Each year, our sister publication Computer Dealer News hosts the Channel Elite Awards to recognize IT Solution Provider for their innovation, leadership, and commitment for creating value for their customers. As Canada’s leading IT channel publication, CDN invited solution providers to submit their best work to nine different categories for 2013’s awards. Here, we present the case studies these award nominees put forward to us. Find out who the big winners are on Sept. 11 when CDN presents them at the CEA Awards Gala.

Learn more about CDN’s Channel Elite Awards 2013

Nominee: Audcomp from Ancaster, Ontario

Describe the solution or service provided
One client tasked Audcomp to help them migrate a physical Production SQL Database to VMWare and ensuring the highest I/O possible required for an OLTP database. The main issues that the client was concerned about in implementing this project were: database performance, uptime and reliability, minimizing footprint and ease of backup and recovery. AUDCOMP provided the client a new Fibre Channel based storage array system for their data centre in Niagara on The Lake. For this project, Audcomp designed an HP Server and Storage solution to replace existing hardware that was coming end of life. The solution has ensured performance and reliability of the existing database that was housed on an EMC SAN. Audcomp has worked closely with the client to evaluate and offer input on various solutions and configurations. From researching, designing, implementing and training, Audcomp provided an end-to-end solution to the customer. The implemented solution consisted of many factors that have enhanced the reliability of the solution, improved overall database performance and allowed for future growth as the client’s company expands.

What makes this solution original and innovative?
Audcomp designed and implemented servers, storage and virtualization solutions that have taken into consideration the client’s need. The need was to ensure performance, reliability and manageability at the same time decreasing the cost of the data centre. To replace the EMC SAN, it was decided to go with an HP P6300 SAN. The HP P6300 SAN includes a dual controller for reliability in the case of failure, and improved performance by offering a significant improvement of IOPS over the existing SAN. The configuration of the SAN has included 160 high speed hard disks, an increase of over 150%, which has further increased the IOPS by offering more spindles of disks including in the disk array. We have chosen the P6300 with three variants of disk sizes and opted to supply the Fibre channel only controller which best meets the requirements of the client. For the computing portion of the project, Audcomp chose HP DL380 servers for the processing of the SQL database. The servers include many features for redundancy including dual power supplies, multiple fans, dual CPU’s, mirrored hard disks, etc. As well as many features for enhanced database performance including dual Intel Xeon X5650 CPU’s, 48GB RAM, 160GB FusionIO IO Accelerator card. These servers have VMWare Enterprise Plus installed to allow for further features of reliability and manageability. These also endures backup and data protection, application availability, ability to respond to changing business needs, business continuity preparedness and Company profitability and growth rate. The servers also comes with HP’s Insight Control Management Suite software that allows for further management features such as: power usage measurement , power usage regulation, cost and risks reduction and rack & power planning management. To help with the backup software pricing concerns of QSS regarding their existing Commvault software, Audcomp has introduced the HP D2D disk based backup devices that have alleviated the high cost of licensing. The disk based backup device also has given QSS a layer of disk based backup between the SAN and backup tape giving a disk to disk to tape backup solution that has increased backup and recovery speeds and reliability. Audcomp leveraged the HP solution, which is one of the most innovative solutions in the industry in offering a robust, complete solution that meets or even exceeds all the performance and reliability concerns of the client. Audcomp’s HP certified technicians and HP MASE have been available to help with the server and storage implementation, troubleshooting and planning. At no additional cost, Audcomp provided setup and training to the client’s team.

What were the benefits to the customer’s sales, revenues, and/or efficiency? Provide measurable evidence.
 The storage and virtualization solution that Audcomp designed allowed their client to increase performance, reliability and manageability while reducing overall Datacenter costs. The increased performance and manageability has allowed them to reduce a monthly maintenance window (windows and SQL) from 6 hours to under 3 hours. This has had a huge impact to labour and customer satisfaction, according to the client’s Operations Manager.  Based on the new storage, I/O Accelerator cards and more efficient server technologies, the database performance has improved by more than 10x over the previous solution. This has enable QSS to serve its clients better and also increase their ability to grow their business and grow their customer base. “Our customer base has grown by 20% in less than a year without any further hardware acquisitions. This in turn has had a positive effect on QSS revenue.” he added.

How did your organization achieve customer satisfaction and how was this demonstrated by the customer?
Audcomp achieved great customer satisfaction by providing an end-to-end solution that is customized to best suit the client. In addition to providing the solution, Audcomp offered the client onsite training and set-up, including upgrading all firmware for all components and migrating the data from the old SAN to the new server. To ensure that the their client’s team is familiar with the way the new system has been integrated into the environment as well as of its capabilities for future reference, Audcomp provided the team with a complete training on the new EVA system. This 4 days onsite training (a value of $25,000) enabled the client’s operational team to quickly start running the infrastructure and manage the environment with ease from day one. Additionally, Audcomp helped in racking and stacking the new equipment, including arranging the breakdown of all recyclables and waste for easy removal from the premises. In particular to these service, the client’s Operations Manager provided the following testimonial: “Sales process was thorough, quick and painless. Satisfaction is high with both sales and the ease of setup and management. Storage and virtualization design allowed us to increase performance, reliability and manageability while reducing overall Datacenter costs. The increased performance and manageability has allowed us to reduce a monthly maintenance window (windows and SQL) from 6 hrs to under 3hrs, a huge impact to labour and customer satisfaction. HP Storage, servers, management and VMware integration allowed for quick and easy setup, cutover and monitoring” In a general reference about working with Audcomp, the client also said: ‘Audcomp’s team collaborated with our IT team to understand our goals and strategies. Their consultation and recommendations have led us to develop and maintain a secured network infrastructure.’

Describe the benefits of this solution to your organization in terms of new skills, certifications, products, and services.
New skills achieved – implementation of critical database system in virtual environment, backup and recovery utilizing HP StoreOnce solution.

How did the solution improve your customer’s ability to serve its internal and external clients?
The business benefits of this solution for Audcomp is the strengthened partnership with the client.  Audcomp has won the client’s confidence that they treat Audcomp as their go to Solution Provider from procurement to any services.  With its improved infrastructure, the client has been able to serve its internal and external clients efficiently. The database performance improved by more than 10x over the previous solution based on the new storage, I/O Accelerator cards and more efficient server technologies. Those improvements directly has impacted their ability to serve their clients better. Their clients noticed an improvement immediately upon the completion of the project. This also allowed for QSS to go after new clients with the claim of having the best performance in their market. In one year, their client base was boosted by 20%.

How does the solution or service go above and beyond industry norms and expectations?
Audcomp built this solution from the ground up along with QSS. Audcomp worked with QSS every step of the way in testing, providing industry examples and test cases for the different technologies and verification of all components within the solution. Audcomp has been the trusted IT advisor for the client throughout the project.

How does the solution further your customer’s green or environmentally friendly plans?
As the client puts it: ‘The solution that leveraged HP and VMWare technologies has reduced overall power consumption, cooling needs and reduced hardware requirements, always good for the environment and for our company bottom line’

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