Improving business services through the use of a next generation converged infrastructure

Project Summary

Transformation project to provide improved business services through the use of a next generation converged infrastructure.

Setting the Scene

RNIB is a charity and membership body for blind people and those with sight problems. The organisation provides a range of support, advice and products to enable anyone affected by sight loss to remain independent. Fundraising represents the lifeblood of the RNIB and the organisation’s IT system plays a critical role in the awareness generation and delivery of its services.

The Challenge

RNIB had a legacy NetApp storage system and Dell servers which was having a negative impact on the organisation’s ability to deliver its services. A number of upgrades had been implemented over the years but the system was proving to be inefficient and costly to maintain, despite the manufacturers attempts to provide RNIB with solutions RNIB’s fundraising potential was dependant on the system’s ability to generate demographic data for targeted marketing campaigns, accurately and efficiently.

RNIB needed a solution which would:

Increase performance

Reduce data footprint

Improve efficiency

Reduce cost

The Solution – SmartStack

A SmartStack (www.smartstack.co.uk) next generation converged infrastructure solution consisting of Nimble Storage and Cisco UCS was deployed at two sites (Peterborough and London). The new platform provides active/active business critical services from a unified platform, with increased performance, reduced management, improved operational efficiency and with a single point of support escalation for the entire stack.

The Benefits

  • Generating the insight data required for the RNIB’s fundraising campaigns now takes 4.5 hours compared to 12-15 hours for the previous IT system.
  • Total Physical Space (including London and Peterborough sites) has reduced from 2 x 42u of rack space to 2 x 3u, a reduction in space of almost 93%.
  • Reduced costs : Non disruptive capacity and performance upgrades are now an affordable option; Power consumption has been reduced by 80%; Outsourced professional IT services are no longer required for complex and time consuming configuration and upgrades of compute and storage; Increased data availability and improved DR and business continuity measures.
  • Ease of use – RNIB’s own Infrastructure team are able to provide all maintenance in house.
  • Portability – RNIB will be relocating their data centre infrastructure in the near future – the vastly simplified solution now makes this activity relatively pain free when compared to the previous multiple rack solution.

Client testimonial:

David Mould, RNIB

SmartStack does exactly what is says on the tin. To go from an idea, to gaining approval and then installation in the time taken for this solution has been a complete revelation. Its agility and scalability will have a big positive impact on supporting RNIB’s strategy of improving the lives of blind and partially sighted people in the UK. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with the team at NG-IT!