Pironet NDH is renewing the IT infrastructure for Versiko AG
Green storage: Better performance, 60 per cent lower energy consumption
"The technology for storage systems and data centres is developing so quickly that it can be as little as three or four years before complete modernisation of an infrastructure can pay off, not only in terms of cost but also on account of ecological aspects," explains Katharina Gülpen, managing director of Pironet NDH Enterprise Solutions.
Faster network for storage infrastructure
The core of the modernised infrastructure is formed by a fast Ethernet network based on the "Cisco Nexus" family and capable of 10 gigabits per second, much higher data rates than were possible with the 1-gigabit technology used hitherto. Versiko has also switched its servers to Cisco from Hewlett Packard - a decision that the financial services people have not regretted in the least. "The interaction between the network, the servers and the storage is working superbly and it was only days before our users were offering praise for the markedly faster response times," says Melanie Willms, head of the IT department at Versiko.
Climate change at the data centre
Complete virtualisation of its IT infrastructure has meant the financial advisers were also able to reduce the amount of server hardware and wiring in their own data centre. Using less hardware also brought down the electricity consumption. In addition, the much simplified wiring was well received, too. "Without the build up of heat we had before, there's a lot less cooling to be done on our high-performance systems. Overall, the modernisation has meant we can make savings of more than one in every two kilowatt hours at the data centre," says Versiko AG's chairman of the board, Alfred Platow. "That is an aspect that has played a decisive role for us as an ecologically focussed company."
The extent of the savings even came as a surprise to the IT personnel not long after the change. "We walked into the server room and were puzzled as to why it was so unusually cool. The air conditioning had been working overnight at its customary level, but the new systems were hardly generating heat any more, meaning that the improvements were even physically tangible," recalls Melanie Willms.
Certainty thanks to storage virtualization
Versiko is blazing new trails in the area of storage, too. The sustainable finance pioneers are now using NetApp's vFiler technology in the productive system. This involves distributing the storage system across several independent units called vFilers, which can be allocated to individual applications, internal departments or customers. The benefit is that should a filer fail or need maintenance, the data can be moved to other storage units, meaning that there is no longer any need to shut down a running system.
For backing up data, Versiko has replaced its tapes with a disc-based, virtualised data back-up system provided by NetApp. The service provider operates this from an external data centre some five kilometres away in Düsseldorf. "This means we'll be on the safe side in case the computers at our own centre in Hilden all give up the ghost at once," according to Willms. "If the worst comes to the worst, we can still get our systems back up and running in no time at all."
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Pironet NDH is one of the leading German providers of Cloud Computing. Its focus ranges from providing corporate software over the internet right through to complete desktop solutions and business-critical applications from SAP and Microsoft.
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