Cities’ needs change and evolve all the time. To help the municipalities it supports deliver better services to citizens, CIMAC must provide flexible IT services that they can always rely on.
CIMAC opened the door to innovation by implementing a complete infrastructure solution based on Cisco and IBM technology, enabling it to better meet the diverse needs of the municipalities it serves.
5xGb/s used—enabling fast, high-performance IT connection for superior citizen services
Boostsinnovation by freeing up time previously spent on management
Enablesa faster response to change, helping the municipalities adapt alongside citizens
Business challenge story
Striking the right balance
Many of us take the municipal services that we rely on every day for granted, but behind the scenes an intricate network of government agencies and systems work together to ensure we can live with security and convenience. Alentejo Central Association of Municipalities, known as CIMAC, is an association of municipalities in Portugal. The association relies on its centralized IT service function, the Technology Center (CTD), to support it in delivering the services that keep the region of Alentejo Central running smoothly.
Rui Barroso, ICT Manager at CIMAC, explains, “CIMAC is built on the premise that a shared system is more cost-efficient and concentrates expertise. Some of the municipalities that we serve are quite small, so it doesn’t make sense for them to run their own IT infrastructure and services. By pooling resources and centralizing IT systems, they gain economies of scale, enabling us to provide maximum value for citizen funding—as well as providing a higher quality of service than they would be able to obtain individually.”
However, balanced with this centralization, CIMAC’s vision is to make the municipalities as autonomous as possible.
“Firstly, it’s important that they control their own objectives, and secondly, we don’t have enough manpower and capacity centrally to fulfil all their IT needs”, notes Rui Barroso. “We had a shared cloud infrastructure with our previous provider, but it lacked self-service provisioning capabilities. We wanted more flexibility—both for delivering the shared services that we manage and offer to the municipalities on a SaaS [software-as-a-service] or PaaS [platform-as-a-service] basis, and for the services that the municipalities manage for themselves through an IaaS [Infrastructure-as-a-service] model.
“We also wanted more resilience and scalability.”
CIMAC began looking for the technology that would enable a private cloud environment that could meet these needs. The organization evaluated options from IBM and HP before selecting VersaStack from Cisco and IBM.
Rui Barroso comments, “We have had an excellent ongoing relationship with Cisco for over 12 years now, so they are a natural choice of partner for us. Since we had also already been using IBM® Storwize® technology for many years, we knew that a solution that featured IBM storage would integrate well with our existing environment. Ultimately, our view was that VersaStack offered the most appropriate architecture for our needs, alongside very low risk because of the unparalleled reputation of Cisco and IBM solutions.”
Combining Cisco server, networking and software components with IBM storage, VersaStack is a complete infrastructure solution delivered as a pre-engineered, tested and supported package. CIMAC further deployed a second IBM Storwize V7000 system to expand its longstanding storage environment, and virtualized its entire storage architecture. This not only ensured that historical data on its legacy storage systems was still accessible, but also protected CIMAC’s existing investment by keeping older equipment in production.
CIMAC further harnessed IBM Easy Tier® technology in its IBM Storwize V7000 system. The IBM Easy Tier function continuously monitors workload, identifies hotspots by analyzing performance and activity statistics, and then moves data up and down the internal tiers as usage patterns change—resulting in greater storage efficiency and better price-performance.
Additionally, the company implemented Cisco UCS Director, as Rui Barroso describes:
“The main differentiator for us in choosing VersaStack was the chance to deploy Cisco UCS Director, which offers automated, unified infrastructure management. This was a key enabler in creating a highly effective private cloud for our customers. We can now offer them each their own service catalog, billing capabilities and a separate view of their own infrastructure.”
Municipalities were able to achieve a rapid deployment of the VersaStack solution, as Rui Barroso explains, “The deployment of the IBM and Cisco solutions was very smooth, thanks to the help of Cisco’s long-term business partner Dimension Data, the data center provider DECSIS, and Cisco. We have already expanded VersaStack by adding extra blades and storage, which was a completely non-disruptive process in every case.”
By enabling CIMAC to better serve its clients, the municipalities, the solution is driving higher-quality services to citizens.
Rui Barroso notes, “VersaStack offers much higher performance than our previous environment, not least thanks to the higher speed connections between the different components. As a result, employees within the municipalities can respond faster to citizen requests, increasing satisfaction with their services.”
The solution is introducing internal efficiencies too, helping CIMAC and its 14 municipalities do more with the same headcount.
“Because VersaStack is so stable and easy to-manage, we have more time to focus on innovation,” says Rui Barroso. “With infrastructure we can rely on, we are able to concentrate on developing and rolling out new services to the municipalities, helping them evolve alongside the populations that they serve.”
CIMAC and its customers, the municipalities, also appreciate the scalability of the solution, as Rui Barroso describes: “As the needs of the municipalities expand, we can easily increase capacity—with VersaStack, we can add compute and storage power without any disruptive impact on existing services.”
He concludes, “The Cisco and IBM solution has exceeded our expectations for availability, performance and ease of management—giving us the tools to raise our game when it comes to providing great services to the municipalities of Alentejo, and ultimately, the people who live there.”
Alentejo Central Association of Municipalities, known as Comunidade Intermunicipal do Alentejo Central (CIMAC), is a public body focused on the development of common interests for the 14 municipalities that make up Alentejo Central. These municipalities have been working together since 1985 on strategic projects to solve common issues and challenges. The Alentejo Central region has always had a strong connection between its local authorities, and CIMAC has offered consistent strong leadership, both political and technical, allowing strategic projects to be developed.
- Govt: Government, State/Provincial/Local Transformation
- Govt: Shared Services
- Storage: IBM Storwize V7000
- Storage: VersaStack
Take the next step
Dimension Data uses the power of technology to help organizations achieve great things in the digital era. As a member of the NTT Group, it accelerates its clients’ ambitions through digital infrastructure, hybrid cloud, workspaces for tomorrow, and cybersecurity. With a turnover of USD 7.5 billion, offices in 58 countries, and 31,000 employees, Dimension Data is one of Cisco's largest global partners with a relationship that extends 25 years. To find out more, please visit the following website: dimensiondata.com/en-UK
To learn more about how IBM and Cisco are working together to develop innovative storage and networking solutions for the data center, contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/versastack or cisco.com/go/versastack
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