Crossrail contractor turns to Nutanix for automated cloud on the edge

Dartford-headquarted multinational construction company Laing O'Rourke, which is currently involved in large infrastructure projects like Crossrail and the Hinkley Point nuclear plant, has turned to Nutanix to slash costs, consolidate its data centres and develop a platform for on-site edge computing.

A couple of years ago, Laing O'Rourke wanted to stand up a new data centre as well as migrate its on-premise data centre to a new colocation site.

"We wanted a greenfield site, we wanted to do things more intelligently and certainly more efficiently than what we were doing with the traditional three-tier stack we were using at the time," Paul Petty, infrastructure development manager for Laing O'Rourke said at the Nutanix Next event in Bishopsgate this morning. "We went to the market to look at certain vendors and chose Nutanix to do that for us.

"We've massively consolidated the infrastructure we would need to stand up a new data centre, to reduce costs, and reduce rack space, which is obviously therefore a cost saving."

The business is currently running Nutanix Enterprise Cloud with 15 nodes on an all-flash configuration, used mostly to run SQL workloads and Splunk. The rest of the data centre will move over later on in 2018.

"In terms of performance it has been a fantastic journey for running our SQL workloads – we have a large SQL estate and they’re running on all-flash configurations," Petty said.

Why Nutanix?

Nutanix, which quickly became the hottest contender in hyperconverged infrastructure (but one spokesperson refers to the company as a server computing business now), pitches Enterprise Cloud as a multi-cloud management tool, for public, private and distributed systems – providing a ‘public cloud-like experience' across the IT fabric, from the core to the edge.

Read next: Hyperconverged infrastructure vendors: The main players compared

Petty said that the Laing O'Rourke's database administrators have enjoyed the all-flash configurations, and that the difference in performance has been noticeable.

What next?

Next, the company plans on creating a single platform to manage its on-site projects.

"We have a large, dispersed workforce," Petty said. "We obviously have core regional offices and data centres where most applications are serviced from. But we need workloads local to the guys out on sites. We have over 100 project sites in the UK currently, so the plan for us is, as part of standardising on Nutanix centrally, we are going to run Nutanix Remote and Branch Office (ROBO) solutions on our construction sites as well.

"And [we] will have one platform that runs from a small portacabin in the edge of a field somewhere right the way through to our core main data centre as well. From an IT perspective that's brilliant. It means it's one platform, one upgrade process, one thing to worry about or manage, and not have lots of disparate systems to control and configure. It's a huge time saver for us."

Next, the construction multinational will work with Nutanix Calm – the application automation and lifecycle management offering for Nutanix public and private clouds – to automate its workloads.

"We will be having a standardised rollout platform for all of our ROBO deployments," Petty said. "Currently today it's about five days to do a build for a project site. When you get very little notification, that's a challenge.

"We have so far modelled it and we suspect it will take around three hours to fully automate that down from infrastructure and workload deployment on the Nutanix platform. We're very keen to kick that off very soon."

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Andreas Komodromos


Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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