European Managed Services Provider Taps IBM Flash for Faster Cloud Solutions

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ARMONK, N.Y. - 30 Oct 2013: As the rapid expansion of the digital universe continues unabated, demand for faster, easier access to that information via the cloud mounts.

To provide both to its growing client base across Europe, managed services provider, Cegeka, turned to IBM (NYSE: IBM) storage virtualization and Flash technologies.  

“We are growing very fast and part of that is due to the fact that we are continuously looking for innovative solutions to fulfill the needs of our customers,” said Luc Greefs, Director of Shared Technology and Infrastructure Delivery at the company. Cegeka provides private cloud solutions, such as Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service, telephony services, and more, throughout Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland and Romania.

At the heart of its latest infrastructure innovation is the IBM FlashSystem 820 storage system. The all-Flash appliance, which is 20-times faster than traditional, refrigerator-sized hard drive systems, can store up to 24 terabytes of data in a unit the size of a pizza box.  

Cegeka initially deployed the systems to speed the performance of SAP applications for a specific client. Though the solution improved the performance of the SAP jobs by a factor of 10 and increased end-user response times by 3 times, the IBM FlashSystem provided even greater benefits to Cegeka, according to Greefs. 

“We pay a lot of attention to, and we are very concerned about, floor and rack space usage, as well as power and cooling consumption in our data centers because they have an enormous impact on the operational cost of the data center – and consequently, on the services that we offer in those data centers,” said Greefs. With the IBM FlashSystem 820, power consumption is 10 – 20 times lower, he said. 

Flash is a re-writable memory technology that can speed application performance and response times in servers and storage systems from milliseconds to microseconds – orders of magnitude faster. Because it contains no moving parts, Flash is more reliable and energy efficient than spinning hard drives.  

Also beneficial to Cegeka was the ease with which it was able to integrate the Flash systems. Because the company’s storage infrastructure is built on IBM XIV high-end disk systems and IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) virtualization software, adding the Flash systems was easy, said Koen Goossens, Data Management Architect at Cegeka. 

“We just plugged the IBM FlashSystem into the SAN and started managing it with SVC,” Goosens said. “This combination brings a lot of data management functionalities, like data migration, thin provisioning, cloning, and real-time compression.”  

For Cegeka, which is also an IBM Premiere Business Partner, the virtualized storage infrastructure, complete with Flash, enables their clients to get up and running on the cloud faster, and have faster access to their applications once there, Greefs said. 

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