EllisDon constructs a mission-critical cloud


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"EllisDon worked with IBM to deploy a private cloud solution comprising IBM System x servers running VMware vSphere virtualization technology, with
virtualized data storage on IBM XIV Storage System. To know more about the IBM XIV Storage System, visit: http://ibm.co/PNJ7kr.

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EllisDon constructs a mission-critical cloud

  1. 1. IBM XIV Storage Systems Construction / Architecture / EngineeringCase Study EllisDon constructs a mission-critical cloud With the IBM XIV Storage System at the heart of a virtualized VMware infrastructure EllisDon is an employee-owned company, founded in London, Overview Ontario in 1951 and has grown to become a major international firm completing more than US$2 billion dollars in new construction The need The IT infrastructure at EllisDon was projects annually, with approximately US$5 billion in construction costly, difficult to manage, and was projects underway. With its executive offices in Mississauga, Ontario failing to keep pace with rapid business and regional offices across Canada and in the United States and UAE, growth, causing lost productivity due to performance bottlenecks and service EllisDon provides services in Construction Management, Project degradation. Management, Design Build, Public-Private Partnerships (P3) and General Contracting. Today, EllisDon’s long-term strategic vision The solution includes expansion into new growth markets, especially in South Worked with IBM to deploy a private cloud solution comprising America and Asia. IBM System x® servers running VMware vSphere virtualization technology, with In both geographic and financial terms, EllisDon was growing rapidly virtualized data storage on IBM XIV® Storage System. — but its IT infrastructure was unable to keep pace. In particular, performance bottlenecks in the storage environment were causing The benefit issues with key business applications, and the company was fast running Virtualization of storage and server landscapes has simplified administration, out of storage capacity. saving time, cost and effort, and increasing productivity; XIV delivers “In construction, a combination of demanding delivery schedules enormous performance gains while and employees working around the globe means that we require 24/7 cutting energy usage. availability to business information systems,” explains Joe Jagodich, Vice President and CIO, EllisDon. “By selecting the IBM XIV Storage System at the heart of our new cloud infrastructure, we’ve gained the performance and reliability that we need, together with ample scalability for the future. Equally, the solution’s unparalleled ease of management and efficiency translate into low operational costs. Choosing the XIV system is one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.” Building a brighter future EllisDon is engaged in dozens of high-profile construction projects around the globe. With operations spread over multiple time zones, and with the EllisDon team playing key roles in time-sensitive projects, the company relies on data and applications being available at all times. “High availability has become a vital business need for EllisDon,” says Scott Regier, Senior Infrastructure Analyst, Ellis Don. “Our previous storage sub-systems were making it difficult for us to keep vital
  2. 2. IBM XIV Storage Systems Construction / Architecture / EngineeringCase Study information available for project managers. Storage management was complex and time-consuming, and performance was dropping as we “We selected IBM XIV added capacity to keep up with demands from the business.” Storage System as the key enabler for the EllisDon engaged IBM to design and deploy an entirely new cloud infrastructure, based around the twin concepts of server and storage whole cloud concept. It virtualization. EllisDon’s existing servers were virtualized to run on Red allows us to get all the Hat Enterprise Linux on VMware vSphere. The VMware landscape flexibility advantages of runs on a range of IBM System x servers, including the highly scalable virtualization without IBM System x3850 model, effectively creating a private cloud solution that is managed using VMware vCenter. any performance issues: XIV and VMware fit Using VMware vSphere enables EllisDon to rapidly orchestrate its IT perfectly together.” resources to meet business requirements without making changes to the physical IT infrastructure. “To get the most out of server virtualization, especially around features such as high availability clustering and — Scott Regier, Senior Infrastructure Analyst, EllisDon fail-over, it’s vital to have shared virtualized storage,” says Regier. “We selected IBM XIV Storage System as the key enabler for the whole cloud concept. It allows us to get all the flexibility advantages of virtualization without any performance issues: XIV and VMware fit perfectly together.” Rapid migration EllisDon deployed an IBM XIV Storage System with 66 TB of usable capacity in its primary data center in London, and a second XIV storage system with 43 TB at its secondary site in Toronto. While the production XIV storage system is twice the size of the system it replaced, it consumes just 50 percent of the energy. EllisDon is using the XIV asynchronous mirroring functionality to replicate data, providing a rapid and reliable disaster recovery option. “We thought it would take weeks, with multiple downtimes, to deploy the new storage,” says Jagodich. “In fact, users saw no impact — apart from significant improvements in performance for their applications! While in production, we migrated 27 TB of data to the production XIV system in less than three days using the built-in XIV migration tool. That is just an amazingly short time-frame.” EllisDon is using the built-in thin provisioning on the XIV systems to maximize utilization of the available storage and to simplify future capacity planning, while the XIV snapshot capabilities enable extremely rapid backup and recovery. Snapshots also make it easy to clone existing virtual servers, creating new test and development environments in seconds versus days. “We’re able to take a point-in-time snapshot of data before applying any major changes,” says Regier. “If anything goes wrong, we can 2
  3. 3. IBM XIV Storage Systems Construction / Architecture / EngineeringCase Study almost instantly recover to the earlier snapshot. One great thing about IBM Solution Components: the XIV system is that all this software — for migration, replication, thin provisioning, snapshots, performance monitoring — comes as Hardware standard with the solution, so we don’t need to pick and choose which • IBM® System x® • IBM XIV® Storage System software we can afford based on our projects — it’s all included.” Software Freeing the business to grow • IBM DB2® • Lotus Notes® With IBM XIV Storage System, EllisDon has gained the performance, availability and scalability it needs to meet the challenges of global expansion today and into the future. “By selecting IBM XIV “With the XIV system, as you add disks, you also add memory and Storage System at the controllers, and you increase performance,” says Regier. “As we grow, there are no longer any constraints on the IT side.” heart of our new cloud infrastructure, we’ve With the previous storage infrastructure, making changes to storage gained the performance volumes or deploying new servers was difficult and time-consuming. The introduction of XIV Storage System has dramatically simplified and reliability that we storage administration. “What used to take days now typically takes need, together with ample minutes — the IBM solution has freed us to focus on tasks that deliver scalability for the future.” more value to the business,” says Regier. “Anybody that asks me about the XIV system, ‘Is it as good as they say it is?’ — I say, ‘It is even better’. Whether you’re thinking about administration, performance, — Joe Jagodich, Vice President and CIO, EllisDon capacity growth, all the aspects of a traditional storage system are much better with the XIV solution.” Extending the business IT Environment The flexibility provided by the combination of VMware vSphere and Operating systems IBM XIV Storage System has enabled EllisDon to extend cloud-based • Red Hat Enterprise Linux services to external collaborators. “Many of the general contractors we • Microsoft Windows Server work with lack the IT budget to have an in-house application running Virtualization in a client/server environment,” says Jagodich. “We can now create • VMware vSphere private hosted environments quickly and cost-effectively, delivering the application to them as a cloud-based service. This includes complete security and isolation for their data, thanks to the built-in role-based security on the XIV systems.” The XIV storage systems are also key enablers for EllisDon’s rollout of new 3D business modeling systems. These require large amounts of data storage and high performance — both of which the XIV storage systems provide in abundance. “Selecting the XIV Storage System was a great decision,” says Jagodich. “The reason is the innovative architecture, which is second to none. EllisDon loves innovation: applying the XIV technology to our environment enhanced our ability to deliver services to our stakeholders and our customers, and made company information much more readily available.” 3
  4. 4. For more informationContact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visitus at: ibm.com/storage/disk/xiv/For more information about EllisDon, visit www.ellisdon.com© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011IBM Systems and Technology GroupRoute 100Somers, New York 10589U.S.A.Produced in the United States of AmericaOctober 2011All Rights ReservedIBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, System x and XIV are trademarks of InternationalBusiness Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries or both. Ifthese and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence inthis information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S.registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this informationwas published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarksin other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at“Copyright and trademark information” at www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtmlLinux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, othercountries, or both. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo aretrademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks ofothers.References in this publication to IBM products or services do not imply that IBMintends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates. Offerings aresubject to change, extension or withdrawal without notice. All client examples citedrepresent how some clients have used IBM products and the results they may haveachieved.The information in this document is provided “as-is” without any warranty, eitherexpressed or implied. Please Recycle TSC03146-USEN-00