IT as rapid responder for business growth

IT as rapid responder for business growth

If you want your IT department to serve as a rapid responder, you need to provide agility. At KEMET, a consolidated data center, new server platform and transformed infrastructure are doing just that.

For KEMET, a leading provider of high-performance capacitance solutions, growth occurs in two ways: organic growth focuses primarily on targeting big opportunity specialty markets including automotive, military, medical, cloud computing providers, and green energy; and, inorganic growth stems from calculated acquisitions.

“Our high-level business objectives are clear: acquire strategically and launch specialty products swiftly to meet cresting opportunities,” says Brian Burch, CIO, KEMET. “So we need to be a rapid responder in how we assimilate changes into our environment–whether it’s a new company, a new product line, a manufacturing change, or stepped up production in a particular plant. The faster we can execute, the faster we can realize the revenue or reduce the cost.”

Consolidation strategy pays off
Burch’s approach to consolidation started with an in-house private cloud for workload and support insight. The goal was to categorize workloads and understand compute requirements fully to evaluate future management options more effectively, including hosted cloud solutions.

KEMET redid its core data center and built a second one for replication, a move Burch justified by channeling budget allotted to third-party disaster recovery to fund the two new datacenters. And the strategy paid off. Burch has two new state-of-the-art data centers with the most current technology. He also improved his recovery footprint significantly–from recovering five percent of production servers in 72 hours to recovering 100 percent of production servers in 12 hours.

When it came time to choose a platform, Burch did his due diligence, and the Intel® Xeon® processor-based Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) moved to the forefront for the following reasons:

  • Beyond price, it provides opportunities to lower operational costs through simplified management, an interface between network and storage for high-density environments, and future technology direction.
  • It offers a high level of accountability in a very supported environment.
  • The collaboration between Cisco and its technology partners means that Burch gets a much cleaner response when he has production issues in his complex environment.

IT groups work better together
Burch is now running all but two of his mission-critical systems on Cisco UCS®, including a new Oracle E-Business Suite. Performance is better. Management is easier. Fault tolerance has improved with the flexibility to move profiles around or recover in the secondary facility.

Burch has also noticed significant changes in KEMET’s infrastructure support model. With the common interface and interconnectedness of the new platform, the server, network, SAN, and storage groups must work together as a finely tuned machine to be successful.

“My IT team now works together much more closely,” says Burch. “As a department, we have enhanced systems awareness, which improves our ability to plan complex implementations or troubleshoot complex problems. We now have to look at our environment from a systems perspective, and it’s been a huge advantage to how we operate.”

Business units appreciate IT agility
With the consolidated data center, new server platform, and transformed infrastructure support model, Burch feels that IT is positioned perfectly to support the business in its strategic growth. IT has renewed agility, the ability to expand or reconfigure the environment, and improved performance. And the business is noticing.

“We’ve turned up several new systems rapidly, which before would have required multiple server installs,” says Burch. “The test and development instances for our new Oracle E-Business Suite were much easier and faster because we had more horsepower and more memory. Validating that and getting it into production quickly was critical because that application is essentially running our business.”

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