Getting Ready for .NEXT

Author: April 15, 2015

An Interview with Derik Davenport, Network Engineer, Serco Inc.

Derik Davenport works for Serco North America as a network engineer. He designs and implements IT solutions for federal customers including the US Air Force and the Department of Health and Human Services. His current project supports the Affordable Care Act and includes a large Nutanix deployment for the customer’s virtual desktops and application server infrastructure. We asked Derik if he could give us an update on his federal client’s recent move to Nutanix. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation.

Q. Why did Serco choose Nutanix?
A. When we are given the requirements for a customer’s problem, we try to create an environment that will perfectly suits their needs. But it’s difficult to build something to the correct size, because the customer doesn’t always know what those requirements are, and it’s usually a moving target anyway. The fact that Nutanix is so granular and can be grown in small or large increments really helps out in engineering an environment that can ‘hit that target’ for the customer. It gives us a lot of advantages over traditional architectures.

Before Nutanix, we had to buy more than we needed so we could have unutilized resources on hand when the demand inevitably came. With Nutanix, we can just buy what we need and easily grow the environment to meet demand. We don’t have to do an entire technology refresh or forklift upgrade when we need more capacity or IOPS, we can just incrementally add a few more nodes. That has been a big benefit for us.

Q. Can you describe your experience working with Nutanix Tech Support?
A. The Nutanix Support team is amazing. I have never spoken to a more knowledgeable support staff. The other vendors always transfer you from primary to second-tier or third-tier support to get an answer. Nutanix makes it very easy to access the ‘smart people’ right from the start. You get access to the engineers and product developers who are actually designing these solutions. It’s night and day compared to other support organizations. And the experience is just as great today as it was two years ago. That great service wasn’t just a ‘new-customer lock-in’ thing. It’s a real differentiator for Nutanix.

Q. Are you going to attend .NEXT in June?
A. Yes, I will be co-presenting a session at the conference this year with Partha Ramachrandran, Technical Lead at Nutanix; and Tim Isaacs, Senior Product Manager. We use the Nutanix data protection feature a lot at Serco. We’ll be talking about a large government project we’ve been working on for a few years. This project is continually changing — we’ve scaled it in a lot of different ways. It has given us a lot of experience, particularly in the all-important government requirement for big data. We have been using just about every feature Nutanix has developed since we started this project. We initially used Nutanix replication while it was still in the command line, and now thankfully it’s all in the GUI which makes it much easier to use. That feature has saved us a lot time and effort. We’d like to share our experience with data protection so that other Nutanix customers can use it too. I’ll be talking about this in my session, but you’ll have to attend to hear more details!

.NEXT is the only conference dedicated to the latest in enterprise datacenter technologies and architectures. Space is limited, so register today and find out what¹s .NEXT for you.

.NEXT Session Abstract: Building a DR Solution the Right Way
Speakers: Partha Ramachrandran, Technical Lead, Nutanix; Tim Isaacs, Senior Product Manager, Nutanix; Derik Davenport, Serco Engineer

Attendees at this technical session will gain an in-depth understanding of how to build a first-class disaster recovery (DR) solution, including site replication strategies, advanced topology structures, recovery mechanisms and scheduling considerations. Nutanix engineers will detail best practices for integrating with third-party DR solutions, and highlight new cloud-based back-up capabilities and Nutanix Metro Availability that ensures application and data availability across datacenters.

This session will cover:

  • Why application SLA requirements drive successful DR strategies
  • How to size your DR infrastructure to support capacity and performance demands
  • The best ways to efficiently manage an enterprise-wide disaster recovery deployment