Lion Group trusts in Nutanix to build private cloud for new group-wide HR system.
Consolidation of HR systems deployed by individual group operating companies, to be replaced by a group-wide Oracle PeopleSoft system.
Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform with 4 computing nodes and 20TB of storage Hypervisor – Microsoft Hyper-V with SCVMM with Nutanix plugin for System Center.
Application – Oracle PeopleSoft (for 21,000 employees).
- Compute and storage resources converged in compact yet hugely scalable virtual computing platform that can scale as they grow.
- Remote integrated management of compute and storage resources without the need for in-depth separate specialist knowledge.
- PRISM Dashboard allows both VCP and Lion Group to monitor entire infrastructure from a single screen in terms of capacity, usage and growth, thereby allowing future capacity planning and sizing.
- Reduced capital costs: Proposed capital investment of RM1 million ($279,200) replaced by RM300,000 ($83,760) annual spend over three year outsourcing contract. Including bandwidth, hosting and managed services, this equates to a 30% saving over traditional legacy system on premise.
- Reduced operational costs: Move from a capex to opex model together with outsourcing contract and single-pane management resulted in significant reduction in expected operational costs.
- Multi-level support: Nutanix provides L3 Support to VCP which is a Nutanix Authorized Support Partner. VCP provides round the clock support and monitoring for the client with an estimated 2-3 employees from VCP managing the client infrastructure (systems and networking).
- System Center integration: System Center plugin enables remote orchestration and provisioning, to ensure operational efficiency. VCP’s subsidiary Chimes Solutions is also building automated orchestration, provisioning, billing and metering tools on top of System Center for deployment by Lion Group.
Lion Group Background
Established in the 1930s, the Lion Group has since grown to include operating companies worldwide and from its base in Malaysia now has operations in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Myanmar, the USA and Mexico. It is the largest steel manufacturer in Malaysia and also has interests in the retail sector along with property development, mining, agriculture and computer parts manufacturing.
In 1992, the Group ventured into China concentrating on retail and property businesses there. It has five company listings on Bursa Malaysia, three in Singapore, two in Indonesia and one in Hong Kong. Annual group turnover is approximately RM20 billion (US$ 5.6 billion) and the group provides employment for more than 24,000 people worldwide.
Diverse Companies, Diverse IT
Like other large business groups, which have grown through a mix of new ventures, acquisitions and mergers, the Lion Group has, over the years, become reliant on a diverse set of IT systems, implemented and operated by individual group companies. Group CIO, Vincent Lim, was tasked with consolidating these IT resources through the development of group-wide systems that would be both easier to manage, as well as more cost-effective through the economies of scale a shared infrastructure can deliver.
“Each company in Lion Group was running its own IT,” explains Lim, “resulting in duplication of investment which was becoming hard to sustain. It also caused problems in terms of integration and the sharing of data plus, of course, each company needed to employ staff with the skills to operate and manage their own particular systems.”
The Right Platform For The Job
Consolidation of some kind was clearly needed and Vincent Lim and his team spent some months looking at possible solutions. “We wanted to start with an application which was common across all the operating companies,“ continued Lim, “and decided to begin by consolidating Human Resources using a shared Oracle PeopleSoft system. Clearly, we also needed a suitable platform to host this and started off down the traditional server route looking at products from big name vendors.”
The Lion Group was also interested in taking advantage of the Cloud, but Lim had concerns with both public and private cloud technologies.
“We were unconvinced as to the security of public cloud services,” he explained, “but, equally, private cloud alternatives seemed hugely complicated both to deploy and manage on the conventional server platforms proposed.”
Rather than run its own data centre, the decision had been taken early on for Lion Group to partner with a specialist outsourcing company to host the selected infrastructure. It was through that partnership that Lim was first introduced to Nutanix and to VCP, a Nutanix Distributor, Elite Partner, Consulting Partner, Training Center and Authorized Support Partner based in Malaysia. With their help and advice he very soon realised that the Nutanix hyper-converged platform could be just what was required, able to address both the needs of the project and concerns over cloud security and complexity.
“ It was obvious that the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform would deliver all the compute power and storage we required in one easy to install appliance, rather than have to source servers and storage separately. More than that, it would enable us to manage those resources together through one interface and without the need for in-depth knowledge of the technologies involved, as with a storage area network, for example. ”
All Systems Go
Another advantage of the Nutanix approach is that it makes it much easier to build a private cloud, which is exactly what Lion Group wanted and has achieved. In this instance, the Nutanix hardware was installed in a co-location datacentre, but it can be managed remotely by Lion Group staff – the same staff responsible for management of the Oracle PeopleSoft application.
The original plan was to host the HR software on virtual machines running on a VMware hypervisor, but due to cost constraints the project team decided eventually to use Microsoft Hyper-V. Fortunately this change was easily accommodated as, unlike other converged platforms, Nutanix is compatible with all the leading virtualisation environments.
“ The ability to work with either VMware or Hyper-V was a real bonus,” commented Lim, “allowing us to choose the best platform for our project without having to worry about the technical implications. Had we gone with other platforms we would have faced additional hassle and expense. ”
Now up and running, the Oracle PeopleSoft HR system is proving a real hit with Lion Group staff, but it is really only the start. Spurred by the success of this first project, the group has plans to grow the Nutanix infrastructure and consolidate yet more applications onto its group-wide private cloud.