A WEI customer had a massive data center consolidation project in the works and wanted to improve their DR solution in the process. 



WEI led the effort of virtualizing the old networks, hardware refresh, and the implementation and integration of software defined storage and VMware’s NSX. Learn why Mark Gabryjelski, VCDX #23, calls this project “an excellent example of how technology can solve a business problem.”

Video not your thing? Follow along with the transcription below:

Mark G.:

We got engaged with this company to do a really cool engagement. And it was technology, not for the sake of technology's deployment, but to solve all the business problems that they brought to the table. So it was an enterprise level company, right? Multiple data centers, and what they were looking to do was consolidate many of their data centers. So that was already a project that was ongoing, but they wanted to add some flexibility and make the process much easier as well as include a DR component while they were doing this.


Now the Dr Component was local disaster recovery, so worried about building, not a whole town going out. So we had a beautiful situation. We had two data centers, within a good metro area networks, so that meant for the technical side, it looked as though it could be potentially the same exact network.


So a few things that we did here is we brought in NSX, and what NSX allowed us to do is to touch all the old legacy data centers that we were consolidating, virtualize those networks, and as we brought those workloads into the new two data center solution at their corporate data center, we virtualized the old networks, brought them over, so it was as though those networks never moved. Those old data centers never went away.


So as we were building out these new corporate environment, this new corporate double data center environment in a local geographical area, a lot of refresh of the hardware was required in order to deal with this massive data center consolidation of the multiple data centers.


So we're at that time where customers are exploring software defined storage, the software defined networking, the hyperconverged solutions. As the customer was going through, we started looking at, "Do I use software defined storage from a vendor like VMware? Do I go out and take advantage of the hyperconverged solution from all the hardware vendors that exist out there today?"


And what was chosen was some traditional storage area networks, backend fiber channel arrays for some of the workload. And then for other components of the workload that might've needed a horsepower or isolation, we brought in some of the software defined storage to help bring that together. So it was a real cool opportunity to do what we've known and what we've loved in our data centers as well as take on some of the new software defined storage, that's just part of that software defined data center.


So the real challenge that was brought to the table was how do I go through and do this data center consolidation in a way that doesn't bring down workloads, doesn't impact the end users, doesn't impact the applications. We made the transition seamless. We didn't have to change any of the ways people worked with the environment and the applications. It all still felt to those users as we rolled it up, it still felt as though everything was still local to them.


We've got 50 techs downstairs from integration folks who specialize in hardware to the network teams that know how to move traffic around all the different data centers that might exist in your world, to the virtualization team that knows how to bring up these infrastructures that you can build these software defined data centers on.


And when you bring all of those people together with all the years of experience, all the procedural documentation and the checklists and the guidelines and best practices around that, providing you all that reference material as well as the run built, built as documentation sets, anybody can come back to your environment and realize what we use to make our decision points, how we built it at that time, and then actually recreate it.


And we've had customers who have actually done that where they've had a disaster in their data center and used our document sets to rebuild the solution, that we put together a year ago or two years ago that no one remembered how to do.

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