incomm

InComm Breaks through Test and Development Bottleneck with Nutanix Platform

Business Needs

Scalable, high-performance platform for high-quality development and testing environments. Ease of use and re-use through virtualization with very short provisioning times. Low power and space requirements. Flexible enough to serve diverse current and future needs.

Solution

The Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform.

Benefits

  • Pre-integrated for fast deployment
  • VM provisioning reduced from weeks to less than one hour
  • Extremely efficient with space and lowers operating costs
  • Performance sufficient to support up to 400 VMs in a 4-node system
  • Ease of administration – simplifies life for administrators and precludes unnecessary hiring and training costs
  • Top-notch technical support

Company Background

Founded in 1992, InComm is the acknowledged industry leader in prepaid card and transaction technologies. It offers the industry’s largest prepaid product suite, including gift, wireless, games, long distance, music, and reloadable debit cards. Its partners include MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Old Navy, AMC Theaters, Starbucks, and many more household names.

Bottleneck in Software Development

Software testing and development at InComm was falling behind because it took weeks for new test environments to be provisioned. The IT operations group was overwhelmed with demands for new production systems, which had first priority, so fulfilling requests for testing and developing suffered. “The IT group was just overflowed with requests. They needed a way out. They could not keep up with the amount of business being done,” said Gregory Padak, Lead Software Configuration Manager for InComm.

InComm’s prepaid card business is supported by a continual stream of new software applications that are developed and tested in-house and rolled into production. “The activation, redemption, reloading, all of those activities that may go with those cards is supported by InComm,” said Padak. As new opportunities and innovations are identified, software development captures and operationalizes them. However, this development process was being slowed by the inability to provision testing and development environments in a timely manner.

To resolve this bottleneck, InComm needed a server and storage system that could provision a large number of VMs for test and development. Fast rollout was critical to the business. “It could not take up a lot of space, it could not cost much in terms of power and cooling, but it had to serve as many environments as possible under those pretenses,” said Padak.

This is really the best experience I’ve had working with virtualization. As far as a cutting-edge platform goes, Nutanix has been an excellent experience. It’s exactly what I wanted out of working in this industry.

Gregory Padak, Lead Software Configuration Manager

Nutanix “All-in-One” Platform

InComm selected the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform as the best fit for its criteria. The Nutanix converged “all-in-one” platform includes four compute and storage nodes in a compact, efficient 2U form factor, which met space and power requirements. Its exceptional performance from integrated, powerful multi-core processors and flash storage technology supports a large number of test and development environments concurrently. Deployment is fast and easy since the Nutanix platform is pre-integrated, pre-loaded with a VMware hypervisor, and does not require a SAN.

Nutanix pricing is very competitive as it bundles processors, PCIe and SSD flash storage, low-cost SAS or SATA disk drives, and a hypervisor in single appliance. Its SAN-free architecture completely eliminates the expense of a SAN administrator, and its low power and space requirements result in operational savings.

“The key features that allowed Nutanix to be adopted were that it would be quick to implement and not take up much space,” said Padak. “The bang for the buck in terms of datacenter space, power and cooling was astronomically above and beyond other options I knew of. So we could do a lot more, much faster, in less space, with Nutanix.”

Nutanix Surpasses Expectations

The Nutanix platform has performed well beyond expectations, according to Padak. Provisioning of VM test suites is fast and easy, and the deployment time has dropped from weeks to days to less than an hour. “The Nutanix solution provided us an extremely fast spin-up time,” he said. Currently there are 450 VMs running on 4 Nutanix Complete Blocks – with overhead to expand to 600. “We are clearly outclassing what we had anticipated of our capabilities for scaling the system.”

Performance is so fast that software developers are sometimes disappointed when applications finally run in production, on a non-Nutanix platform, because they were actually faster in the testing and development environment.

Nutanix serves many diverse environments – enterprise service management tools, database management systems, VMs as application hosts to multiple development and test projects across the firm, multiple and simultaneous proof of concept (POC) environments. With such a variety of tools and applications deployed on the system, Nutanix has become like an “omni-use platform” for the InComm team. “We have unlimited flexibility which we did not have before,” he said.

Padak added, “This thing operates pretty well out of the box. Most of the administration I do for the system is purely on the VMware side. I do very little with the Nutanix console because there isn’t much to do! That’s definitely a plus and an upside. We didn’t know it was a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ solution.”

When asked to comment on the level of support he and his team have received from Nutanix, Padak said, “We have experienced an extremely responsive support and quick problem resolution from Nutanix.” Highly proficient Nutanix staff can assist remotely and fix problems following appropriate safeguards authorized by InComm. “My satisfaction level with the Nutanix support team is in the superb category. I have not had better support from any supplier of any kind for any development project for anything. As far as the IT industry is concerned, this level of support is extremely remarkable. The day and night coverage that Nutanix provides is very useful.”

We have experienced an extremely responsive support and quick problem resolution from Nutanix. I have not had better support from any supplier of any kind for any development project for anything. As far as the IT industry is concerned, this level of support is extremely remarkable.

Gregory Padak, Lead Software Configuration Manager

Expansion in the Future

The role for Nutanix at InComm is expected to expand in the future along with projects in the testing and development domain. In addition, while the IT operations group is conservative and purposefully slow about making changes to the production environment, the success of Nutanix puts it in favorable light for consideration there. “It solved all of our problems in the test and development environment and was also viewed as a proof of concept for production in the future,” stated Padak.

Reflecting back on the whole experience, he added, “This is really the best experience I’ve had working with virtualization. As far as a cutting-edge platform goes, Nutanix has been an excellent experience. It’s exactly what I wanted out of working in this industry. I wanted to work on something that was top-of-the-line. That sort of thing makes it more fun, more interesting and it’s been a great experience.”