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Case Study: BlueSun and Dell
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Case Study: BlueSun and Dell 

The Business Problem
Until BlueSun implemented Dell technologies, the company had been storing its customer data in three separate date centres, on outdated hardware. This model was very costly and difficult to manage. Not only was the company paying for multiple data centre locations, it was also leasing equipment through old contracts with managed services providers.

“The cost was very high to have the multiple sites and all these different contracts,” said Andrew Olaveson, IT administrator, BlueSun. “It was just starting to spiral out of control. We needed a way to consolidate number one, our environment, and number two, our hardware platform, so that we could effectively get the most bang for our buck.”

Though BlueSun was able to manage the different locations and hardware, it became time-consuming and inefficient. It also made it difficult for the growing company to scale up. As such, BlueSun started looking for ways to consolidate its data and have a centrally managed solution.

The Solution
To meet its storage needs, BlueSun chose Dell to implement a new virtualized infrastructure. The infrastructure was based on Dell server, storage, and networking technologies.

Olaveson and his team deployed Dell’s PowerEdge R720 rack servers, Dell PowerVault storage arrays, and Dell Networking 8024 Ethernet switches with two virtual LANs. With these technologies in place, the company also added a complete disaster recovery site, to ensure business continuity for clients.

The Dell solution consolidated data previously held in three separate facilities into a single colocation centre. It helped BlueSun reduce costs, increase scalability, and provide a secure environment for customer data.

Implementation
Consolidating three data centres into one was no easy task. BlueSun had data centres in Mississauga, Ottawa, and Toronto.

Working with Dell, Olaveson set up a new virtualized environment and transitioned the company from the old infrastructure to the new.

“We wanted to minimize the downtime to our clients, so we had to think of a way to transition into the new environment with minimal impact,” said Olaveson. “We did that in a phased approach, where we would migrate one line of business in on one weekend, let that settle, and then two to three weeks later we migrated another one in.”

To ensure no downtime for customers, BlueSun migrated its data during a series of weekends. The process itself was relatively smooth. The biggest challenge was coordinating the different parties involved, and making sure there was a detailed project plan for each migration.

Lessons Learned and Best Practices
For BlueSun, success is in the details.

“Just make sure you have everything planned out and detailed, because there’s so many different moving parts to a change like this that you have to be aware of,” said Olaveson.

Olaveson also recommended collaborating with Dell: “Make sure to engage with the Dell team on best practices for the hardware setup, because after the implementation, you’re working out bugs and things like that.”

Following Dell best practices for setting up and configuring the hardware can help ensure there won’t be any issues when it is time to deploy.

Benefits
By implementing Dell’s virtualization solution, BlueSun realized a number of benefits, including simplified IT management and significant cost-savings. The company can offer its clients a high level of security and data availability, with more visibility for BlueSun’s IT administrators.

“Before, we didn’t really have visibility in a lot of our environments,” said Olaveson. “So when we built out this solution, we made sure to deploy a monitoring tool. We have a lot more visibility of what’s going on in the environment, which in turn makes us more proactive instead of reactive when an issue occurs. A lot of the time we know when something’s wrong before our clients know, which is a huge benefit. That’s a big one for me in terms of improving my job. Getting that level of visibility across the board, and just centralizing everything in one location is much easier to manage and maintain.”

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