A highly resilient data centre, fundamental to a major infrastructure project
In 2006, Aspire Defence Limited won the largest infrastructure private finance initiative (PFI) ever let by the Ministry of Defence: Project Allenby/Connaught (PAC). Under the 35-year contract, PAC is improving soldiers' quality of life through the provision of modern, high-quality, fully serviced and purpose-built living and working accommodation. Aspire Defence Services Limited (ADSL) delivers wide-ranging facilities management services for the contract, including catering, cleaning, transport, estate management, document production and handling, stores, and waste disposal.
Ideal first met with ADSL in June 2014 for discussions regarding a total refresh of its WAN, voice infrastructure and managed security environment. In March 2015 Ideal won this business from the incumbent, Vodafone.
Crucial to ADSL’s ability to deliver and manage services under Project Allenby/Connaught would be Project Springboard: an ambitious enterprise resource planning (ERP) project in its own right. Critical requirements for the success of Springboard included the provision of a hosted infrastructure that would combine low latency with extremely high availability.
Impressed by the quality of Ideal’s response to its earlier tender process, ADSL engaged it in discussions regarding this hosted infrastructure. In June 2015 ADSL issued a RFP in which potential partners were invited to design an infrastructure solution to satisfy the project’s demanding specifications for robustness and performance - service availability would be at the foundation of the resulting contract.
In July 2015, Ideal was awarded the contract to build and manage the data centre infrastructure required for Project Springboard.
ADSL’s data centre would be fundamental to a huge project, so it needed to be rock-solid. We created a high-end design with multiple redundancies: performance is paramount, with resilience at each level so that no system has a single point of failure. To protect against a site disaster, two identical infrastructures are hosted in two separate locations - it’s the perfect foundation for Springboard.
Daren Vallyon, Ideal solutions architect
The innovative, highly robust solution involved the design and build of dual secure data centres on two sites. Each incorporates NetApp storage, Cisco Nexus switches and a Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) server platform within a FlexPod design. The Cisco-validated, large-enterprise-grade architecture was specified as it would scale better and offer higher resilience than other multi-vendor solutions, while the unique dual-resilient design ensured that the system availability would exceed ADSL’s stringent requirements. This solution also allowed ADSL to rationalise its database licences, providing additional scope for cost savings.
With a need to provide an optimised infrastructure for the ERP application, ADSL also engaged Ideal to upgrade its end-of-life LAN switches, and increase its LAN backbone from 1 Gb/s to 10 Gb/s.
Ideal has completed the project deployment. The data centres’ extremely high performance and availability is providing ADSL with the required business continuity, and minimising its risks for Project Springboard.
Now that the core infrastructure is in place, Ideal is working with ADSL to explore how its full performance can be leveraged to support new applications, and to upgrade and refresh legacy solutions. By taking advantage of shared infrastructure from Project Springboard in the form of Cisco Nexus switches and Cisco Fabric Interconnects, for example, Ideal is helping ADSL realise the maximum return from its investment.
The customer is also engaged with Ideal to evaluate an upgrade to Cisco Unified Communications Manager, which would enhance its existing enterprise-class IP telephony system with a richer feature set to support Project Allenby/Connaught.
Ideal’s status as both a NetApp Gold Partner and a Cisco Premier Partner with Advanced Data Centre Architecture specialisation ensures that it has the appropriate level of expertise, training and resources to design and implement highly robust, FlexPod data centre solutions. In this way, ADSL’s IT team could work with a single partner to achieve end-to-end visibility across its entire estate. Furthermore, ADSL understood that working with Ideal to review its data centre infrastructure would allow it to streamline its IT management through a simplified and unified managed services wrap, with the key architectures intermeshed.
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