Iqon implements the “vBlock” platform as part of an IT – Cloud consolidation project, unique in Southeast Europe

"The shifting of the IT&C infrastructure into Cloud was a success for Rompetrol. From my point of view, the vBlock’s platform major advantage can be expressed in four simple words: best value for money." - Askar Zhakenov, Group IT Director Rompetrol

At the end of 2010, in the midst of the operational excellence achievement process and following the launch of the SAP implementation program, the Rompetrol Group opted for the development of an IT&C infrastructure in the Cloud (private cloud), a solution based on vBlock and offered by the VCE alliance (Cisco, EMC and Vmware). The project was meant to provision resources for the SAP environment, together with the “private cloud” consolidation of 575 physical servers and 11 storage systems: it was a major success for Rompetrol and the Romanian market. The implementation process completed, the company estimates a 22% ROI (Return on Investment) rate, and a 64% IRR (Internal Rate of Return). The design and implementation for the entire solution were carried out by Iqon and Crescendo, and resulted in the first, most ample project of its kind in the whole Southeast Europe region.


CONTEXT

In 2009, following Rompetrol’s full acquisition of KazMunaiGas, the company decided to undertake a major strategy change, moving from rapid growth to operational excellence. The project had to support the decision to implement the SAP solution for the management system consolidation and company resource planning processes, and also to ensure the optimization of the IT system, represented, back then, by a heterogeneous environment of approximately 700 servers, over 20 storage systems and a few hundreds of applications, all administered by two IT Business Units.

“The existence of a heterogeneous IT environment was difficult to administrate and implied too high a cost. Basically, without a centralized management program, the system maintenance required frequent moving to the data centers and manual interventions on an infrastructure whose correct inventory was difficult to achieve. Furthermore, each IT Business Unit managed separate infrastructure sections, making the situation all the more complicated” – Askar Zhakenov, Group IT Director Rompetrol.

The internal audit, carried out with regards to the SAP implementation process, revealed a CPU usage level of only 2-3%, because every new project came with dedicated hardware and there was no virtualized environment to optimize the server load. For the storage systems, the utilization level was, also, at approximately 20%.

There was no Disaster Recovery solution for the entire system, but only for the e-mail platforms (Microsoft Exchange) and the ERP (Oracle Enterprise Business Suite). In this context, the Rompetrol team decided to consolidate its IT infrastructure, by means of “private cloud” project.


SOLUTION

In order to identify the type of platform that suited best both the SAP implementation process and the entire infrastructure consolidation, the Rompetrol team began a thorough market analysis. In the end, based on the business plan requirements, Rompetrol chose vBlock, a solution developed by VCE (a Cisco, EMC and VMware alliance).

The vBlock packages combine, in a unique, scalable and extensible platform, the best processing, storage, unified communications, administration and security solutions offered by the alliance members: Cisco, EMC and VMware, and allow the adoption of large-scale virtualization, from servers and operating systems to business applications like ERP, CRM, BI etc.

“The internal audit that Rompetrol carried out resulted in a consolidation project for which we did a market research and a thorough evaluation of all the solutions available. We chose vBlock after an elaborate analysis of its performance indicators and certified support, but also for the unitary concept it was built on. To us, these aspects counted the most.” – Askar Zhakenov, Group IT Director Rompetrol.


PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Following the information, evaluation and selection steps, the project itself began in December 2010, when Rompetrol purchased vBlock. The Iqon-Crescendo team implemented two vBlock1 platforms for the enterprise computing area, in two distinct locations, connected by means of a communication line 10Gbps in capacity.

The vBlock platform architecture was designed and implemented by Crescendo’s specialists and integrates a series of solutions pertaining to the Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus, EMC Unified Storage, VMware vSphere 4 Unified Infrastructure product families. For backup and replication, the client opted for the EMC Avamar and Recover Point solutions.

The consolidation and virtualization of physical servers was carried out by Iqon, according to a previously agreed upon plan that determined the achievement of clear performance indicators while minimizing the impact on the organization.

“The consolidation project was a challenge due to its extent and the highly aggressive timeline. At the end of each step, our team achieved the preset performance indicators so that, if back in April 2010 there were 675 physical machines and no virtual machine, in April 2012 a number of over 500 virtual machines and only 100 physical machines was reached.” – Cristian Bălulescu, Operations Director Iqon.

Furthermore, starting February 2012, SAP is on stream on vBlock: the solution benefits from a main and a disaster recovery sites, placed in a different location and capable of starting within a few minutes.

“The SAP project is one of the largest IT projects developed within the Romanian private sector in recent years. The solution serves the activity of all the divisions inside the Rompetrol Group, which led to a very strict implementation roadmap for the first phase of the project. The project consolidation eased the achievement of the objectives that were preset for this first phase.” – Giani Kacic, SAP Project Director Rompetrol.


BENEFITS

The impact on business was beneficial on many levels. From a financial point of view, Rompetrol estimated for vBlock: a return on investment (ROI) rate of 22% and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 64%.

The operational efficiency resulted in the following benefits:

An increase in the IT administration’s speed of response to the company’s business needs. Thanks to the virtualized environment and the centralized management components, the time allotted to the provisioning of servers for new projects dropped to just a few hours, as against the months previously needed for the completion of equipment acquisition, delivery, installation and configuration procedures.

Operational costs optimization as a consequence of consolidating the IT environment on a unitary structure. The monetization of this action comprises the costs related to the occupied space, the energy consumption for power & cooling, as well as the maintenance and technical support services contracted with the suppliers (for instance, the physical space allotted to the IT equipment was reduced by approximately 30%, by cutting down on the number of racks, from 45 to 29).

A 50% decrease in the IT administration’s workload.

Hardware availability rose from 93,7% at the beginning of the project to 99,80%, registering monthly incident rate in decline from 3 to 0,05.

CPU usage level increased from 2,7% to 17%, while the RAM usage level augmented from 53% to 90%.

The backup duration decreased by 76%, from almost 9 hours to just 2 hours.

By using data deduplication technologies, the storage space necessary for backup was diminished by 69,37%.


ABOUT THE CLIENT

The Rompetrol Group N.V. is a multinational oil company, headquartered in Amsterdam, Holland. The company activates in 12 countries and holds the majority of shares and operations in Romania, France, Spain, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Georgia. The Rompetrol Group deals in both refinery activities, marketing and trading, and in additional operations – oil exploration and production, oilfield services, etc.

The implementation partners

For the development of this project, the first of its kind in Southeast Europe, Rompetrol chose Crescendo, an experienced oil industry IT&C integrator, holding advanced expertise in Cisco, EMC and VMware technologies. Crescendo offered consulting and implementation services, and the support related to every step of the project.

“Through the investments it made, Rompetrol managed to prove, once again, its opening towards technology and innovation as grounds for fulfilling the business objectives. We are honored to have had the opportunity to be involved in this project, together with our partners, Iqon and VCE – Cisco, EMC and VMware” – Marius Tulea, General Manager Crescendo.

The Crescendo consultants teamed with the specialists at Iqon, a system integrator that specializes in the oil and gas industry, also holding expertise in the fields of retail, energy and utilities, telecommunications, public sector, healthcare. Iqon operates four data centers and manages Rompetrol’s entire IT systems. Apart from Romania, Iqon operates in other European and Asian countries (for instance, in Holland, Italy, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Russia).

The vBlock platform adoption offered Rompetrol a unitary IT infrastructure with a high degree of flexibility. To us, these benefits translate into ease of administration and speed of response to the demands of our client’s business. In brief, we are talking about excellence when it comes to satisfying our clients’ needs.” – Cristian Bălulescu, Operations Director Iqon.


ABOUT vBlock

The vBlock packages combine, in a unique, scalable and extensible platform, the best processing, storage, unified communications, administration and security solutions offered by the alliance members: Cisco, EMC and VMware, and allow the adoption of large-scale virtualization, from servers and operating systems to business applications like ERP, CRM, BI etc.

posted on: June 1st, 2012
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