Manchester financial services group invests in ANS’ Infrastructure 3.0, FlexPod data centre design.

ANS Group have completed a contract with financial services group WH Ireland to build a completely new infrastructure that will replace the firm’s existing distributed systems, and deliver cost savings and improved performance, preparing them for future IT projects.

WH Ireland will establish two data centres which will provide co-ordinated and resilient IT services to their offices across the UK. ANS Group was engaged to implement their award-winning Infrastructure 3.0 data centre design at both locations.

The new infrastructure consists of Cisco UCS Blades, NetApp storage, full VMware virtualisation and Cisco Nexus switches. The design is identical at both data centres and delivers several key benefits for WH Ireland. The combined benefits of consolidated storage from NetApp’s de-duplication and thin provisioning with VMware’s virtualisation technology will reduce the physical server count from 50 distributed across the country, to 3 at each site. This will save WH Ireland money in a number of ways: a reduction in cabling, power and cooling required for the data centre, a reduction in maintenance needs and therefore costs, a reduction in management time required to maintain this part of the network and a reduction in future capital expenditure.

The power and unified flexibility of the Cisco Nexus switches allow WH Ireland to plan for future IT deployments that would have been beyond the capabilities of the current network. One in particular is the currently proof-of-concept, and if successful planned implementation of Virtual Desktop (VDI) technology which will be a unique deployment in a demanding environment as traders are often using 2 or 3 screens while working.

Disaster recovery capabilities have been revolutionised. In the past, a critical incident would have left WH Ireland with significant work to recover critical systems from tape. Now with the efficiency of NetApp SnapManager and VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) the systems can be fully restored in a fraction of the time, saving significant work and limited availability of the systems in the meantime.

WH Ireland will also benefit from the general improvements made to their systems by running a next-generation FlexPod design: a faster network offering improved service for their end-users, reduced points of management for the IT team leading to fewer routine daily tasks, increased scalability and security of the network.

Paul Sweeney, MD of ANS Group, said “This is an excellent deployment that will help WH Ireland to continue to remain at the top of their game. Once again we are seeing Infrastructure 3.0 save money for one of our customers and improve their levels of IT performance and service delivery to both their business, and their clients. It is great to see that WH Ireland will have a secure and stable platform upon which to build for their future IT needs.”

David Halstead, IT Director at WH Ireland, said, “We are very excited about this new infrastructure and the difference it is going to make to our capabilities. The financial savings are well documented, but more importantly the improvements in disaster recovery and the platform that we have been given to build our future IT provision, will have a real, positive impact on the firm’s performance in the future. ANS have shown that they understand our requirements and have built an excellent solution for us.”

Each data centre site runs 3 Cisco UCS blades, 1 NetApp FAS3240 cluster with SnapManager and block level de-duplication, VMware Enterprise with SRM, and Cisco Nexus 5000 switches.