Academica Oy finds cloud is the way to grow


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Learn about how Academica Oy finds cloud is the way to grow by offering smarter customer services with help from IBM and ICT Group Oy. To know more about Pure systems, visit

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Academica Oy finds cloud is the way to grow

  1. 1. IBM Systems and Technology Computer ServicesCase Study Academica Oy finds cloud is the way to grow Offering smarter customer services with help from IBM and ICT Group Oy With 60 employees and an annual turnover of $19 million, Academica is one of the leading managed service providers (MSP) in Finland, Overview specializing in managed and co-location services, consulting, and The need support. Leading Finnish managed service provider Academica wanted to support business growth and offer its customers Gaining capacity for growth the freedom to provision their own virtual Academica wanted to gain the ability to grow its business, but its environments. legacy systems were too complex and costly to scale out effectively. The solution The company’s most popular services are cloud hosting – including file Implemented a private cloud based on an hosting, virtual desktop services, and virtual server hosting. IBM Flex System™ solution with nodes running Citrix XenServer and connected Kalle Koski, Data Centre Manager at Academica, explains: “As the to an IBM® XIV® Storage System. number of cloud customers we serve grew, it became more difficult to The benefit optimize the utilization of our physical server and storage resources A self-service web portal empowers when provisioning new environments. Additionally, exploding volumes customers to provision their own servers and storage online. Expected to of customer data were rapidly pushing our legacy servers and storage accommodate business growth over ten towards capacity. We realized that if we did not develop a cost-effective years. Reduced maintenance workload by way to scale out our environment, we might be forced to turn away new 30 percent. business.” Following a full review of the existing infrastructure, Academica determined that it could greatly improve the manageability and scalability of its environment by refreshing its hardware with an enterprise-class private cloud solution. As the company’s customers use Citrix XenClient to connect to their virtual environments, it was vital that the new solution was compatible with XenServer hypervisor technology. Increasing access granularity Academica also wanted to empower its customers to provision and de-provision storage independently. “In the past, we used the iSCSI network protocol to facilitate data transfers,” says Koski. “This protocol did not support the security features we needed to enhance our customer services.
  2. 2. IBM Systems and Technology Computer ServicesCase Study “We wanted to move to a Fibre Channel storage network that would support a fine granularity of access to storage management options Solution Components – offering our customers the ability to securely provision storage Hardware resources themselves rather than by calling our customer service • IBM Flex System™ department.” • IBM® System Storage® DCS3700 • IBM XIV® Storage System Choosing a scalable solution Software After visiting the IBM Mainz Briefing center in Germany to see a • I BM Flex System Manager™ • Citrix XenServer demonstration of Citrix XenServer on IBM Flex System and IBM XIV technology, Academica engaged IBM to design and deploy a private Services cloud infrastructure. IBM Global Financing facilitated the cloud • IBM Global Financing solution by enabling Academica to spread payments over 36 months, IBM Business Partner with no payments until after a six month deferral. Engaging IBM • ICT Group Oy Global Financing allowed Academica to accelerate the implementation of the project. “We were extremely impressed by the straightforward scalability of the Flex System nodes and XIV storage system,” says Koski. “Today, when we need to add new storage or compute capacity, we can simply connect an additional Flex System node or XIV system, and the system will do the bulk of the configuration work automatically. Whenever we do need to perform a manual configuration task, IBM Flex System Manager™ software enables us to manage both software and hardware resources from a single interface.” Working with IBM and IBM Business Partner ICT Group, the company implemented seven IBM Flex System x240 nodes, each with 256 GB of main memory. These are connected through a Fibre Channel SAN to an IBM XIV Storage System; with an IBM System Storage® DCS3700 array functioning as a high-speed backup and tier- two storage utility. Koski comments: “Thanks to the modular design of the Flex System and support from ICT Group, the implementation of the private cloud environment went very smoothly – every stage was completed on time and within budget.” Reducing IT management workload Since installing its IBM solution, Academica has experienced a dramatic improvement in system performance and ease of manageability. “The IBM Flex System Manager interface is so intuitive that it feels like we’ve been using it for a lot longer than we have,” says Koski. “Because our IT team can manage all server and storage resources through a single interface, we’ve reduced the IT management workload by 30 percent, freeing our IT team to focus on more valuable activities. We have also experienced a 20 percent boost in our system performance – translating into a better service to customers.”
  3. 3. IBM Systems and Technology Computer ServicesCase Study Secure future in the cloud Academica’s private cloud solution has enabled the high level of security “The IBM Flex System the company needs to continue to ensure the resiliency and high Manager interface is so availability of its hosting services. intuitive that it feels like “Our data is our business,” says Koski, “Because of this, it was vital we’ve been using it for a that we chose a storage solution that would enable us to protect our lot longer than we have. mission-critical customer data. The IBM XIV delivers on this, raising Because our IT team a support ticket with IBM automatically whenever the system requires maintenance. We have been extremely impressed with the excellent can manage all server level of service from IBM, and the robustness of the XIV platform.” and storage resources through a single interface, By switching from standard storage disks on iSCSI to IBM XIV on a Fibre Channel SAN, Academica has gained better network isolation we’ve reduced the IT than was possible in the past, enabling a finer granularity of network management workload access, and greater overall security. Building on this functionality, the by 30 percent, freeing our company is developing a self-service portal for customers. IT team to focus on more Koski comments: “When deployed, our web portal will give our valuable activities.” customers the ability to self-provision services on multiple different servers, and choose between varying grades of service level agreements —Kalle Koski, Data Centre Manager, Academica depending on their individual requirements. This new functionality will help us win new customers while boosting satisfaction among our existing clients.” Looking ahead Working with IBM, Academica has gained the capacity to grow its business in a private cloud, expected to serve the company’s needs for at least the next ten years. “We are already planning the deployment of a second Flex System and XIV array at another of our Helsinki data centers,” concludes Koski. “By continuing our strong collaboration with IBM, we are well-placed to further improve performance and develop our service offering as the business grows.” For more information To learn more about IBM Flex System solutions, contact your IBM sales representative or visit:
  4. 4. © Copyright IBM Corporation 2012IBM CorporationSystems and Technology GroupRoute 100Somers, NY 10589Produced in the United States of AmericaDecember 2012IBM, the IBM logo,, IBM Flex System, IBM Flex System Manager, SystemStorage and XIV are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registeredin many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might betrademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is availableon the web at: document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changedby IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBMoperates.The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actualperformance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operatingconditions.THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS”WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDINGWITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FORA PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OFNON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms andconditions of the agreements under which they are provided. Please Recycle WZC12346-FIEN-00