Three Examples Show How Microsoft Is Gaining Ground in the Cloud

by Calvin Nieh, Microsoft Solutions Marketing, NetApp

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Cloud Management In A Hybrid Cloud World

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A few years ago, a VMware software stack was the de facto standard for most IT organizations when it came to building private clouds. Today, however, cloud architects are reconsidering their options and many are moving to Microsoft with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center.

Why? There are three main reasons:

At NetApp, we are working with an increasing number of customers who want to deploy private clouds based on Microsoft stacks. The following examples show how three companies took different approaches to integrating Microsoft cloud technology with NetApp® unified storage.

Case Study 

Key Applications

Cloud Stack

Data Storage and Management

Jack Wolfskin

ERP, SQL Server, 
Exchange, SharePoint

System Center, 
Hyper-V, WS 2012

NetApp FAS, Data 
®, OnCommand®

King County

SQL Server, SharePoint, 
.NET, Custom Apps

System Center, 
Hyper-V, WS 2008

NetApp FlexPod
®, Data ONTAP, OnCommand

Eagle Copters

SQL Server, Oracle, SharePoint, Lynx, 
Exchange, Citrix

System Center, 
vSphere, WS 2012

NetApp FlexPod, Data ONTAP, OnCommand

Virtual Warehouse Based on a Microsoft Stack at Jack Wolfskin
Jack Wolfskin is a leading provider of outdoor clothing and equipment, based in Idstein, Germany. The IT team faced the challenge of re-architecting its infrastructure to support rapid business growth while also consolidating IT operations to reduce costs. Severin Canisius, senior IT manager at Jack Wolfskin, notes, “The only way we could afford to expand internationally was to build a virtualized infrastructure for our warehouse applications.”

To meet the challenge, the team virtualized nearly 80% of its application environments on Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V, including the ERP system, SQL Server databases, file servers, Web servers and virtual desktops.     

The IT team uses Microsoft System Center to manage the private cloud and relies on the NetApp Data ONTAP PowerShell Toolkit to automate storage provisioning and data protection. Critical applications are synchronously mirrored to a remote site to provide continuous availability, and application-consistent Snapshot copies are used to optimize backups and restores across the virtual environment.

Drive down costs and increase IT efficiency with a prevalidated private cloud design

A shared storage infrastructure has been critical to the success of the virtual warehouse project, and the company has been able to more than double its package shipments without increasing the IT budget or staffing levels. A flash-accelerated NetApp FAS system has improved data access times by a factor of 10, contributing to significant time savings for the company’s warehouse operations. With improved system performance, shipping containers are unloaded five times faster and complex orders that used to require more than a day to assemble are now ready for shipment in just 45 minutes. 

Private Cloud on a Converged Infrastructure at King County
King County in the state of Washington is the 14th-most populous county in the U.S. To deliver better value to taxpayers, CIO Bill Kehoe and his team embarked on a private cloud project. The goal was to provide centralized control and multi-tenant IaaS services for a wide range of county applications. King County chose to build its cloud using a Microsoft software stack running on FlexPod, an integrated system architecture based on Cisco UCS servers, Cisco Nexus switches and NetApp storage.

“Using FlexPod as the basis of our standard virtualized environment, we’re consolidating and simplifying rather than continually creating a more complex architecture,” says Bob Micielli, enterprise technical services manager. This approach has enabled King County IT to consolidate from 48 data centers down to two, resulting in total-cost-of-ownership reductions and efficiencies of $700,000 annually.

FlexPod as a Platform for a Hybrid Cloud at Eagle Copters
The challenge for the IT department at Eagle Copters Ltd. (Eagle) was the time spent on break/fix activities for its aging infrastructure, which made it nearly impossible to support new programs to enable strategic business initiatives. “When I joined Eagle Copters, I literally had difficulty sleeping at night,” says Glenn McConnell, director of IT.

Working with a FlexPod-certified reseller, Calgary, Alberta-based Eagle decided to deploy a prebuilt, converged infrastructure for its private cloud based on an architecture validated by Cisco and NetApp. As a result, the IT team has been able to introduce new applications, improve security, automate manual tasks and focus more effectively on improving the overall business.

Along with the new FlexPod converged infrastructure, Eagle signed a Microsoft enterprise agreement that reduced licensing costs and enabled the company to take advantage of both cloud-based and on-premises solutions. “We are implementing Microsoft System Center for our management capabilities,” McConnell says. “Because Microsoft is fully integrated with FlexPod, I’m able to manage a complete hybrid environment of public and private cloud, supporting multiple vendors within a single pane of glass.”

NetApp Solutions for Microsoft Cloud
For more information on how NetApp can help your organization plan and deploy private and hybrid clouds, check out our award-winning solutions for Microsoft cloud.

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