Oil & Gas Systems Limited

CHALLENGES

Oil & Gas Systems Limited (OGS) is an engineering company based in Ely, near Cambridge in the UK, which provides metering systems, fuel gas treatment equipment and other engineering services for the oil, gas and power industries.

When Kevin Fisher took over as IT Manager, he was faced with a disparate array of systems that were between six and twelve years old that were struggling to handle the core business systems of the company.

“I inherited a very old Hyper-V virtual environment installed on a single host server that was running most of the core business systems.  There were also a mixture of single server VMware hosts and other physical servers running Sage applications and an engineering CAD solution. It was all sort of cobbled together and a bit of a nightmare,” Fisher says.

The legacy infrastructure was no longer under maintenance contract and there was no third-party support, so Fisher was under considerable strain to keep things running amid a growing number of failures that included a complete server motherboard failure, as well as disk drive errors, memory faults and power supply issues.

It was clear that OGS needed to refresh its ageing IT infrastructure, and Fisher had determined that a traditional configuration of discrete servers and storage would have too high an administrative overhead for the small IT team of two, so the decision was made to migrate to a hyperconverged infrastructure platform.

SOLUTION

OGS worked with partners including Zones, an existing preferred partner, and after seeing demonstrations and evaluating potential platforms, it was concluded that the Nutanix platform provided the best value while meeting OGS’s requirements.

Of the proposed solutions, the one from Zones was preferred because it combined the Nutanix platform with Supermicro hardware, formerly the default choice for Nutanix deployments, which meant that OGS needed only a single point of contact for support issues.

OGS also decided to go for the entire Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform with the native AHV hypervisor, rather than keep either Hyper-V or fully move over to the VMware hypervisor that Fisher was more familiar with.

“To license the entire cluster for VMware worked out very expensive, especially when you look at the core features we were looking to take advantage of.  The perception was that the native AHV solution offered the best value for us at this point in our development, with the likely budget I would have available to me” he says.

As well as opting for a three-node Nutanix cluster, OGS also took the opportunity provided by the new platform to update its backup strategy and processes.

“As with the legacy server infrastructure, the backup strategy I inherited was equally disjointed.  We had a single tape drive being used for a mixture of Veeam image backups, Veritas file backups, Windows Server bare metal backups and application/batch file scripts for exporting data.  It was very time consuming to do any backups or restores, so we wanted a much more efficient solution on our new Nutanix HCI platform. We opted for Veeam in the end. A couple of other backup solutions were evaluated but we felt Veeam with its software appliance unique to Nutanix AHV seemed to be the better bet,” Fisher says.

CUSTOMER OUTCOMES

Greater Resilience

With its Nutanix cluster installed and deployed, OGS has a much more reliable platform for running the IT services to support its core business systems, thanks to the multiple levels of redundancy and resilience Nutanix has built in.

“There are no more single points of failure now. I can carry out maintenance on a host, and the running virtual machines seamlessly move over to another host. There's no loss of availability to the business users,” says Fisher.

Zero Downtime

“We've experienced a couple of hardware failures to memory modules. Replacements were sent out and an engineer followed up to install it. Unlike previous failures, this time we had no downtime. I would never have been able to say that before.  Working closely with the Nutanix support team on several occasions has also demonstrated to me exactly why they score so highly with a 90+ Net Promoter Score.” Fisher says.

Reduced Management Effort

“Once you get it configured and set up correctly, thereafter, it runs itself. You can simply concentrate on the applications that you are running on the platform, not the platform itself.
Even when updates are available for the platform, they are painless to update, with very little effort from me. I know from my long IT managerial career that so much of my time would have been spent managing the underlying infrastructure.”

NEXT STEPS

Upgrade Node Capacity

While OGS is satisfied with its Nutanix infrastructure, it is planning to upgrade the nodes with greater capacity to better support the redundancy capabilities.

“We're looking at replacing our 4TB disks with bigger 8TB disks and adding an extra 64 GB memory per host to allow for some future expansion. We are happy with the raw processing power, so do not need any extra host servers.  It’s just with the level of resilience we want and some extra headroom to grow, we need to increase the total disk capacity to get more usable space available within the existing setup,” Fisher explains.

Better Capacity Planning with Prism Central / Prism Pro license

OGS is currently using just the Prism Element management tool built into the platform, but is considering an upgrade to Prism Central with a Prism Pro license to gain access to more features.

“I've looked at Prism Central with a Prism Pro license, to give us some additional management options, things like capacity planning and performance anomaly detection. However, before Prism Central can be installed, I need to increase the disk and memory capacity available.  Looking a bit further to the future, then cloud services like Xi Leap for disaster recovery may also be on the wish list as a way of improving business continuity.” Fisher says.

PARTNER

Zones (UK) Ltd

Zones is an IT services provider that has been delivering solutions for businesses in 80 countries around the world for over 30 years.