4-page Partner Case Study
Posted: 10/4/2013
316
Rate This Evidence:

Convergent Computing IT Consultant Delivers Flexible, Hybrid Cloud Computing and 50 Percent Lower Costs

Convergent Computing (CCO) helps enterprise companies operate their IT infrastructures more efficiently and strategically. It recommends the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system and Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 data center solutions to customers who want to implement a flexible hybrid cloud environment, save money, and give employees the freedom to use personal devices for work. CCO customers use Microsoft cloud software to build private cloud environments in their own data centers, then move workloads between on-premises servers and Windows Azure. This gives them unprecedented flexibility and agility and up to 50 percent lower costs. By using data security and device management improvements in Microsoft cloud software, CCO customers can empower their employees to use personal devices at work without concern for data security.

Situation
Established in 1986, Convergent Computing (CCO) has more than 65 consultants and experts that help midsize and large organizations architect, implement, migrate, and support on-premises, cloud-based, and hybrid cloud networking environments. CCO is a member of the Microsoft Partner Network and has Gold competencies in five disciplines.

In its role as IT consultant for enterprise companies, CCO hears the same issues from CEOs: they want to move into cloud computing; they are under tremendous pressure to deliver better service at lower cost; and they need to find ways to more securely support the “consumerization of IT”—employees bringing personal computing devices into work.

“Our customers understand the benefits of cloud computing and want to use it, but they do not want to throw away the investment they’ve made in on-premises technology,” says Rand Morimoto, President of Convergent Computing. “They want to make optimal use of existing resources but ‘stretch’ to the cloud when it makes sense. Most cloud service providers let you move workloads into their public cloud, but it’s a one-way street; there’s no way to convert workloads back to on-premises.”

Cloud computing delivers both business agility and lower costs, the second big executive mandate. CEOs tell Morimoto that IT services need to be as good as, if not better than, the services delivered yesterday but less expensive. The only way to reduce costs is to continue to virtualize servers and automate IT management processes.

*
* Customers understand the value of hybrid cloud computing. If the cloud doesn’t work out, they can easily move workloads back on-premises. Microsoft delivers the easiest way to do this right now. *

Rand Morimoto
President, Convergent Computing

*
Better support for user-owned devices is the third big concern that CCO hears repeatedly. Organizations have to enable a variety of personal devices at work. These devices improve productivity and employee satisfaction by letting employees work on the go using their favorite tablets and smartphones. But companies are worried about managing these devices and also controlling the data on them. “The concern is that employees put company data on their iPads and in public file-sharing environments such as Dropbox, but when an employee is terminated, those documents remain on devices and public file systems that the company doesn’t own.”

Solution
When Microsoft announced the Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 management tools, Convergent Computing saw advanced technology that would help customers address all three pain points. Customers can use Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 to build private cloud environments on-premises and connect their private cloud to Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud-computing platform. A cloud environment that bridges private and public clouds is called a hybrid cloud. A private cloud is a flexible pool of dynamically configurable virtualized IT resources that are dedicated to a single organization’s use. Windows Azure, known as a public cloud environment, provides the compute, storage, hosting, and management services for hosting customer-developed applications and services.

Flexible Support for Hybrid Cloud
Windows Server 2012 R2 introduces or enhances several technologies that make private and hybrid cloud computing easier. One is the concept of software-defined networking (SDN), which abstracts network packet-movement decisions from the underlying network hardware. Hyper-V Network Virtualization and the Hyper-V Extensible Switch are the foundations of SDN in Windows Server 2012 R2; they let administrators isolate network traffic from different business units or customers on a shared infrastructure without the use of virtual local area networks.

Hyper-V Network Virtualization enables administrators to run multiple virtual networks with overlapping IP addresses and to manage virtual networks by using Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager. “By using Hyper-V Network Virtualization, our customers can easily stretch workloads into Windows Azure, into a hosted provider facility, or from one of their own data centers to another,” Morimoto says. For example, a company might want to keep its Active Directory Domain Services infrastructure on-premises but move its Internet, intranet, and some line-of-business applications to a more cost-effective and scalable cloud infrastructure. Using System Center 2012 R2, CCO can simply click and move workloads between public and private cloud environments.

Hyper-V Replica is another Windows Server 2012 R2 feature that supports cost-effective disaster recovery. Hyper-V Replica provides a workload-agnostic solution that replicates virtual machines over IP-based networks. In Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V Replica supports replication frequencies down to 30 seconds and supports multiple replication sites. “Hyper-V Replica makes it easier and faster to move workloads back and forth between on-premises environments and service provider-hosted cloud environments,” Morimoto says.

By using Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager, CCO can automate the replication of virtual machines between its San Francisco and Tokyo data centers, monitor the health of its primary data center, and coordinate the recovery in an orchestrated manner at the secondary data center in the event of a primary data center failure. Monitoring all these functions takes place through System Center 2012 R2, which features enhanced functionality and better integration between all the components. The current multihost, multisite Hyper-V Recovery Manager environment at CCO is expanding rapidly to ultimately support hundreds of hosts and more than 5,000 virtual machines for automated data center resiliency.

Technologies for Cost Reduction
Windows Server 2012 R2 provides a rich set of storage features, so CCO customers can take advantage of cost-effective industry-standard hardware rather than expensive storage area networks (SANs). One of these features is Storage Spaces, which lets organizations pool multiple physical hard disks and provide highly resilient, virtualized storage for a fraction of the cost of SANs. CCO has replaced 80 percent of its SAN storage with standard “just a bunch of disks” (JBOD) storage devices managed by Storage Spaces.

CCO customers also use Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server, a collection of Windows Azure technologies that organizations deploy to gain a consistent experience for cloud services within their own data centers. These technologies include a management portal, websites, and virtual machines. CCO customers use Windows Azure Pack to more quickly and easily create virtual guest sessions, track usage, optimize performance, and provide multitenant management. “We’ve installed Windows Azure Pack for hosting companies and linked it to System Center 2012 R2 so that customers can spin up guest sessions, monitor performance, and do billing, just as they would in Windows Azure,” Morimoto says.

*
* With the information protection improvements in Windows Server 2012 R2, our customers can give their employees the freedom to use their own devices without jeopardizing corporate data. That’s something that every CEO in the world wants right now. *

Rand Morimoto
President, Convergent Computing

*

Support for Diverse Endpoint Devices
To help customers protect data on employee-owned devices, CCO uses Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS), which protects sensitive Office documents and communications through easy-to-use encryption. Employees can store work documents anywhere, but the document security is tied to the employee’s corporate Active Directory Domain Services account. When an individual leaves a company, he or she can no longer open work files, regardless of where they reside.

“Endpoint devices, and particularly BYOD [bring-your-own-device] endpoints, have been a big challenge for security minded enterprises lately,” Morimoto says. “Windows Server 2012 R2 along with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager and Windows Intune have really helped us leverage endpoint management capabilities to set policies, including enforcing data storage location and encryption policies, to managed and lightly managed devices. The better we get at managing endpoints—Microsoft and non-Microsoft endpoints—the better we get at putting our arms around the protection of sensitive data.” Windows Intune is a Microsoft cloud-based client device management solution that complements System Center 2012 R2 on-premises, giving organizations a complete cloud and on-premises security and policy management toolkit through a single administrative console and infrastructure.

Benefits
By recommending Microsoft hybrid cloud software to its enterprise and hosting customers, Convergent Computing helps them gain tremendous flexibility and agility, reduce costs, and support an array of endpoint devices.

Gain Greater Business Flexibility and Agility
Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 support hybrid cloud computing, which gives CCO customers workload portability, data security, and cost-effective disaster recovery. “In the last 60 days, we’ve sold more Windows Azure subscriptions than we did in the last three years,” Morimoto says. “Customers understand the value of hybrid cloud computing. If the cloud doesn’t work out, they can easily move workloads back on-premises. Microsoft delivers the easiest way to do this right now.”

With the increased flexibility that hybrid cloud computing delivers, customers can deliver services faster. Whether it’s provisioning test servers, fulfilling a departmental request for a few servers, scaling up hundreds of servers to meet an unexpected business demand, or load-balancing workloads for maximized server capacity, CCO customers can deliver IT services much faster with automated end-to-end service management.

“The new releases meet the big challenges of CEOs,” Morimoto says. “If an organization is trying to get into the cloud, reduce costs, and support employee-owned devices, they can buy 10 third-party products and spend months cobbling them together, or they can deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 with all these capabilities built-in.”

Halve IT Costs, Redirect Funds Toward Strategic Projects
These built-in capabilities let IT departments use their limited budgets for more strategic projects. “Customers come to us with a flat IT budget and a dozen new projects they need to implement,” says Morimoto. “By using a hybrid cloud infrastructure, we can multiply a customer’s IT infrastructure, reduce costs by nearly 50 percent, and use those savings to complete new IT projects with high business value.”

With hybrid cloud computing, companies can run workloads where it is most cost-effective and makes the best sense for the business. Those workloads that run on-premises run on far better utilized servers, thanks to virtualization—with 70 to 90 percent utilization rather than 30 to 40 percent. “Instead of buying another [US]$5,000 server, customers can spend $57 a month to get the virtual machines they need in Windows Azure.”

Morimoto says that customers significantly reduce storage costs by using Storage Spaces. “In the past, a customer bought a SAN with expensive RAID [redundant array of independent disks] drives for an initial purchase price of more than $3,000 a terabyte,” Morimoto says. “With Storage Spaces, our customers can use storage that costs less than $300 a terabyte.”

Best of all, most CCO customers can use their existing Microsoft license agreements to deploy a private cloud infrastructure. “In most cases, our customers have already invested in Microsoft software licensing agreements and have Windows Server, Hyper-V, and System Center products in their environments,” Morimoto says. “They can deploy a private cloud without much additional investment in technology.”

In its own data center, CCO was able to avoid purchasing a new $250,000 SAN and instead acquire a $50,000 JBOD/Storage Spaces solution, which will provide sufficient space for the next 18 to 24 months.

Additionally, CCO has greatly simplified its site-to-site failover and recovery process by using Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager. “Our previous process for performing planned and unplanned failover between data centers was extremely manual, a five-page documented process to prepare a staged failover, initiate the failover, confirm that the failover completed successfully, and then the same process to fail back,” Morimoto says. “With Hyper-V Recovery Manager, the process is now a one-page document. Hyper-V Recovery Manager handles both the planned and the unplanned process for us. While we are managing a couple dozen virtual machines today, we expect to scale our hosted cloud environment to support hundreds of virtual machines. Handling that volume manually would be impossible. With the simplification and automation that Hyper-V Recovery Manager provides, we can vastly expand our scalability.”

Provide Support for User-Owned Devices
By using Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2, CCO customers can empower their employees to use the devices they want while protecting corporate information. Customers can manage both corporate and personally owned devices using a unified infrastructure.

“When employees use their own devices for work, they are usually happier and more productive,” Morimoto says. “With the information protection improvements in Windows Server 2012 R2, our customers can give their employees the freedom to use their own devices without jeopardizing corporate data. That’s something that every CEO in the world wants right now.”

Transform the data center
The hybrid cloud from Microsoft transforms the data center by extending existing investments in skills and technology with public cloud services and a common set of management tools. With an on-premises infrastructure connected to the Windows Azure platform, you can deliver services faster and scale up or down quickly to meet changing needs.

For more information about transforming the data center, go to:

www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cloud-os/modern-data-center.aspx

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about Convergent Computing products and services, visit the website at:
www.cco.com

Solution Overview




Partner Profile
Convergent Computing (CCO) helps customers design, implement, and support network solutions. The company is based in Walnut Creek, California, and employs 65 people.

Business Situation

CCO customers wanted to embrace hybrid cloud computing—running workloads both on-premises and in the cloud—reduce costs, and support employee-owned devices in the workplace.


Solution

CCO customers are achieving all these goals and more by deploying Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft System Center 2012 R2, private cloud software that connects to Windows Azure.


Benefits

  • Gain greater business agility
  • Halve IT costs, redirect funds toward strategic projects
  • Provide support for user devices


Software and Services
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 R2
  • Active Directory Rights Management Services for Windows Server
  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Microsoft Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager
  • Microsoft Azure Pack
  • Microsoft Azure Virtual Network

Vertical Industries
IT Services

Country/Region
United States

Business Need
  • Cloud & Server Platform
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Software Defined Networking

IT Issue
Cloud Services

Languages
English

RSS