Recently, a customer of ours had a deadline that was coming toward them very quickly and he needed to find a solution. For years they had had been in a hosted IT environment and had decided to bring their environment back in house. They had the datacentre setup and Intel environment sorted but weren’t sure what to do with the ERP system.

The ERP system was hosted on a dated IBM Power 4+ machine at AIX OS level 5.2, this equipment was not owned by the customer. Originally they wanted a refurbished IBM Power 5 machine – they came to the right place! Our customer had doubts around whether the ERP application would run on a later version of AIX which is why he was looking at a refurbished machine. They were planning to move the ERP system off AIX in the future. This transition was estimated to take twelve months and they were looking for a machine to run the ERP system until this transition took place. Our customer was mindful of the cost of the equipment as it may only be needed for twelve months and wanted to make sure that whatever equipment they got could be up and running in time to meet the deadline.

We came back with some budget numbers on what a used machine would cost. The used equipment was well within his budget but we hit a snag when it came to maintenance. The ERP system is a critical system and needed to have IBM Hardware and Software Maintenance. The IBM Power 5 machine is now quite an old piece of equipment and the cost to have this equipment under maintenance reflected this.  We went through the proposed used option and talked about the possibility of running AIX 5.2 on a WPAR sitting on a new IBM Power 7+ machine. The customer decided to go back and talk this through with the team and in the meantime we would get together some budget numbers to determine whether it was financially viable.

On comparing the budget numbers for the IBM Power 7 system our customer was surprised that it was almost half the cost of the used machine and had an RPERF rating that was nearly double that of the current environment. A conference call with our technical specialists was organised and we were able to go through everything in depth and answer the questions that the team had. During this call we found out that the application could run on AIX 6.1 and it was decided that the best way forward would be to upgrade their OS from AIX 5.2 to 6.1. Computer Merchants offers these upgrade services to make this transition even easier. Everybody was excited to keep moving forward with the new alternative.

One of the other pain points our customer had was how hard it was to find AIX skills these days and was worrying that the internal team had limited knowledge. They did not have this risk when it was being hosted and it did worry them that one day if something went wrong they didn’t have an internal resource and didn’t know who they could call. They also mentioned that their environment was changing so quickly and they didn’t know what they would be doing even next year. They were still evaluating the future of the ERP and whether it would stay on AIX and it made little sense to invest in infrastructure that may be not needed in twelve months. We needed to address this pain point and started looking at working the customer’s requirements into an Infrastructure as a Service model to see if this would be a better fit.

After working together with the customer on this we were able to build an Infrastructure as a Service agreement that would suit the individual customer’s needs. Computer Merchants would buy and own the infrastructure, the infrastructure would sit in the customer’s datacentre, Computer Merchants would provide the setup and configuration services that the customer needed and the customer would have a dedicated helpdesk number to call for any support issues down the track. This is a twelve month agreement and at the end of this our customer can assess what they want to do with their ERP application.

Instead of taking the cookie cutter approach we listened to what the customer was saying and were able to not only find the right technology for him but package it in the best possible way that would meet his business needs.

If you would like to find out more about Infrastructure as a Service, please give us a call. This type of model can be used across many different types of technology and the services and level of support can be customised to suit your business needs.

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