The Hyperconvergence Overhaul That Gave My Team Their Lives Back
Imagine this: It’s 3 a.m. and after a long day, you’re finally sound asleep. Suddenly, your phone rings. Loudly. It’s the office—the server’s gone down. Again. You try to understand your colleague through your grogginess, as the confusion, then panic and frustration begin to rise, followed swiftly by resigned acceptance. You’re going into the office. There’s no other choice. By the time you hurriedly arrive at the office and fix the problem, it’s time for the workday to begin.
You may be lucky enough to simply imagine this. For me and my colleagues at Integreon Managed Solutions, these are our memories.
I’ve been working at Integreon in Mumbai, India, for more than six years now and have moved into the role of Chief Information Officer. I started at Integreon by taking on big-picture projects, such as setting up a state-of-the-art data center in India, improving the uptime of our infrastructure, and replacing our old technology. These were all very exciting projects for our region. Over time, Integreon leadership and our clients recognized the difference these projects were having, and my scope and role evolved to greater responsibilities over time.
My team’s track record of approaching new and complicated projects with full dedication has gained the trust of our clients and Integreon’s management. This is due, in part, to the familial, open mindset and behaviors I choose to employ to lead my team.
A Talented Team Faced with Troubling Technologies
Ensuring the speed and reliability of our global IT and data center infrastructure is a key part of what we do as a team. The headache, however, would come down to the reliability of that infrastructure. At best, I was only able to guarantee 95% uptime, when I’d rather it be consistently at 99% or 100%. We all wanted an ideal, futureproof solution instead.
Our standard legacy systems typically included storage, a couple of servers, all provided by multiple vendors. That whole collection of systems has always been challenging for us to oversee. When we had to open an office with that existing infrastructure, the hardware would fail, causing my team to have to scramble—at all hours—to troubleshoot and restore it.
Ultimately, it made managing the infrastructure much more complicated. It would take six to eight weeks whenever we wanted to upgrade any elements of the infrastructure or server (when management wanted it done overnight). There was clearly a high operational cost associated with our legacy systems, which also impacted current and future scalability. And our customers were clearly affected every time the systems went down. It would create a negative experience.
My Big Decision: The One Encounter That Changed Everything
I always had that in my mind that I wanted to look for something better, that could work for our organization while meeting client requirements. At the end of the day, it’s all about our clients.
We started looking at a couple of options on different technologies on the market. From household names like HPE and Dell, to other, newer technologies like Nutanix. We decided the simplicity of a hyperconverged infrastructure was the right technology for us, because it had the computing, storage, and networking capabilities that suited our needs.
There was a defining moment where I just knew that we would ultimately decide to choose Nutanix. I was attending an IT event in India and Nutanix was part of that event. They had a live showcase of the product. From my first glance at the product, I was immediately impressed with the technology. I had a gut feeling that in six months I am going to implement Nutanix at Integreon.
Their product demonstration gave me confidence in their solution. I clearly remember thinking that I would just love to get that box in my office within the next six months. And, exactly six months later, I did.
Why was I so immediately convinced? After looking at all the other products, I noticed that Nutanix has a simple dashboard and is easy to manage. Its centralized, hyper-virtualization technology is already part of the solution, so I don't have to allocate separate costs for VMware or Hyper-V. That cost consideration was a major swinging point. Nutanix was much more economical. Based on everything, I knew we had to go with Nutanix.
After that gut feeling at the event, I looked at some Nutanix customer case studies, and I spoke to some of my references, including my CIO friends. I had to confirm to management that I finally had something to present to them. Then I had an even bigger, unforeseen challenge: convincing my team to buy into Nutanix.
My Internal Campaign: How I Convinced My Skeptical Team
When I first told the team about Nutanix, they completely rejected the idea. They hadn’t heard of the company before, so there was no legacy or reputation for them to refer back to. This was an entirely new vendor to them, and they were skeptical. And I understood—they didn’t want to make the wrong decision.
Needless to say, they needed some convincing, so we started having more detailed discussions. In fact, I requested that Nutanix host a small workshop for my team to walk them through the actual technology. We conducted a small pilot as well, which ultimately helped convince my team that Nutanix was the best fit for our needs. It actually took only about four weeks from the time I discovered Nutanix to the time I proved the value of the solution. We completed the implementation in 2017.
At first, I was very, very concerned. I was especially worried about the migration process. Moving from an HPE or Dell setup to Nutanix could’ve been technically challenging because different products often don’t “talk” to each other. But when the technical team came on board, they reassured me by showing me the migration plan—truly walking me through it step by step.
Within a day, we migrated more than 30 virtual machines (VMs). Within a week, we had migrated everything. And it only took that long because I wanted to be cautious, so we decided to migrate in phases to test as we went along. The plan was perfect. The execution was very smooth without any downtime—and no impact on the customer. We planned it in such a way that absolutely everything went off without a hitch.
A New, Reliable Reality with Nutanix
My team is now not only convinced, they’re fully on board and thankful for such an elegant, easy-to-use, and reliable solution.
One of the biggest impacts is that we can now do more with less. If someone wants to spin up an environment, for example, I can do it in just a few minutes now. We just turn it on. If there is a business expansion happening, such as the company establishing a new office in a different location, I just have to add an extra node and I'm done.
Nutanix has even helped us make better use of our space and operational costs. I had more than 25 physical servers and now they’re all gone. That significantly reduces your rack space (for us, it went from two to less than a half), your A/C costs, and your overall power consumption. Our overall management of the servers has reduced drastically; at one console, I can see all my servers. All of these changes add up. We have much more flexibility, scalability, and security as a result.
Perhaps the biggest change for my team—and for our customers—is that there is now zero downtime. Uptime has been the largest win for us; Nutanix has never failed once over the past three years. Our customers have more confidence in Integreon, knowing that we have a better infrastructure to support them. It’s a huge win for them (and for us), because it increases their trust in our relationship.
Changing the Quality of Our Lives—One Deployment at a Time
I know the team feels incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved since launching Nutanix. I can hear the confidence in their voices as they talk to colleagues. It’s not an understatement to say that this technology has changed the quality of their lives.
They never knew it was possible to have a peaceful sleep at night without getting calls from the office. They have more dedicated, uninterrupted time to spend with their family and friends. All our lives are so much easier now.
Nutanix has had a huge impact on me as well. I used to spend a lot of time focusing on the operational side because of the outages we used to have. But with our hyperconverged Nutanix infrastructure, I can focus more on strategic projects, pick up more responsibilities, and focus more on customer support. I don't have to spend much time on the day-to-day operations, because the infrastructure is steady and reliable.
Once you get Nutanix configured in the right manner, you are done. Since I picked up more responsibilities, my role has grown. We started in India, then we deployed Nutanix in the US with multiple sites and, despite the additional responsibilities, my life is still easy.
The biggest lesson in all of this is to keep your eyes and ears open all the time. Look at what's happening in the market. It’s very important, because knowledge is power. When we succeed in learning something, we feel better, we feel more confident in ourselves.
That time in our lives where our sound sleep was disrupted by a panicked call from the office is no longer our reality—it’s simply a memory. It never, ever happens anymore. So, finally, my talented team can rest easy.