Zumasys Cloud Computing Solution
Founded in 1929 in Detroit, Michigan, 1st Source Servall is now one of North America’s largest distributors of appliance parts, with 51 locations, including 9 main distribution centers and 3 call centers, located in 13 states. The company serves national name-brand department and appliance stores as well as smaller regional companies such as appliance repair companies, Internet retailers, and property management firms. It is factory authorized for all major brands, including Whirlpool, Electrolux, and General Electric, plus many other brands, and offers an inventory in excess of 75,000 part numbers.
Reaching a storage crossroads as a family-owned and -operated company with an 80-year history, 1st Source Servall understands how to remain competitive and manage growth. Paving an aggressive growth strategy, 1st Source Servall averages one acquisition per year plus the addition of branch locations in new and existing markets. In the past five years, the appliance parts leader has grown from 13 branch offices and 80 employees to 51 offices and a staff of 550.
During its recent period of strategic growth, the company experienced growing pains with its IT infrastructure. As its office footprint, staff, customer base, Web services, and transaction volume grew, its storage environment could no longer meet the needs of the organization. “We were at a storage crossroads,” says Jeff Meyers, vice president of Technology at 1st Source Servall. “We either needed to make a significant investment in our infrastructure and expand our IT staff or make the move to an outsourced IT model.”
In addition to accommodating growth, the new storage environment had to support applications such as the company’s proprietary online platform, where customers and service technicians log in to order parts, track shipments, pay invoices, process warranty claims, and manage their accounts. The site was growing dynamically, averaging 8,500 unique logins per day and countless page hits and clicks; high availability and performance were critical requirements.
“Even when we’re involved in time-critical projects with demanding resource requirements, we don’t worry about whether our systems are going to be available to us on NetApp storage in the Zumasys cloud. That’s a huge statement for a business to make.” – Kevin Sullivan, Chief Operations Officer, 1st Source Servall
With an IT staff of four to support an increasingly complex IT environment, the team was challenged to serve its internal clients and support the company’s network, hardware, and software environments. Disaster recovery activities that involved daily backups to tape were particularly time consuming, often spilling over into the next day’s operations.
After considering the options for an IT strategy that would help move the company forward on its growth path, 1st Source Servall selected the Zumasys Cloud Computing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering. Headquartered in Irvine, California, Zumasys, Inc., a participant in the NetApp Partner Program for Service Providers, helps companies such as 1st Source Servall reduce costs and focus more energy on core business by transitioning applications and infrastructure to the Zumasys cloud. Zumasys offers its enterprise-class cloud computing, virtual desktop as a service, disaster recovery, and storage solutions on NetApp storage.
“NetApp provides Zumasys scalable, flexible storage solutions that empower us to deliver customer applications and data 24/7 in a secure, high-availability cloud, and to easily adapt to changing customer needs,” says Stephen Mealey, manager, Cloud Services, Zumasys. “NetApp storage and replication are fundamental to delivering a cloud computing offering that helps our customers successfully compete and thrive in their markets.”
The Solution: Migrating to the cloud
To deliver its cloud computing offering to 1st Source Servall and other customers across North America, Zumasys relies on NetApp FAS3170 storage systems in an Irvine, California, production site, replicating hourly to FAS3210 and FAS3020 storage systems at a Las Vegas, Nevada, disaster recovery site. The Zumasys cloud platform is composed of NetApp FAS storage, the Cisco® Unified Computing System™, Cisco Nexus® data center switches, and VMware® vCloud®, vSphere®, and vCenter™ solutions.
“We were committed to moving 1st Source Servall applications to newer, faster, more flexible hardware, and NetApp allowed us to make that happen,” says Paul Giobbi, CEO of Zumasys. Cooperative support and service from industry partners Cisco, NetApp, and VMware reduce time to deployment for 1st Source Servall applications. Today, 100% of 1st Source Servall applications, including Web servers, Microsoft® Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server® environments, and IBM AIX, Linux®, and Citrix XenApp 6.5 systems, are all deployed on NetApp storage.
Using NetApp SnapMirror® technology, Zumasys migrated the 1st Source Servall production data to the Zumasys cloud within a matter of hours. Notes Giobbi, “For an organization the size of 1st Source Servall, it was remarkable that the migration was completed in a weekend, and with no downtime. The only way we could have achieved that was by using NetApp storage and SnapMirror replication.” The use of NetApp SnapMirror technology decreased the migration process from the anticipated two days to just a couple of hours.
NetApp MultiStore® software helps Zumasys maintain the partitioning and security of its shared storage and networking resources, which deliver the 6TB of 1st Source Servall data, while maximizing utilization in the 100TB storage environment. Other efficiencies are enabled by NetApp deduplication, which allows Zumasys to reclaim a substantial amount of its storage space. 1st Source Servall has benefited from a new level of IT efficiency by making the transition from a dedicated on-site infrastructure to a shared, multi-tenant cloud service, reducing its storage costs by 25%.
Zumasys leverages NetApp integrated data protection to provide ongoing availability of 1st Source Servall systems and data, including its business-critical customer portal. When 1st Source Servall customers depend on quick and even emergency order processing, ongoing availability of the customer portal is imperative.
For a company that suffered a 1996 fire at its Detroit headquarters that burned the facility to the ground, 1st Source Servall remains committed to a reliable disaster recovery plan that protects invaluable corporate assets. Zumasys uses NetApp SnapMirror to replicate 1st Source Servall data nightly and NetApp Snapshot™ and SnapRestore® technologies for advanced backup and recovery of 1st Source Servall corporate and customer data. NetApp SnapManager® for Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server provide host based configuration and backup support for the 1st Source Servall Exchange and SQL Server environments.
Business Benefits: Delivering IT and business agility
By leveraging the Zumasys Cloud Computing IaaS offering, with a NetApp storage infrastructure providing the foundation, 1st Source Servall spends less time solving IT problems and more time growing its appliance parts business and serving its customers. The NetApp unified storage platform enables Zumasys IT to centrally manage the dynamic storage infrastructures in its 102,000-square-foot Irvine data center and its 407,000-square-foot data center in Las Vegas, the 10th-largest data center in the world.
Zumasys IT efficiencies translate into more affordable cloud services for customers such as 1st Source Servall. In addition, NetApp MultiStore allows Zumasys to host 1st Source Servall and other customer data in a secure, shared environment.
Kevin Sullivan, chief operating officer at 1st Source Servall, offers a glimpse of how the scalability, manageability, and data protection capabilities of NetApp storage support the company’s development efforts: “We were making changes to our Microsoft SQL Server environment and needed to perform a complete backup of our production data,” he says. “Because of the size of some of our databases, we simply ran out of space. We sent an e-mail to Zumasys requesting more storage to support this process, and within a day they allocated the space and we were able to perform our backups. In our previous storage environment, provisioning new storage took as long as three days.”
By leaving infrastructure management to Zumasys, the 1st Source Servall IT team can focus on important projects that help move the business forward. Current projects include managing and optimizing the aggressive acquisition process, condensing the company’s database environments, which expand significantly with each acquisition, and refining its customer portal.
High availability, elevated customer service
1st Source Servall relies on the high availability, high performance, and efficiency of NetApp storage in the Zumasys cloud. In the company’s previous storage environment, reliability sometimes impacted employee and customer access to systems. In addition, inefficient, time-consuming tape backup processes demanded excessive bandwidth, often impacting customer-facing systems.
“NetApp provides Zumasys scalable, flexible storage solutions that empower us to deliver customer applications and data 24/7 in a secure, high-availability cloud and to easily adapt to changing customer needs.” – Stephen Mealey, Manager, Cloud Services, Zumasys, Inc.
“We haven’t experienced any of those reliability issues since moving to Zumasys Cloud Computing, with storage and replication from NetApp,” says Sullivan. “Even when we’re involved in time-critical projects with demanding resource requirements, we don’t worry about whether our systems are going to be available to us on NetApp storage in the Zumasys cloud. That’s a huge statement for a business to make.”