For businesses running systems on specialized platforms like IBM i, retaining the required skills and keeping up-to-date can be challenging—potentially putting mission-critical applications at risk.
Using versatile IBM Power Systems, Ensono introduced a new managed cloud service for IBM i—enabling it to better cater to leading businesses’ heterogeneous environments.
Enablesclients to make six figure CapEx savings
Helpsensure always-on availability and boosts system performance
Increasesscalability and flexibility of services, helping to match needs with budgets
Business challenge story
Meeting complex needs
Increasingly, businesses are streamlining their operations by outsourcing IT infrastructure to specialist managed service providers. However, if your business uses established best-of-breed technologies, such as IBM i, to run mission-critical systems, finding a service provider with offerings tailored to your needs can be difficult. As most cloud service providers offer only generic x86 server platforms, opportunities to reduce costs by moving to cloud services are few and far between. Particularly for smaller companies, retaining the right skills in-house can be challenging, and one common outcome is that your systems may lag behind the current version and be at risk of falling out of official support.
Recognizing that many potential clients were running high risks by failing to upgrade their IBM i landscapes, Ensono set out to make a robust, fast and flexible managed service available to these businesses that have traditionally been unable to outsource their IT environments.
Steven Lord, Senior Product Manager at Ensono, says: “At Ensono we offer a wide range of managed and hosted IT solutions from mainframe solutions to the public cloud, and pride ourselves on delivering support for businesses with true enterprise-class infrastructure, including support for IBM AIX®, IBM i and IBM z Systems®. Additionally, we also offer clients dedicated systems as well as Remote Infrastructure Management to meet their business needs.
“At present, many companies using IBM i face a particular set of challenges. The skilled labor force for maintaining IBM i is diminishing, and the costs of maintaining in-house data centers are rising. On top of this, training new staff on these systems is labor-intensive and expensive.
“Of course, businesses facing these issues could migrate their infrastructure to different systems. But to do this involves huge risks and potentially huge costs, eating up valuable capital expenditure [CapEx] that could be invested into more value-added activities. For many companies, investing in new hardware can often mean buying into redundant capacity and increased power costs too. Equally, there are large numbers of organizations with relatively small applications running on IBM i that are critical to the business. For these companies, even the smallest new server on the market may be over-sized for their needs, with the result that they stay on old hardware and previous unsupported versions of IBM i, increasing their risk.”
Building on its decades of experience with IBM i, Ensono set out to build a multi-tenant cloud landscape running on the latest IBM Power Systems servers. By extending its cloud offerings to businesses using the IBM i platform, exclusively or as part of a hybrid architecture, Ensono would empower them to make significant CapEx savings.
Ensono deployed IBM Power System S814 servers to host its new multi-tenant cloud environment, expanding its existing infrastructure and further diversifying its service offerings.
Lord explains: “We operate four large production data centers in the US and three in the UK, in which we manage up to 18,000 client databases and a massive ten petabytes of storage, with virtual and physical servers running multiple operating systems—and we are always adding to this as our clients’ needs grow.
“The mature virtualization on Power® enables us to create multiple logical partitions in our Power S814 servers, which we dedicate to our clients’ data and processes. These environments are completely flexible, so we can scale the capacity up or down in line with our clients’ needs and to help them meet seasonal spikes in workload.”
The IBM Power Architecture® keeps each logical partition completely independent and isolated, providing high security for clients’ data and processes, and ensuring that an elevated workload on one client’s virtual server does not degrade performance for any other clients.
Lord says: “We’re really pleased to be offering a managed cloud service running IBM i, which offers equally impressive capabilities as the IBM Power Systems hardware—both software and hardware work together harmoniously, making it easier for us to offer exceptionally high service levels at low cost to our clients. Not only is IBM i one of the most reliable, trusted and established platforms available, it is also flexible and adaptable—perfect for developing new features and applications.
“For Ensono, one of the best features of IBM i is that it is a completely modern operating environment that can be easily integrated via APIs to other systems and services. For many of the clients we’re targeting, this and other features of the latest version of IBM i are, potentially, real eye-openers. For some businesses that have been thinking about migrating to other platforms, these new connectivity options in IBM i could eliminate any concerns and enable them to achieve everything they want without the cost and risk of migration.”
Empowering client success
Ensono’s new IBM i cloud offerings enable clients to benefit from the latest version of the operating environment, running on the latest hardware, with full expert support and extremely favorable pricing.
“From Ensono’s perspective the IBM Power S814 equips us with a standardized set of management tools that enable us to manage our systems and our clients’ workloads quickly and easily,” notes Lord.
“When our clients migrate critical systems running on older versions of IBM i from their on-premises data center to our cloud environment, they transform the way they manage the cost of their IT systems. Those clients have typically had a CapEx model, in which maintaining on-premises infrastructure diverts a large portion of their capital away from investment in value-add areas.
“With the IBM i cloud from Ensono, our clients can move to a monthly operational expenditure cost-model for their IT infrastructure, freeing up more capital for them to invest directly into their core business and competitive differentiators. Indeed, we helped one leading manufacturing company achieve just this, saving them half a million dollars in CapEx.
“What’s more, for clients that wish to keep their IT infrastructure in-house we offer remote managed services, so clients can enjoy the cost benefits of outsourcing their IT management while making the most of their previous investment in IT infrastructure.”
Not only does Ensono empower its clients to make substantial savings in CapEx, it provides them with higher-quality services, enabling them to utilize cutting-edge technology and up-to-date software, backed by expert support.
Lord remarks: “When our clients engage our services, they do so to access top-end technology as well as make significant savings. With IBM Power S814 servers hosting isolated virtual environments on IBM i, we can offer our clients unparalleled scalability. The IBM technology enables us to easily accommodate our clients’ requirements to scale their infrastructure up or down in response to changing patterns of demand—and to flex their costs at the same time. What’s more, when clients running IBM i migrate to our services, they benefit from upgrading to the latest version of IBM i—increasing performance and flexibility while unlocking new features.
“In addition to building the new IBM i cloud offering, our IBM Power S814 servers have given us a platform to further develop our disaster recovery and back-up options. We now offer a wider range of disaster recovery and back-up features, enabling businesses to determine how often they want to back up data and what fail-over options they wish to implement.”
Lord concludes: “In the coming months, we expect to quadruple the size of our IBM i cloud environment by adding new Power Systems servers. The economies of scale that we can achieve as a service provider make it possible for our clients to move very economically to the latest hardware and software, removing the need to make large capital investments or to maintain costly on-premises expertise for what may be relatively small systems. We can provide whatever fraction of a server these clients need, so that they don’t pay for capacity they aren’t using, and we can flex that capacity up and down as their needs change.”
For business leaders managing lots of complexity or disrupting the status quo, Ensono delivers complete Hybrid IT solutions and governance, from cloud to mainframe, tailored to each client’s journey. Whether companies are leveraging the power of the cloud or modernizing legacy technologies, they’ll be on track to operate for today and optimize for tomorrow. Some of the world’s most successful companies rely on Ensono to help them be great at what they do. Ensono has over 1,000 associates across North America and Europe and is headquartered in greater Chicago, IL.
- IBM Power Systems running IBM i