Despite the ongoing convergence of IT infrastructure, many organizations still find themselves managing compute, storage, and networking systems as independent silos. Such was the case for BluePearl Veterinary Partners, which runs 57 animal hospitals in 18 states.
The company’s shared infrastructure platform “worked fine for our current hub-and-spoke architecture, but couldn’t support our long-term goal of moving to a centralized data center,” says Derek DePasture, senior network engineer at BluePearl. “There was no modular scalability, and each platform was a management silo.”
After two years of growth that saw BluePearl’s business double in size, DePasture and his small team were having trouble keeping up.
“We faced a choice,” he recalls. “We either needed to hire more IT staff or make our environment easier to manage.”
BluePearl chose the latter, seeking a hyperconverged infrastructure platform that could deliver scalability and end-to-end management efficiency.
“We wanted an all-in-one solution that would be data-center ready without spawning new islands of infrastructure,” says DePasture. “Our goal was to eliminate silos, not create them.”
- BluePearl recently standardized on Cisco HyperFlex™ Systems, which combine software-defined networking and computing with a next-generation data platform.
- Engineered on the Intel® Xeon® processor-based Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®), it unlocks the full potential of hyperconvergence and brings new levels of operational efficiency and adaptability to a data center.
Deploying in a day
“Cisco HyperFlex was the perfect fit for us. We can invest once and scale up as high as we need,” DePasture explains. “It’s a better solution from a technical perspective and it makes a lot more financial sense. And we have Cisco support behind us, which gives us a lot of confidence.”
The platform has also delivered tremendous efficiency for BluePearl’s IT staff and its business.
“Cisco HyperFlex took 80 percent less time to deploy than our previous solution, and speed equals efficiency,” says DePasture, noting the solution was unboxed and configured in a single business day. “When you run as lean as we do, every minute is valuable.”
- With single-pane-of-glass management, the platform enabled BluePearl to keep IT headcount flat despite rapid growth as well as avoid hiring three senior-level engineers.
- Instead of being consumed by infrastructure management, the IT team is now focusing on growth and providing excellent user experiences.
“With Cisco HyperFlex, we don’t have to worry because everything is designed to work together, and there are multiple redundancies in place,” says DePasture. “As we grow, we can onboard new sites faster and find new ways to help our veterinarians deliver the best care possible. Where HyperFlex has been deployed, reports from users have been stellar.”
The evolution of data center convergence
The simplicity, economics, and scalability of cloud computing have prompted many IT professionals to ask: “Why can’t we bring those attributes into our own data center?”
With the evolution and maturation of hyperconverged infrastructure systems, now they can.
- The latest generation of hyperconverged systems, such as Cisco HyperFlex™, have completely amalgamated not just compute and storage, but also networking infrastructure.
- Engineered as a single system, they make good on the promise and potential of a fully converged and virtualized data center.
“It’s like a cloud-in-a-box,” explains Kaustubh Das, vice president of product management at Cisco. “And the network is included, so you don’t have to configure anything or set up any VLANs. Just plug it in and it’s ready to go.”
Single pool of resources, single management interface
Built on the Intel® Xeon® processor-based Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®), Cisco HyperFlex allows compute, storage, and networking components to be managed as a single pool of resources. Better yet, they can be scaled independently.
“If you need more compute, you can add more blades or racks. If you need more storage, you can add more drives. If you need more everything, you can add more HyperFlex nodes,” says Das. “But it remains a single, unified system and fabric with a single management interface.”
- Because the network is pre-configured and pre-installed, Cisco HyperFlex acts as a traffic cop that ensures optimum quality of service (QoS) and performance from day one.
- Different levels of bandwidth, latency, and performance can be reserved for management, storage, replication, and other traffic types.
“With hyperconverged systems like HyperFlex, everything becomes faster, more predictable, and easier to manage,” says Das. “Because it’s one unified system and fabric, it coexists seamlessly with your existing environment and is easy to scale. Start with a new workload like VDI, virtual infrastructure, or test/dev, and then expand over time. You’ll never look back.”