Clients

Nutanix Takes the Drama Out of a Content Crisis

Top TV and media production company, Endemol Shine UK, deletes challenges of explosive unstructured data growth by migrating to Nutanix Enterprise Cloud

Company

Endemol Shine UK is a highly successful media production company working across a range of platforms from TV and video to social media, online gaming and mobile apps. Producing more than 2000 hours of content a year including award-winning drama, genre defining factual programmes and innovative digital content the group comprises a diverse mix of labels, television businesses, content producers and talent agencies.

Industry

Entertainment

Business Need

Enable a more agile business and be better equipped to cope with the demands of modern digital applications and unstructured data growth by replacing legacy IT infrastructure

Solution

  • Nutanix Enterprise Cloud
  • AHV hypervisor
  • Snapshots for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery (DR) in Microsoft Azure
  • Proprietary core finance and asset management applications
  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 
  • Avaya IP Office

Benefits

  • Effortlessly adjust to rapid unstructured data growth with linear scaling
  • Reduced hypervisor infrastructure cost and complexity
  • Simplify management and free resources to focus on innovation with single pane of management for all physical and virtual resources across multiple sites
  • 33% reduction in rack footprint with associated power and cooling savings
  • Increased performance at a lower cost

CHALLENGE

As a successful TV and media production company with many award-winning series to its name, you might assume Endemol Shine UK had specialised IT requirements and deep pockets to match. That, however, is far from the case as, media management aside, when it comes to day to day back office workloads, the company’s IT needs and budgetary constraints are much the same as those of any other large organisation. More than that, it faces similar challenges around digital transformation, business agility and scalability, not least the need to cater for rapidly escalating and hard to predict unstructured data growth.

“Our legacy blade servers and fibre channel SAN storage platforms were designed to support applications with modest and very predictable block storage requirements,” explains Daniel Davis, Infrastructure Manager at Endemol Shine UK. “Sizing those platforms to cope with modern digital applications and dealing with associated unstructured data demands was becoming a real problem, especially with workloads liable to change at short notice. As well as limiting our agility it was all getting far too complicated and difficult to manage.”

The need to remotely manage an infrastructure distributed across multiple sites was another ongoing concern. So too were escalating licensing costs as Davis and his team had deployed VMware in the past to leverage the flexibility and resiliency of virtualization.

SOLUTION

Zarghami and his team evaluated several different legacy infrastructure solutions for the refresh. “Our existing vendors were trying to sell us systems that were too powerful for our needs since they hadn’t performed accurate sizing measurements,” said Zarghami. “The proposed solutions would have consumed all of our IT budget for that fiscal year, so we started looking for other options. Suresh Murugan (our CIO) and I are what researchers call ‘early adopters’ in the innovation adoption lifecycle and always on the hunt for the next big thing. Our decisions are usually augmented with Gartner’s Magic Quadrant reports. When we saw that Nutanix was a leader in hyperconverged infrastructure, we started digging. Shortly after that, Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud software and AHV became our solution of choice.”

ECSU made the decision to run the Nutanix software on Cisco UCS servers. “We already had a good experience with UCS equipment,” Zarghami reported. “We knew that Nutanix offered its own hardware, and were thrilled to learn that Cisco UCS was also fully tested and supported. We like that Nutanix gives us the freedom to choose hardware platforms and leverage our existing investments.”

RESULTS

An Easy Deployment

“The professional services contract was offered to Nutanix, since we didn’t want to involve any channel partners,” admitted Zarghami. “We provided the Nutanix team with all of our virtual machines and they started developing a plan for the 2-3 day engagement. After building the 5-node cluster on the first day, they made sure that Prism was up, it was IP’d, and was wired. The engagement was complete by the end of the second day. The entire process was very pleasant and straightforward.”

Unsurpassed Ease-of-Use

“Nutanix is very simple to use,” stated Zarghami. “Previously, we needed 3-4 dedicated technicians to manage our servers, storage, virtualization, and networking systems. With Nutanix’s hyperconverged infrastructure solution, we now need just one admin, since any member of our team can manage Nutanix after less than a day of training. Compared to the complexity of VMware, Nutanix is a breath of fresh air. Everything takes just a few clicks, and that’s it.”

Better Visibility with Prism

“We really like the visibility we get with Prism,” said Zarghami. “With other management solutions, you have to log into multiple interfaces to understand what’s happening. But thanks to the comprehensive all-in-one interface, we can instantly see everything we need in one pane of glass. Our virtualization admin was spending 40% of his time managing the VMware environment and logging into different clusters, but Nutanix takes just 10% of his time.”

Faster Provisioning

“With Nutanix, provisioning and de-provisioning machines is one less thing we need to worry about,” noted Zarghami. “And thanks to the all-flash systems, Nutanix runs unbelievably fast. Sometimes it boots so quickly, it’s like turning on the TV. One of the engineers on my team wanted to grab a cup of coffee, so he restarted the system. Before he was able to leave the office, he noticed that the system was already back up again. It was that fast! It does cut down on coffee runs for our team, but I can live with that.”

Smaller Footprint and Lower Costs

“Our previous infrastructure used to fill three full racks, and now we have one rack that’s only partially full,” Zarghami noted. “That results in a lot of power savings for the organization. And since we also went with AHV, we didn’t have to renew our VMware licenses and are saving tens of thousands of dollars in annual license fees.”

Easier Snapshots and Faster Restores

“We really like the ability to take daily snapshots with Nutanix Guest Tools (NGT),” explained Zarghami. “It works so well that we no longer need our previous backup system. Now if one of our end users is missing a file, we can just go back to yesterday’s snapshot, open it, and immediately find the missing file. NGT makes us into IT heroes!”

NEXT STEPS

ECSU is currently using the Microsoft Azure cloud for some of its workloads. “One of our projects on the horizon is implementing backup in Azure, and Nutanix can us with that,” explained Zarghami. “If I’m going to utilize a third-party cloud, I want the engine to be the same as what we are using in-house. Nutanix already has our trust for our on-prem deployments, and we’d rather rely on Nutanix in the public cloud as well. We don’t want to introduce another technology that may or may not be fully compatible with what we currently have. We plan on taking an organic approach, putting everything we can on Nutanix going forward.”

A Great Vendor Relationship

“Another thing that sets Nutanix apart from other vendors is their approach to the customer relationship,” concluded Zarghami. “They aren’t as flamboyant as some of their competitors during the initial conversations, with elaborate marketing presentations. The Nutanix engineer went over his PowerPoint slides with us and showed us how exactly it worked. He was able to quickly understand our needs, recommend the right solution, and deliver accordingly. Nutanix doesn’t try to oversell equipment upfront like some of the other vendors. They only sell what we need today, but told us if our environment grows, they could quickly scale the solution. The Nutanix business approach is very honest, straightforward, and ethical, and their solutions are among the best in the industry.”

We no longer have to plan ahead to deal with growth in unstructured data or the rollout of new applications,” said Davis. “We can size workloads on the fly with the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud and quickly add resources to meet the needs of a production as they ramp up – just as with AWS or Azure but at a much lower cost and on our own terms.

Daniel Davis, Infrastructure Manager, Endemol Shine UK