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Global Knowledge Reduces Storage TCO by 75%: Case Study

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Global Knowledge sought to develop an e-learning business model for technology training, so it created a virtual lab with Dell PowerEdge and Dell Compellent systems.

Global Knowledge sought to develop an e-learning business model for technology training, so it created a virtual lab with Dell PowerEdge and Dell Compellent systems.

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  • 1. Global Knowledge reduces Customer profilestorage TCO by 75% Company Global Knowledge Training LLC Industry Technology Country United States Employees 1,300 Web site globalknowledge.com Challenge Global Knowledge needed to avoid the cost and hassle of shipping tons of equipment around the world to provide technology training classes. Solution The company has developed an e-learning business model with virtual computer labs accessed through the Internet using Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers and Dell Compellent Storage Center SANs with Dell Fluid Data™ architecture. Benefits • Deferring 40% of disk purchase, with savings of $40,000, using thin provisioning • 75% reduction of storage TCO with automated tiered storage • Avoidance of 10-fold increase in capital expenditures with server virtualization“We’re developing a server pool solution that • Elimination of shipping costs with e-learning business model enables us to dynamically allocate servers • Repurposing servers in off-peak periods with Xsigo based on the training needs from week Application areas to week. This significantly improves the • Cloud Computing efficiency and use of server investments.” • Financial Services • Intelligent Data ManagementAndy Hart, Senior Director, E-Learning Infrastructure, Global Knowledge • OEM Solutions • Virtual Desktop • Virtualization
  • 2. The demand for the latest information technology and for skilled engineers trained to use it has created a global market for IT training. Learning providers serve a market worth an estimated $57 billion worldwide with courses on networks, servers, storage and software. Global Knowledge Training LLC (Global contain costs by using the Internet as a Knowledge) is a leader in this market. delivery mechanism for virtual computer Based in Cary, North Carolina and with labs. “We led the way on using the cloud 1,300 employees worldwide, Global before the term was even widely used,” Knowledge’s core training is focused says Hart. The company virtualized on technologies from Cisco, Microsoft, servers using Dell PowerEdge servers VMware, Avaya, Red Hat and Citrix. and developed a business model for The company offers more than 1,200 e-learning, using Dell PowerEdge R610 courses through training centers in the servers with Intel Xeon processors 5600 North America, Europe, Middle East, series virtualized with VMware. “Since East Africa, Latin America and Asia/ we run on average 10 virtual servers “Dell listens Pacific regions. Global Knowledge per physical server, virtualization has delivers approximately 3,500 sessions prevented a ten-fold increase in capital to our needs, per year to about 40,000 students expenditures,” says Hart. understands our through its remote labs. “We have over 800 Dell servers, most of issues and they Founded in 1995, Global Knowledge which we dedicate to individual pods,” started by delivering equipment to says Hart. “A pod is a set of networking work with us.” its training centers where it provides classes. “A few years after we started Andy Hart, Senior Director, up, we were shipping over 100 tons of Technology at work E-Learning Infrastructure, equipment per week from our shipping Solutions Global Knowledge facility into training centers,” says Andy Hart, senior director e-learning Dell™ Financial Services infrastructure, Global Knowledge. “The Xsigo I/O Director equipment included network devices, servers and security devices. Each class Hardware required specific configurations, so we Dell Compellent Storage Center would construct a custom hardware SANs with Dell Fluid Data™ solution for that class and send it over. technology This created setup and tear down issues. It took about a day and a half to set Dell PowerEdge™ R610 servers up a classroom. If equipment arrived with Intel® Xeon® processors broken or if it was stolen, there would be further delays.” Software Dell Compellent Data Saving seven-figure costs with Progression virtualization and cloud computing Dell Compellent Dynamic As Global Knowledge struggled with Capacity its logistics issues, it became apparent to the company’s management that Dell Compellent QuickStart ILM it could better maintain margins and2
  • 3. gear and servers that students use “The Global Knowledge financial teamto do their training on. This includes works to get the options they needrouters, switches, firewalls and security to make the best decisions for theappliances networked to an individual company,” says Hart. “That’s easy forhost server running server and desktop them to do with Dell Financial Services.”images on a virtual platform.” Global Knowledge was looking to replace Global Knowledge standardized on its legacy Fibre Channel storage. “We Dell servers for its e-learning operations needed a storage solution so that we because it knew the technology would could boot any server via SAN and meet its needs right out of the box. But the reason went beyond the reliability load any image at any given time,” says Hart. “To do that, we needed an external “I don’t have to be and performance of the technology. central storage solution. Our primary wary of purchasing“A good vendor relationship is formed requirements for storage were thin around the meeting of expectations,” provisioning to save money on disk space something that says Hart. “The relationship we formed with Dell and the service that Dell and general cost effectiveness, which narrowed our choices down to Dell doesn’t meet my provides are the reasons that we and another vendor. We selected Dell requirements. I standardized on Dell after experimenting Compellent because of its automated with other vendors. Dell listens to our tiered storage with Dell Compellent can sleep at night needs, understands our issues and they work with us. This said, Dell is also Data Progression and thin provisioning with Dell Compellent Dynamic Capacity. without worrying expanding its offerings across the board, These features working together result that I might putting itself in a very good position in better disk utilization.” to compete beyond just servers and waste CAPEX desktops with the recent addition of Dell Compellent and its relationship Hart appreciates the automated tiering of data which moves more frequently dollars. I have the with Xsigo Systems.” used data to the high-performance confidence I need drives and pushes less frequently usedSaving money on disk space data to higher-capacity, lower-cost to move forwardRecently Global Knowledge deployedDell Compellent Storage Center SANs drives. “We’ve reduced storage TCO by 75 percent with Dell Compellent and the power towith Dell Fluid Data technology to automated tiered storage,” says Hart. do more thanksprovide centralized storage for itse-learning production environments, Improving server utilization to Dell. That’s hugeand its development and testingenvironments. The Dell Compellent Global Knowledge also purchased Xsigo I/O Director, a virtual network fabric to me.”SANs have 600 gigabyte 10K Serial solution that accelerates and simplifiesAttached SCSI (SAS) hard drives on data center management tasks, through Andy Hart, Senior Director,the first tier and 2 terabyte SAS drives Dell. Hart has used the solution to get E-Learning Infrastructure,as second tier. The company also more utilization out of servers during Global Knowledgepurchased Dell Compellent QuickStart slower periods of the year. “We buildILM, a turnkey Storage Center bundle enough pods to support our busiestincluding the necessary hardware season, which means our servers areand software to easily implement an underutilized throughout the rest ofautomated tiered storage solution. the year,” says Hart. “Using Xsigo, we can repurpose those servers to teachGlobal Knowledge leased some of the VMware, Citrix and Microsoft. We SAN-equipment and bought some outright, boot those servers to the appropriateworking through Dell Financial Services. platform and dynamically adjust the3
  • 4. system profile and network fabric based Knowledge environment that Dellon our needs for that week. We’re engineers can access remotely todeveloping a server pool solution that demonstrate equipment.enables us to dynamically allocateservers based on the training needs Hart feels that this collaborativefrom week to week. This significantly relationship and the meeting ofimproves the efficiency and use of expectations are the most prizedserver investments.” benefits Global Knowledge has realized from working with Dell.Global Knowledge has come a long “I don’t have to be wary of purchasingway from the days when it was shipping something that doesn’t meet mytons of equipment to provide training requirements,” says Hart. “I canclasses all over the world. Recently, sleep at night without worryingDell realized that it had a similar problem. that I might waste CAPEX dollars.It was shipping or carrying equipment I have the confidence I need to moveto make presentations to customers forward and the power to do moreall over the region. Global Knowledge thanks to Dell. That’s huge to me.”helped Dell build labs in the GlobalView all Dell case studies at dell.com/casestudies Availability and terms of Dell Services vary by region. For more information, visit dell.com/servicedescriptions © November 2011. Intel and Intel Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States or other4 countries. This case study is for informational purposes only. Dell makes no warranties - express or implied - in this case study. Reference number 10009941