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Serco Calls on Nutanix for Rapid Web-Scale VDI

Business Needs

Needed to quickly deploy server and storage infrastructure to efficiently support new customer call centers with thousands of virtual desktops and web applications.

Solution

Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform
NX-3000 Series and VMware Horizon View 5.3.

Benefits

  • Deployed 4,000 virtual desktops across 4 sites in record time
  • Reduced TCO of servers and storage infrastructure by 2 fold.
  • Increased VDI user density by 2:1 vs. traditional blade servers and SAN
  • Gained ability to linearly scale without a huge upfront cost

Background

Serco Inc. is a leading provider of professional, technology, and management services focused primarily on the federal government sector. Based in Reston, Virginia, Serco’s customer-first approach, extensive portfolio of services, and global experience have made them one of the world’s most admired service companies. Serco now employs approximately 10,000 business service professionals in over 100 locations across North America, serving all branches of the U.S. military, federal civilian agencies, state and local agencies, and commercial customers. Visit www.serco-na.com for more details.

Josh Sinclair is a VMware-certified networking engineer at Serco, focusing on the company’s virtual call center service offerings. “Serco Call Centers are one of the largest packaged services offerings we deliver to our clients,” Sinclair explained. “We recently received an assignment to build out four new call centers from scratch with over 4,000 desktops in just three months. In order to meet the aggressive timeframe, we had to make sure we had the right storage and server IT infrastructure in place before we embarked on the new project.”

Deciding on a Cost-Effective Platform

As part of their evaluation for this critical new environment, Serco evaluated several infrastructure and storage options, including the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform. “I was intrigued by Nutanix’s efficient approach of converged compute and storage in one appliance,” Sinclair reported. “The Virtual Computing Platform appeared to be a perfect fit for our new call center project.” Serco was able to virtualize desktops at a lower cost. The cost of the SAN and server infrastructure on its last project was 200% more per desktop compared to Nutanix on this new project. Serco is now running its entire VDI environment on the Nutanix platform, in addition to several proprietary call center applications.

Nutanix has enabled us to implement true software defined infrastructure. It’s all about applications and desktops. With Nutanix, we don’t think about managing hardware, we think about delivering services.

Josh Sinclair, Network Engineer

Achieving Faster Deployments and Web-Scale Flexibility

The simplicity of the Nutanix platform has completely transformed customer deployments for Sinclair and his team. “As soon as the Nutanix systems arrive, we plug them in, give them IPs, and are up and running in less than an hour,” Sinclair reported. “I can now ship a Nutanix system out to a customer destination – anywhere in the world – and configure it remotely.”

“The linear scaling of the web-scale infrastructure model prevents us from making a worst case scenario purchase.” “With Nutanix, I can buy based solely on my current needs, and easily scale when I need to – enabling us to rapidly adapt to new requirements. Nutanix takes scalability to the next level. After having experienced web-scale infrastructure, it is our new model for deployment.” explained Sinclair.

Reducing Datacenter Footprint

The Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform also provides high performance in a compact form factor. The converged Nutanix solution has enabled Serco to achieve a 2:1 reduction in datacenter footprint, versus best-in-class servers and SAN. “The Nutanix pay-as-you-grow model ensured the best utilization of our precious datacenter space. This was key because we did not want the cost of a larger datacenter at remote locations,” added Sinclair.

Simplified Management and Reporting

Serco is using Nutanix VM-centric replication to migrate applications between datacenters. “With our old SAN, we had to shut down the entire application during the migration period.” Sinclair explained. “Now we can use the Nutanix VM-centric replication to pre-stage a site. We simply take a Nutanix VM-centric snapshot, replicate it over, power it up on the other side, and the migration completes with only minutes of downtime.”

Nutanix has also streamlined troubleshooting and reporting for the Serco team. “With the Nutanix Prism Management Framework, I can easily create infrastructure and VM-centric reports in minutes, compared to several hours with traditional tools. With the simplicity and visibility of the Nutanix platform, we can manage over 4,000 virtual desktops with just four system administrators.”

With Nutanix, I can buy based solely on my current needs, and easily scale when I need to – enabling us to rapidly adapt to new requirements. Nutanix takes scalability to the next level. After having experienced web-scale infrastructure, it is our new model for deployment.

Josh Sinclair, Network Engineer

Concluding Thoughts

Sinclair concluded, “Nutanix has enabled us to implement true software-defined infrastructure. We are changing how we deploy VMs and add desktops. It’s all about applications and desktops. With Nutanix, we don’t think about managing hardware, we think about delivering services.”