Customers

Europcar spearheads infrastructure refresh with Nutanix

Global car rental company reinvigorates IT with streamlined hyperconverged solution that offers better management capabilities and shorter time to IT

INDUSTRY

Motoring Service Industry, Car rental 

CHALLENGES

  • End of life legacy environment
  • Incompatibilities were affecting
  • business performance
  • System instability was affecting
  • innovation

SOLUTION

Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform running the market leading AOS 14 XC Core Nodes 

APPLICATIONS

  • Sage ERP 
  • Sage CRM
  • SQL Workloads
  • Ecommerce sites
  • Load balancers
  • Microsoft Exchange servers
  • Active Directory
  • Electronic Document solutions
  • Variety of Mixed workloads
  • Rental systems

CHALLENGES

Europcar is one of South Africa’s leading global car rental companies. With its payoff line “Moving Your Way”, the company closely guards its reputation of superior customer service and uses technology as a means to better deliver rental offerings to its customers. A member of the Motus Corporation, the company currently boasts a fleet in excess of 20,000 vehicles which it provides from over 85 locations throughout Southern Africa. A member of the globalEuropcar network the company offers its clients car rental access to around220,000 across 150 countries.

Hosted on a legacy infrastructure environment made up of end of life servers, support and SAN solutions, the IT team at Europcar set out to find a solution that could support its application environment and scale for the future while at the same time deliver the performance inherent in Nutanix that the business required moving forward.

Our backend systems at our head office were approaching end of life and as a result were starting to become less and less stable. These systems are the central nervous system of Europcar, they are the link between our business and our rental agencies. The fact that we couldn’t procure replacement parts or support for them meant we needed to look at a technology refresh to assist in fixing the plumbing at the backend so we could continue to deliver superior customer service at the front end.

– Geshan Naicker, IT Manager, Europcar.

SOLUTION

“We ran a number of POCs where our major prerequisite was that the solution we selected had to support Hyper-V, our internal platform of choice. The hyperconverged platforms of SimpliVity and Nutanix came out tops in our selection criteria. It was after we saw the physical performance improvement delivered byNutanix in its POC, as well as the fact that it did everything we needed and it supports Hyper-V, that we elected to partner with them,” adds Naicker.

The Nutanix environment was deployed as the backbone infrastructure to support a broad array of applications as well as the company’s virtual environment, to host its Microsoft Exchange and ActiveDirectory, CRM, ERP and Sage solutions at its data centres.

CUSTOMER OUTCOME.

Key to this was that the Nutanix platform enabled Europcar to move away from a situation where its IT team had to build new clusters and nodes almost every two weeks as a result of failures caused by the outdated and incompatible firmware on its legacy environment. Not having to deal with aged SAN’s that were failing was also a great benefit.

The company now has a stable technology environment at the backend that enables it to deliver a solid foundation for the applications and integration with the systems that support its rentals business on a broader scale.

According to Naicker, the deployment process was not without its challenges, but these challenges were more related to getting the downtime needed to perform the migration in a business that by its very nature is required to be always on. He says that the “racking, stacking and cabling” and loading of the Nutanix software all took a day. While the deployment of the entire Nutanix environment was ready in a day, the porting of over 200 workloads and the migration from a three-tier Hyper-V environment to a flat hyperconverged one took a little longer.

The initial environment was made up of 9 nodes run on Dell XC730xd hardware, with six nodes allocated to its production environment hosted at production data centre and three nodes for disaster recovery hosted at the disaster recovery data centre.

BUSINESS BENEFITS

With its new environment Europcar has the stability it needs from its systems, has managed to minimise the time requirements on its IT team to perform manual administrative tasks when managing its infrastructure, and has cut down the number of failures inherent in the old system. The company is also taking advantage of improved management of its systems and overall visibility into its applications as well as the health of its environment. Looking ahead, the system will continue to provide scalability and performance which is another key metric for the business.

“Moving to a new environment when your technology is entrenched is no small feat. But what making the step towards a hyperconverged system has done for us is flatten a lot of arduous administrative tasks and free up the time of our IT teams. They are now able to perform the tasks we need them to that meet our business objectives – which is to ultimately ensure our customers are happy, they receive a quality service, and that we uphold the values of Europcar at all times,” adds Naicker.

NEXT STEPS

Europcar has recently completed an expansion and migration plan of its Nutanix system and upgraded its hardware environment to the latest underlying Dell hardware platform. As a result, has managed to further downscale its hardware footprint, making it eco-friendlier. The company now has five nodes for its disaster recovery solution and nine in production.

“Looking ahead we will grow and expand the system to meet our business requirements. Importantly we now have the technology in place to support our growth plans and that enables us to innovate when we need to,” ends Naicker.