Scania Southern Africa is a subsidiary of Scania global, an organisation that deals with the sale of trucks, buses and related services in over 100 countries.
Motoring / Manufacturing
Scania Southern Africa needed to improve IT support times, increase performance of its VDI environment, better deliver its systems to all of its operations in the region.
- Dell EMC XC430, 4-node all-flash cluster – 112 cores – 1.5TB Memory – 25.6TB SSD flash storage
- Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software – Acropolis data services – AHV hypervisor – Prism management
- Citrix Cloud – Xendesktop, XenApp & WAN optimisation
- Microsoft SQL & RDS
- Aptronics consulted on the project
- Dramatically reduced the number of support tickets from 80 to 15
- Used less bandwidth and reduce costs of infrastructure
- Improved delivery of services and applications in its VDI environment
- Reduced boot times of VDI environment from 1 minute 30 to 18 seconds
As the main hub for Scania in Southern Africa the company is required to deliver value added services to the business by way of servicing of trucks as well as repairs. The subsidiary provides proactive monitoring of trucks from its systems, leveraging technology to improve its customer services, it is able to see a break down and then advise customers proactively.
“We had started experiencing problems in our environment and the IT team was doing a lot of firefighting to keep the lights on. Something needed to change quickly, so we set out to see what was in the market to help us,” said Theven Naicker, Area IT Manager at Scania Southern Africa.
“Ultimately, we needed technology that would support the solution we have in the region. We don’t have an expansive team, so the technology needed to be easy to manage and we also wanted to cut down the overall costs of the infrastructure we deployed. Working with our solution provider Aptronics, we started a Proof of Concept (POC) test to check the validity of the various technologies in the market, as well as to help us identify the type of solution that would meet our specific requirements.”
After a successful POC, Scania settled on a technology mix of Dell EMC XC Series hardware and Nutanix Enteprise Cloud OS software. The system would need to support and run its entire Citrix VDI environment. “Key to us was having a system that supported the front-end solution delivery, as well as sustain the backend technology, without a constant need to buy more and more bandwidth to ensure a quality of service.
Key to this was a technology fabric that would support its Citrix Cloud desktop environment (XenDesktop and XenApp), from which it delivers services throughout South Africa, Ghana, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique. The Nutanix platform would have to ensure that there was continuity in delivery of the Citrix VDI environment while supporting uptime, ensuring scalability and improving the delivery of IT services.
The business is built on a cloud model and its datacentres are remotely accessed from service provider, Vodacom.
“The POC highlighted that the Nutanix platform was able to deliver more than just an acceptable service. The results were fantastic and we immediately saw that this would provide us with a solution that could improve the end-user experience as well as support our compute requirements in the back-end. Admittedly, bandwidth has always been a problem for us, however by using Nutanix on Dell EMC XC Series and changing the stack to a hyperconverged environment we immediately experienced a reduction in the need for this,” states Naicker.
Naicker, says while it was in the process of identifying a technology fit it tried several different vendors, but with the visibility it received of Nutanix through Aptronics, the platform spoke for itself. “The ease of deployment, ease of migration and simplicity far surpassed anything else we saw.”
Accordingly, the business has been able to increase its productivity and better service its clients as a result of a more stable IT environment.
“We immediately saw some magic happen, in that our users are talking about the improvement they were experiencing. Users were, at random, asking us what we were doing differently because their experience of the system was now so superior. It was also just so simple to deploy and manage. We spend very little time on operational support now, which gives us more time to spend on enhancements to our business,” he added.
Some tangible results experienced by the client during the POC saw a reduction in support tickets from 70-80 tickets a day, right down to 15, and the tickets themselves are no longer critical tickets. Furthermore, performance was dramatically improved and the boot time of the VDI environment went down from one and a half minutes to a mere 18 seconds.
The team also opted to test its ERP environment, and in particular its SQL database, on the Nutanix platform. After testing it saw huge improvements on speed of query times against the system. Scania users also need to stream media for clients, this was a huge problem as much of the media simply wouldn’t load, after implementation the media streaming kicked in and delivery times are significantly better. With the Acropolis distributed data fabric, Scania is also seeing an increase in availability of its storage capabilities.“
At Scania, we look for systems that work for us and not against us. There are systems out there that people spend a lot of time trying to fix. The less interaction, the fewer people we need to manage it, the more self-sufficient the system the system, the better for us. Nutanix ticked all these boxes for us.”
Looking ahead, Naicker says the company is in the throes of architecting a wall-to-wall Nutanix environment when it undertakes its hardware infrastructure refresh cycle.
“At Scania we look at solutions that address environmental factors for the business as a whole. If, as in our case, you have a system that needs to be delivered to remote regions you have to consider factors such as power and bandwidth as an example. That said you need a technology that can help with these factors and still have a positive impact on your service delivery. It is not just about the cost factor, but more importantly the technology. When we initially played with Nutanix, it literally blew us away, which is why we see it being an important part of the future of our business,” ended Naicker.
At Scania, we look for systems that work for us and not against us. There are systems out there that people spend a lot of time trying to fix. The less interaction, the fewer people we need to manage it, the more self-sufficient the system the system, the better for us. Nutanix ticked all these boxes for us.Theven Naicker, Area IT Manager, Scania Southern Africa