On the case: MICROS-Fidelio books a major network upgrade with HP

17 Aug 2012

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MICROS-Fidelio provides business applications to hospitality and retail industries in more than 130 countries across the globe, and Dublin is one of its key centres. In addition to providing software, hosting customers’ hardware on a centralised converged infrastructure forms an integral part of the organisation’s long-term IT strategy to provide solutions based on standardised technologies, optimised tools and automated processes.

THE CHALLENGE

Demand for the company’s hosted services had been increasing by more than 30pc annually over the past number of years, explains Karoly Laczi, technical director of hosted services at MICROS-Fidelio (Ireland). “Seven years ago we started hosting with 70 servers, today we have 2,100. It’s significant growth in seven years.”

MICROS-Fidelio’s centralised system currently hosts hardware for more than 3,000 hotels across Europe, and this figure is expected to rise significantly as the business expands into emerging markets such as Eastern Europe. This made a network upgrade essential in order for MICROS-Fidelio to boost IT functionality and reliability while driving down costs.

THE STRATEGY

Having originally used Cisco technology extensively in its network, MICROS-Fidelio took the decision to work with a single supplier for many parts of its infrastructure. “The idea behind choosing one vendor, is that there’s no finger pointing. We can look to one vendor for a solution,” says Laczi.

By combining purchasing power into a single country, Ireland, MICRO-Fidelio also benefits from competitive pricing and high levels of support within HP’s in-country operation.

THE SOLUTION

MICROS-Fidelio chose a resilient networking solution based on HP FlexNetwork architecture to support its business-critical applications. In each of the company’s two zero-tolerance data centres, an HP 5800 switch will provide the bandwidth necessary for secure, high-speed communications, while 24 intelligent HP 5120 switches ensure maximum reliability by eliminating loops in the network. In the time since the new infrastructure went live, there have been no issues, reports Laczi.

HP Technology Services implemented the new HP Networking solution and provided specialist training courses for MICROS-Fidelio’s IT system administrators. HP Care Pack Proactive 24 services will support and maintain the entire HP Converged Infrastructure for the next five years. HP Financial Services will provide end to end revolving finance solutions to help MICROS-Fidelio drive down costs.

MICROS-Fidelio’s data centres contain 50 HP ProLiant BladeSystem c7000 enclosures housing about 600 HP ProLiant BL465 G7 and HP ProLiant BL685c G7 server blades running the Oracle Application Server platform, Oracle Real Application Clusters and MICROS-Fidelio’s Applications for Hotel Operations. HP Virtual Connect allows system administrators to rapidly deploy, replace and recover servers and their workloads across data centres without jeopardising availability and network configurations. HP Insight Control software detects potential issues, aids rapid server provisioning and optimises power and cooling. HP StorageWorks XP24000 Disk Arrays provide 300 TB of storage capacity, and their data replication capabilities ensure business continuity.

THE BENEFITS

The new network will integrate seamlessly with MICROS-Fidelio’s existing HP Converged Infrastructure. Already it’s claimed to have lowered managed downtime by 20pc, increased employee productivity by 35pc and cut database and application server deployment times by 50pc.

The HP network infrastructure will deliver the resiliency, capacity and scalability to support MICROS-Fidelio’s business-critical applications. To simplify administration and ease the workload on the company’s IT team, the entire network will be centrally controlled by HP Intelligent Management Centre (IMC) software which unifies the management of network resources, services and users.

“We selected HP Networking because it offers an easy-to-manage solution based on open standards that can be scaled to meet the growing demands on our IT infrastructure,” says Laczi. At a technology level, the stacking capabilities on the HP switches are more advanced than the previous systems, he adds. “There’s no need to buy additional software. That’s just one example of where we’ve become more efficient.”

Another challenge in the project was convincing the IT team that a HP-powered network would be up to the task. “We organised a workshop, hands on experience with HP kit, so it was not a management decision handed down. The technical team was really happy with the solution,” says Laczi.

THE VERDICT

When designing the infrastructure, care was taken to ensure that one device is responsible for one function. That was a deliberate choice, says Laczi. “We try to use the minimum features possible because this is our main infrastructure, and we need it not to go down. It’s more important to make sure the switches are working and to reduce risk. There are some must-haves and nice-to-haves and we prefer the must-haves.”

The €800,000 contract price comprises the network equipment and the implementation project, in a data centre that has more than €20m worth of hardware and storage. Laczi calls the HP FlexNetwork solution “a small but important piece of the puzzle”.

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