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Altares supports business innovation with IBM BladeCenter

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Part of the international Dun & Bradstreet network, Altares provides …

Part of the international Dun & Bradstreet network, Altares provides
business information on more than 7.7 million companies in France
and more than 180 million companies worldwide. As the leading
provider of inter-business knowledge in France, Altares gives its clients
vital information on the businesses they engage with – whether they
are clients, prospects or suppliers – helping them make better business
decisions. Altares employs approximately 300 people in France and has
20 years of experience.

Published in Technology , Business
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  • 1. IBM Systems & Technology Group Professional ServicesSmarter Computing Altares supports business innovation with IBM BladeCenter Succeeding with smarter computing from IBM Part of the international Dun & Bradstreet network, Altares provides Overview business information on more than 7.7 million companies in France and more than 180 million companies worldwide. As the leading The need provider of inter-business knowledge in France, Altares gives its clients Support rapid growth in number and variety of business systems while vital information on the businesses they engage with – whether they overcoming physical constraints on space are clients, prospects or suppliers – helping them make better business and cooling in data centers. Create an decisions. Altares employs approximately 300 people in France and has infrastructure capable of scaling and 20 years of experience. adapting to new requirements without downtime or loss of performance. Driving data analysis The solution Altares built a new virtualized Altares’ business depends on its ability to rapidly assimilate and infrastructure running on IBM® analyze large volumes of data on global companies, then present it in BladeCenter® servers, with Intel Xeon different ways to meet the varied needs of its broad client base. The processors, and consolidated 175 company’s IT infrastructure and applications naturally play a key role physical servers to just 24 blades. The infrastructure is split between two data in its business operations. Yann de Pontbriand, Director of IT and centers for added resilience. Operations at Altares, explains: “Our information system enables us to The benefit take raw information and, by refining it, supply high-value information More compact and energy-efficient in support of better decision making.” infrastructure delivers significant CapEx and OpEx savings; rapid To enable faster time-to-market for new services and to reduce its provisioning of new virtualized servers operational costs, Altares wanted to move away from a one-application- and orchestration of existing resources enables Altares to respond faster to per-physical-server model. Equally, the lease on one of its existing new revenue opportunities; reduced data centers was coming to an end, meaning that the company manual administration frees up skilled needed to rationalize its infrastructure so that it could be housed in a IT employees to focus on value-add services. smaller space. For all of these reasons, the existing infrastructure was increasingly unable to meet the company’s present requirements or support its future growth. Altares considered proposals from several major vendors before choosing to work with Overlap, an IBM Premier Business Partner, on the deployment of an IBM BladeCenter solution with VMware virtualization to replace its existing competitive hardware. Christophe Le Caignec, IT Director at Altares, comments: “Our IT infrastructure was no longer fit for the challenges we faced or for the new strategic direction of the company. We needed to virtualize the server landscape in order to create a more compact, efficient, flexible and responsive platform to support business services.”
  • 2. IBM Systems & Technology Group Professional ServicesSmarter Computing Selecting IBM BladeCenter technology Designed for Data In the initial deployment phase, Altares invested in eight IBM • Altares generates, analyzes and presents BladeCenter HS21 blades configured as two 4-node clusters of huge volumes of continually changing VMware ESX Server and split between two different data centers. data on millions of companies. The IBM BladeCenter and VMware ESX Server Subsequently, the company has expanded the BladeCenter footprint solution enables high-performance and increased its capabilities without needing to rearchitect the analytics and extremely reliable reporting solution; the future-proof nature of the IBM solution was a major to a demanding set of clients. selling point. Tuned to the Task • Altares consolidated 175 standalone “The IBM BladeCenter solution enabled us to migrate our existing servers to 24 IBM BladeCenter servers. The new virtualized infrastructure enables systems to run as virtual machines on VMware,” says Christophe Le new business servers to be created with Caignec. “To date, we have virtualized around 75 percent of our legacy precisely the required characteristics servers – 175 servers in total – to just 24 IBM blades. And in doing so, (performance, memory, I/O) and on the we have significantly improved their performance and stability while most appropriate processor architecture for the task. hugely reducing our operational costs.” Managed in the Cloud Altares now has two IBM BladeCenter H chassis with a total of 12 • On its journey to a full private cloud, Altares has deployed a heterogeneous single-socket HS21 blades, and 12 2-socket HS22 blades. The VMware technology platform controlled with a virtual servers boot from the SAN, and all operating system images single set of integrated management are replicated between the two sites to provide resilience and rapid tools. Administrators can orchestrate recovery in the event of a disaster at one site. The company also existing virtual servers or create new ones to meet new requirements without uses an IBM Power 570 server with IBM POWER6 processors. The needing to think about the underlying Power 570 hosts business applications running virtualized on IBM i. physical resources. Driving Innovation To minimize disruption during the initial deployment, Altares engaged • By providing a resilient and flexible IBM Global Technology Services – Integrated Technology Services to platform for the creation of new handle the migration from the old data center and the set-up of the new information systems, the IBM BladeCenter solution at Altares is BladeCenter environment. “The IBM team was able to perform the helping the company respond to new move quickly, minimizing downtime and allowing Altares to continue opportunities for revenue generation. By with its daily operations,” says Christophe le Caignec. orchestrating existing virtual resources, the company can deliver new services to clients rapidly and at low incremental The new infrastructure runs virtualized Microsoft® Windows® and cost. Linux servers on the Intel® processor based hardware (HS21, HS22), as well as IBM i servers on the IBM Power architecture. Cutting down on IT costs Moving to the new IBM infrastructure delivered immediate tangible cost benefits for Altares. Instead of 175 standalone physical servers, the company now has just 24 servers to power, cool and manage. The new solution takes up just 33 percent of the floor space occupied by the legacy solution, translating directly into significant savings. As well as cutting ongoing operational costs, the consolidated server infrastructure has far lower capital costs than the previous landscape – so Altares will spend considerably less than it used to each time it refreshes its hardware. Equally, as the company expands its services and reaches out to new clients, it will no longer need to invest in a new standalone server for each new requirement. Instead, it will simply fire up new virtual machines on the existing hardware – and any new physical servers it deploys will potentially run dozens of different applications rather than just one. “The virtualized IBM infrastructure enables us to do more with less: using a small set of physical resources to provide a large set of virtual
  • 3. IBM Systems & Technology Group Professional ServicesSmarter Computing services to the business,” comments Christophe le Caignec. “The solution has also brought operational benefits to our internal teams, Solution Components who can now carry out maintenance work during the day without Software disrupting business services. This is possible because live virtual • IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager servers can be moved from one physical machine to another with no • IBM InfoSphere® Optim™ • VMware Infrastructure Enterprise downtime.” • VMware Virtual Center • VMware View The high performance and reliability of IBM BladeCenter enable • VMware Site Recovery Manager Altares to analyze and report on vast amounts of company data. IBM Servers Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus provides a supervision layer, which helps • IBM BladeCenter® H chassis the company meet demanding SLAs with major clients such as large • IBM BladeCenter HS21 banks, insurance companies and government bodies. And with fewer, • IBM BladeCenter HS22 • IBM Power® 570 more reliable servers to manage, the IT team has seen a sharp drop in the number of service incidents, freeing up skilled technicians to work IBM Business Partner on other value-add activities. Altares also uses IBM InfoSphere Optim • Overlap technology to simplify and accelerate the management of data, and in particular to refresh test and development environments. “The virtualized IBM Thanks to VMware virtualization on IBM BladeCenter, Altares can choose precisely the right platform to serve each new business infrastructure enables us requirement. “The solution gives us all the advantages of a to do more with less: using heterogeneous infrastructure, but with the same simple management a small set of physical that we would have for a homogeneous infrastructure,” comments Christophe le Caignec. “We can create virtual server templates that are resources to provide optimized to meet different kinds of requirements, then rapidly deploy a large set of virtual new systems based on these as soon as the business needs them. The services to the business.” ability to provision new test and development landscapes on demand and at practically zero incremental cost helps us support major new — Christophe Le Caignec, IT Director, Altares business projects.” Using the built-in BladeCenter management software together with VMware tools, Altares can control the entire landscape of virtual servers in an intuitive manner, without needing to worry about the underlying complexity. New virtual machines can be created within minutes, and existing services can be orchestrated to meet emerging business opportunities at very high speed. “Our positive experience so far with the IBM solution has made us keen to push further,” says Christophe Le Caignec. “We are currently working on new business continuity initiatives for our critical applications. These will take advantage of virtualized servers and replicated storage to enable extremely rapid recovery. In the near future, the solution will evolve into a true private cloud, serving both internal needs and the needs of clients.” For more information To learn more about smarter computing from IBM and how we can help you integrate, automate, protect and transform your IT, contact your IBM sales representative or IBM business partner, or visit: ibm.com/smartercomputing
  • 4. © Copyright IBM Corporation 2011IBM FranceCentre Relations Clients110 boulevard de la SalleF-45760 Boigny-sur-BionneFranceProduced in FranceNovember 2011All Rights ReservedIBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Tivoli, InfoSphere, Optim, BladeCenter andSystem Storage are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation,registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBMtrademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information”at: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml.Intel, the Intel logo, and Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/orother countries.Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, othercountries, or both.Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are trademarks ofMicrosoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not implythat IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Anyreference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that onlyIBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product,program or service may be used instead.All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM productsand the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performancecharacteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations andconditions.IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts.In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previouslyinstalled. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply.This publication is for general guidance only.Photographs may show design models. Please Recycle BLC03071-FREN-01