HOW TO CONSOLIDATE A NETWORK DATA CENTER? WE HELPED O2 MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION
O2 CZECH REPUBLIC & ORBIT
HOURS OF ANALYSES
When it comes to deciding how to consolidate the data centre of a telecoms giant that operates nearly eight million mobile and fixed lines, provides internet connections and runs digital TV broadcasts, you need a lot of information, experience and courage. This case study is about one such decision.
“The stamp of an external expert such as ORBIT is a guarantee for us that the proposed solution will stand up in the future. The whole concept of the NTW datacentre consolidation respects the new trends in IT infrastructure.”
Jiří Kouba, Cloud & OSS manager, O2
ARCHITECT WANTED. NOTE: NOT ANYMORE
Infrastructure deployed in several sites, different age of hardware and operation taking place on different platforms. When moving the network datacenter (NTW DC) to a modern new building was on the agenda at O2, it was impossible not to take advantage of this to clean up and optimize.
The key issue of the consolidation project was obvious: What should the architecture of the new NTW DC look like? But we needed more answers: Is it possible to operate NTW DC link with common internal IT systems that have been migrated before? And can we ensure a virtually seamless migration of systems that are critical to running services?
Fortunately, O2 was clear when deciding which external supplier to entrust with finding the answers. The decision was based on the positive experience the company had with us the previous year. Moreover, project implemented at that time was based on similar needs to the current project.
THERE IS NO DATA CENTER LIKE A DATACENT CENTER
Network data center (or data center for the management of mobile and fixed networks) differs from the classic IT data center by the interconnection of application units with hardware that controls the operation of networks and value-added services (eg O2 TV). Specific technical support is provided by companies such as Nokia, Ericsson, etc., and it is therefore difficult to virtualize these data centers or arbitrarily change their configuration. NTW DC outages must be resolved within tens of seconds.
NEVER HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION
We consistently ran the whole project using ORBIT methodology 160+ .In the case of infrastructure transformation, it includes in particular a detailed analysis of the applications, the way they are operated and support options.
The measurement of the current virtual environment on more than 30 hosts, about 200 physical servers and 20 application units lasted approximately four months. Thanks to Densify, we gained detailed insights into behavior and actual performance reserves of the current O2 virtual farm resources.
Through discussions with owners and application administrators, we have gathered technical, licensing and financial data on measured units. At the same time, during a series of workshops, we discussed current and future NTW DC architecture with O2 specialists. And after half a year we had enough… We meant data and information.
CHALLENGES FOR ORBIT
- Capacitively and architecturally analyze the current NTW DC infrastructure
- Decide on the degree of synergy of NTW DC operation
- Design a new NTW DC architecture
- Calculate the TCO of possible variants
- Adjust the data center consolidation to the schedule of the ongoing data center move
FROM OPINIONS TO FACTS
After a challenging aggregation of all data and requirements, we successfully created a design of optimal architecture NTW DC architecture with a plan to consolidate all virtualizable application units into a single platform. We clearly illustrated the necessary capacity expansion of the existing infrastructure over time as well as the design of the newly proposed architecture.
The project plan of the preferred option of data centre consolidation with the calculation of significant savings for hardware and licenses was subsequently submitted to the O2 Investment Committee for approval.
The NTW DC operation must meet demanding criteria for continuous operation, power balancing and availability across logically independent geoclusters. In short, operating conditions are much tougher for NTW DC than for an operator’s internal IT systems. After all, who would want an SMS message to take five minutes to deliver?
“By compiling a complete cost picture of the systems in operation, we have defended the option of converging server and data storage infrastructure into a single entity within VMware vSAN. This solution has long-term benefits in terms of performance and flexibility.”
Kamil Kovář, Business Consultant, ORBIT
WE CAN DO IT NOT ONLY WITH IT, BUT also WITH PEOPLE
When you are renovating infrastructure, you can label it “We need to fix it” and then hide it somewhere for a few weeks. However, for NTW DC operators, such a procedure does not come in consideration.
Therefore, part of the delivery of our services was the phasing of the application migration so that only the necessary outages would occur. Calm technicians = satisfied project sponsor.
And it wasn’t just about technicians. O2 also praised the influence our experts had on usually uncompromising application administrators. They said they couldn’t get their corporate colleagues to a comparable level of cooperation, while the mandate of a large project and external consultants with real data and experience made things move significantly.
“ORBIT’s key people fit into our team professionally and humanly. They brought a refreshing outside perspective, unencumbered by O2’s operations and internal rules, and over time the line between our employee and contractor basically disappeared.”
Jiří Kouba, Cloud & OSS manager, O2
RESULTS FOR O2
- Converged NTW DC architecture based on VMware vSAN
- Future savings of 57 % processor cores, 41 % physical memory and 35 % maintenance and development costs
- Reducing the risk of avoidable licensing costs for databases and machine middleware
- Created an optimal virtualization plan of applications now running on physical machines
NEXT DIRECTION: MORE AUTOMATION
We concluded the network datacentre consolidation project with a presentation of the future concept (75th project meeting!) on the originally agreed date. Satisfaction with the outputs of mutual cooperation led O2 very soon to consider replatforming other technologies that were not part of the project and to further develop the virtual platform towards greater automation.
Thus, we not only handed over to the client a lot of information and a wealth of our own experience, but also that drop of courage needed in the future to make bold, informed decisions.
This is a machine translation. Please excuse any possible errors.