Recently we spoke to Adam Orpen at Super Group about some of the challenges faced by ‘Africa’s logistics giant’. He talked us through the opportunities and demands created by rapid business growth, and how Dell consultants helped him create a more efficient, flexible infrastructure.
Johannesburg-based Super Group is an industry leader in supply chain management, and its IT team delivers a high availability environment to sites across South Africa. But rapid growth meant a big challenge for Enterprise Architect Orpen: “We needed more performance and capacity … but we didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Super Group buys and sells subsidiary companies and there’s an associated IT cost every time we do this,” he says.
Dell consultants put forward virtualization as a potential solution. Rather than buying more hardware, the group could extend its use of virtual servers – supporting expansion without sky-high energy costs and extensive space requirements.
An ambitious rollout saw Hyper-V installed at six Super Group sites – three of them major datacentres. The firm now runs 143 virtual machines on PowerEdge R900 servers, connected to Dell/EMC storage area networks. They also installed Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 under the Early Adopter Programme, meeting Super Group’s need for a robust communications platform.
One of the biggest benefits for the team is faster server rollout. Deployment time is now mere minutes rather than three weeks – a massive advantage for a fast-growing, acquisition-based enterprise. The task of juggling server resources has been transformed – it’s quick and cost effective, and it’s given the IT team the flexibility they were looking for. “Dell recommended a Hyper-V farm. As a result, we can provision a new virtual machine in 10 minutes. And, if we sell one of our companies in the future, we won’t be left with hardware we no longer need.” Orpen says.
What makes the project really striking is the fact that Super Group has a higher capacity infrastructure that’s actually much smaller. And the benefits don’t end there – the reduction in server footprint means the team can close an entire datacentre. “We’ve saved lots of space already, and we’re working on the rest. We plan to shut down one of our datacentres soon – we’re definitely going green. Plus, this Dell solution means we save all the energy, cooling and management costs for this facility.”
“We want to reach a stage where we can shut down our datacentres and access all our applications through a hosted cloud environment. We’re looking at Microsoft Online Services – this virtualization project is the first step on that path.”
To read more on Super Group, click here.