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Case Study December 17, 2019

Manufacturer Forges a Path to the Cloud

Many established organizations have relied on the IBM Power Systems platform for decades. They’ve trusted it to serve the reliability, security, and performance needs of their mission-critical business systems. However, it’s getting more difficult for many of these organizations to find and retain in-house IBM Power Systems expertise.

The Challenge

That was the case with a midsized electronics manufacturer we work with. Based in the US, their supply chain extends around the world. When they first reached out to us, they were housing their ERP application in IBM i systems located in an on-premises data center.

But, finding qualified IBM system administration talent was getting difficult. What staff they did have was better suited for other areas, such as managing the ERP system and other supply chain applications. They also had a MIMIX disaster recovery solution, but it took a lot of resources to manage and ate up a lot of the in-house IT team’s capacity.

They needed a different approach to their IT infrastructure and management solution: one that would allow them to leverage the talents of their current staff while improving the governance of their systems. They also wanted a disaster recovery solution that was more affordable and easier to manage. They decided to look for a managed services provider that could help them meet their objectives.

The Solution

Different organizations take different paths to the cloud. This manufacturer didn’t have deep cloud expertise, so they decided they “didn’t know what they didn’t know.” Instead of making the leap to the cloud, they contracted with Connectria to manage their IBM i systems remotely. This included managing the organization’s MIMIX disaster recovery systems.

Eventually, though, they tired of paying the high cost of hardware maintenance and hardware refreshes. They had already worked with Connectria engineers and their remote management services for a couple of years, so they were completely comfortable with their IBM i expertise. Migrating mission-critical workloads to a Connectria private, hosted cloud seemed like a natural next step.

At the same time, Connectria worked with the organization to help them upgrade their disaster recovery strategy to one that would cost less, but still meet their recovery goals. This meant housing their failover site in a Connectria data center near enough to visit, but not so close that it would risk their business continuity in the event of a disaster. Connectria also upgraded them from a MIMIX DR solution to SAN-to-SAN replication.

The Results

Connectria’s IBM cloud hosting solution helped the manufacturer improve its IT cost structure. Some of these savings were minor (but important) such as the $3K saved every year on electric bills. The greatest savings were in hardware capital expenses, ongoing maintenance, reduced headcount, and the lower-cost disaster recovery solution. In the final analysis, the company
estimates they save about $800K a year.

They’ve also been able to more closely monitor the performance of their systems using the TRiA cloud management platform. This tool was developed by Connectria and is available commercially, but it is provided free of charge to all Connectria’s managed cloud customers. Using TRiA’s
automation capabilities, Connectria and the organization’s in-house IT manager closely monitor resource utilization rates. TRiA alerts them when specific resources pass defined thresholds.

Next Steps

This organization is content to rest where they are for a while, so we’ll be working with them to ensure their systems are running at peak performance, their data is secure, and their disaster recovery solution is ready if and when they need it.

Other organizations that have followed a similar path continue down the multicloud route. Often this means housing solutions in a public cloud and integrating those workloads back to systems (typically ERP) housed in a private cloud. We architected our Managed IBM Cloud with AWS and
Azure specifically for this type of scenario.

But, whatever the future holds for this manufacturer, Connectria will be ready to help them meet the needs of their organization and their customers.

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