Every business is unique, so cloud services providers must cater to a wide range of client needs. But how can they choose infrastructure that enables personalization without sending costs soaring?
Meridian IT Inc. ramped up the versatility and ease of management of its cloud solutions portfolio with IBM® Storage technology, helping it support diverse client needs without driving up pricing.
35% growthin last three years facilitated by leveraging breadth of the IBM Storage portfolio
Zeroservice disruption during backups and rapid response times enhance client satisfaction
22% increasein cloud services orders year-over-year
Business challenge story
Staying one step ahead
Expectations of cloud service providers are changing: clients don’t just want technology specialists, they now want them to understand and adapt alongside their businesses too. Most providers can’t get away with rolling out a one-size-fits-all solution – companies demand infrastructure that is tailored to their needs, won’t impede growth, and allows them to maintain their current strategy.
Joe Jones, Senior Director, Global Cloud Technologies, Meridian IT Inc. (Meridian IT), explains: “We’ve been designing and architecting IT systems with a focus on solving business challenges forever. This heritage and base of knowledge gives us an advantage over born-in-the-cloud providers.”
Tom Horan, Senior Director, Cloud and Managed Services, picks up the story: “To build on this advantage, it’s vital that we move with – and even ahead of – the market. We wanted to make sure that we could create environments to suit a wide range of client needs, and that we had sufficient control to make changes to keep pace with customers’ businesses. We’re also conscious that many of our clients have limited budgets, so we had to find technology that offers efficiency alongside ease of management.”
Making strategic choices
Meridian IT counts on IBM Storage and IBM Power Systems™ solutions to support its suite of enterprise-class cloud services. To support this environment and its other platforms, the company expanded its storage environment by implementing IBM Storwize® V7000F solutions.
“IBM Power Systems have been a cornerstone of our business since the early days,” recalls Joe Jones. “Power Systems give us an edge over our competitors, as we can tap into the breadth of clients that rely on IBM i on Power Systems for their most critical applications, and now want to modernize their data centers.
He continues: “We originally selected IBM Storage because it works so well with the IBM POWER architecture, but it’s role has grown – it’s now an essential part of what sets us apart from competitors.
“Over time, we’ve developed a close strategic alignment with IBM: as they formulate new strategies or offerings, we adjust our own roadmap to match, an approach that has served us well.”
Investing in versatility
During its most recent technology refresh, Meridian IT worked with IBM Systems Lab Services and Training to deploy IBM Power Systems S814 and IBM Power Systems S822 servers running the IBM i operating system.
“The Power Systems S814 and S822 servers provide industry-leading performance combined with high efficiency – precisely what our customers are looking for,” says Tom Horan.
Josh Sargent, Director of Enterprise Engagements, adds: “The IBM Storwize V7000 is the all-around utility player within the Meridian cloud environment. Its flexibility makes it an indispensable platform for us. We can start with a very small system and scale both up and out as needed. With it, we can virtualize other storage arrays, perform non-disruptive data migrations and support our many IBM i workloads natively.
“We can configure a V7000 as a high-performance all-flash array for database workloads or an extremely dense, high-capacity array for archival purposes. No other midrange platform can match the combination of performance, capability, and value of the V7000 in our environment.”
Offering clients new value
Meridian IT relies on the IBM Easy Tier® feature to lighten the administrative load on its team, while raising service levels. Easy Tier automatically moves the most frequently accessed data to the fastest storage, for continuous performance optimization.
Joe Jones elaborates: “With Easy Tier, we can accept 99 percent of client workloads, certain that we can deliver the response times they expect with no questions. As a result, it speeds up our deployments and allows us to support clients with confidence.”
With IBM FlashCopy®, Meridian IT can take regular copies of client environments without interruption, offering them resilience and service continuity. The company combines this functionality with the remote mirroring built into IBM Storwize systems to carry out maintenance and upgrades with minimal impact on clients. Meridian IT harnesses these features to support disaster recovery, high availability and backup-as-a-service offerings.
“FlashCopy offers a big advantage, especially for clients that require 24/7 availability for their systems,” remarks Tom Horan. “As it allows us to create full copies of data that are available for immediate read and write access, we don’t have to carry out a full save/restore. This saves considerable time and effort, and allows us to work within very tight maintenance windows. Similarly, easy replication helps us minimize risk when onboarding new clients, as well as supporting our suite of DR and HA services, which represent an additional source of revenue for us.”
Capturing new client segments
Backed by IBM solutions, Meridian IT can build cloud environments suited to a broader range of clients, and adjust them quickly and easily. The keen pricing and versatility of Meridian IT’s cloud services have helped the company access new parts of the marketplace.
Joe Jones explains: “We’re bringing enterprise cloud services to companies that may never have considered them before, due to either their size or niche requirements. Supported by cost-effective and flexible IBM technology, we can help clients take their businesses to the next level – alongside ours. Our IBM Storage solutions give us what every cloud service provider needs to compete in today’s dynamic marketplace: agility. As our clients’ strategic priorities shift, we can tune their environments to ensure they meet new demands and can capitalize fully on opportunities.”
Growing revenue without increasing costs
The high availability and easy management of the IBM technology help Meridian IT exceed client service level agreements, all while keeping prices competitive. For example, the company can manage almost a petabyte of client data across multiple storage environments with no dedicated administrator.
“We’ve experienced zero unplanned downtime for our Storwize platforms, allowing our clients to trust that they’ve chosen the right partner for their businesses,” says Joe Jones. “Crucially, the built-in, intuitive management tools enable us to offer exceptional levels of service at low internal cost, which translates into fees that make financial sense for our customers. We can even take comprehensive copies of client environments for backup and DR with zero disruption, which is an example of new billable services driven by IBM technology.”
Tom Horan adds: “Through organic growth and a lot of hard work, we’ve grown by 35 percent in the past three years, and our cloud services orders have increased by 22 percent year-over-year. Making the right infrastructure decisions has played a significant part in our success, and IBM has been our principal vendor during our rapid expansion.”
About Meridian IT Inc.
Meridian IT is a member of Meridian Group International, operating worldwide. Focusing on our core competencies: cloud services, data center, security and risk management, and unified workspace, we provide flexible IT solutions with leading vendors, managed services, deployment options, ongoing maintenance and global support. As part of a group that offers equipment leasing, clients leverage our comprehensive portfolio, capabilities, and industry insights to support their business initiatives and growth.