New IBM Enterprise Flex delivers on costs and benefits for Midland Heart
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New IBM Enterprise Flex delivers on costs and benefits for Midland Heart

Midland Heart, one of the top ten housing and care organisations in the UK, has partnered with APSU to deploy an IBM Enterprise Flex System and additional IBM V7000 Storwise storage. The solution has improved IT efficiency and lowered costs, while increasing the flexibility of service delivery.

A longstanding IBM client, Midland Heart has already partnered with APSU to implement Blade and virtualised System x environments over the last 10 years, using VMware to replace older Dell architecture. As part of this, APSU has consolidated Midland’s environments ready for desktop virtualisation with Citrix.

More recently, Midland Heart asked APSU to provide consultation on a planned network upgrade to deploy 10-gigabit Ethernet (GbE) across its local area network (LAN) with Cisco Nexus. Due to storage pressures created by Midland Heart’s successful growth, it was also decided that the existing server and storage area network (SAN) architecture should be upgraded or replaced.

Rather than focus purely on the network aspect of the infrastructure solution plan, APSU recommended a different approach. Instead of looking at the server, storage and network in isolation, APSU designed a solution around an IBM Enterprise Flex with FSM. This allowed Midland Heart to simultaneously scale all three elements of its architecture with one solution that would meet the demands of its business.

The solution made best use of available budgets, while avoiding the risk of bottlenecks in any single area that might prohibit the delivery of new and existing services.

Midland Heart also took advantage of its previous smaller investment in IBM Storwise V7000 with an upgrade and purchased a second system with IP replication to improve capability, storage headroom, and management, as well as business continuity.

Steve Elliott, ICT infrastructure manager at Midland Heart said, “The introduction of IBM Enterprise FlexSystem is a perfect platform for our infrastructure. Close integration with our hypervisor; our V7000 Storage architecture; networking and overall management means we can scale up and out evenly and predictably. We can now achieve 10Gbp/s where we actually need it: at the server and storage end – with IBM Flex and V7000.”

To further improve virtual desktop performance, the IBM Enterprise Flex System was fitted with x240 compute nodes specified with high levels of system resources, deployed with VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus as a standard build. Utilising one of the key functions of V7000, Midland Heart can also externally virtualise and centrally manage high-density IBM Fibre Channel storage.

Steve concluded, “APSU continues to be our key infrastructure partner. There is a reason that we actively invest our time in the relationship – and that’s based on the consistency of our APSU team. A value-added partner in the truest sense, APSU provides consultation and implementation services that ensure Midland Heart’s IT strategy delivers for our business, and represents the best commercial value every time. Re-engineering our IT budget has proved to be the right decision – and that is down to APSU.”

About APSU

APSU is a leader in delivering IBM solutions to the UK market. Its service portfolio covers technical consultancy, procurement, managed services, in-store and on-line retail solutions, cloud hosting and physical co-location.
Viewed by IBM as a strategic partner with board representation on IBM’s Worldwide Advisory Councils, the company has an impressive technical pedigree. It is the highest accredited Business Partner in Europe and is elite in the channel, sitting at the number one position for Power Systems (i and AIX), PureFlex and Enterprise Storage.

About Midland Heart

Midland Heart is one of the top ten housing and care organisations based in the UK. It provides and maintains homes for more than 70,000 people, owns and manages more than 32,000 homes across 54 local authority areas and invests in excess of £100 million each year in local neighbourhoods.

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