SIPCOM cut costs with storage and server upgrade

Hosting provider SIPCOM cut its licensing costs, and improved SaaS delivery for customers thanks to these infrastructure upgrades.

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Hosting firms searching for ways to cut costs should look no further than the recent moves by SIPCOM.

By upgrading its storage and server infrastructure, SIPCOM says it improved software as a service (SaaS) delivery for customers and cut its own licensing costs in half.

SIPCOM hosts Microsoft Lync environments for its customers, including system integrators, telecom providers and resellers.  But its existing IT infrastructure used to host the unified communications platform wasn’t capable of supporting its customers’ growing needs. In addition, the distributive IT systems meant high Microsoft licensing costs.

“The architecture we were using didn’t have the density or the cores that can help our business scale,” said Daniel Allen, SIPCOM’s chief executive. “Neither was it flexible and standardised.”

SIPCOM’s IT team chose Dell PowerEdge R815 servers and Dell Compellent virtualised storage platforms to host the Microsoft Lync environment. It virtualised with Microsoft Hyper-V.

“We approached three of the top vendors including HP, but only Dell was offering the server combined with storage capabilities we wanted,” Allen said.

Selecting Hyper-V was a straightforward choice, Allen said.  SIPCOM host Microsoft platforms and know their products well, he added.

Upgrading cuts licensing costs in half
In addition to helping customers with better SaaS capabilities, the strategic project has brought benefits to SIPCOM’s own bottom-line. The IT department has reduced data centre rack space, saving on power costs and minimising operating expenditure.  

Most importantly, the new architecture has helped SIPCOM reduce costs for Microsoft licensing by 50%. This is because Microsoft software is typically licensed per CPU, Allen said.

“The 12 cores -- now 16 cores in the latest hardware revisions -- in the R815s have enabled us to get high compute power from a relatively small number of CPUs,” Allen said.

With a standardised and scalable infrastructure in place, SIPCOM’s IT team plans to expand services to include backup as a service (BaaS) and desktop as a service (DaaS) to its customers.

Seeking thin provisioning, automation and multi-tiered platform
SIPCOM’s IT team wanted high-density servers and a virtualisation platform that provides higher average hardware utilisation, repeatable deployment with more automation and therefore higher uniformity -- all key aspects to deliver better services to its customers.

“Dell Compellent storage with its thin-provisioning virtualised storage, and its snapshotting capabilities enabled us to deploy template Hyper-V VMs in seconds,” Allen said.

The IT team started the project in November 2011 and now, five months later,  has an infrastructure with the power and density to support over 200,000 users with Microsoft Lync services as well as host other SaaS environments, including Microsoft Exchange 2010, Microsoft SharePoint 2010, and backup services – all on a single platform.

SIPCOM’s IT infrastructure project has given the company a versatile storage architecture including automated tiering and thin provisioning. These capabilities helped SIPCOM meet the needs of customers with various service requirements, Allen explained.

Some customers prefer to buy storage in bulk, while others buy storage per gigabyte. The multi-tiered and scalable IT environment allows SIPCOM’s customers to benefit from eliminating wasted capacity and using variable payment models.

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