Block and Company, headquartered in Wheeling, Illinois, is a privately held manufacturer and distributor of money handling supplies and security equipment. For nearly 80 years, Block has been the pioneer in the providing innovative cash handling products and solutions to make their client’s job easier.
Question: Block and Company had 20 windows-based servers that serviced all non-ERP based systems and represented a significant
portion of day-to-day operations. The age of those machines, coupled with the high-use rate posed a significant risk to their
operations and needed to be addressed as part of an overall infrastructure upgrade plan. Nearly 95% of the Windows-based servers had reached or exceeded their normal duty cycle of three years. Additionally, 70-75% of the servers were at their operational capacity of disk utilization, processor usage and memory. How can Block’s outdated system be updated cost efficiently without interrupting business operations?
Answer: With the vast majority of Block’s servers reaching normal duty cycle limits, they were approaching a point of increased costs for operation. Normal duty cycle has been reached when the cost of ownership (including repairs, service and service interruptions) begins to increase and shortly eclipses the investment in new equipment. And, many of their servers were at their operational capacity for disk utilization. In general, machines that are burdened beyond “normal”, or “recommended”, capacity will rapidly shorten their duty cycle even further and increase business interruption risk. Because of the impending increases in costs and business disturbances, Black | Line offered a solution that reduces initial hardware investment, software licensing costs and maintenance spending.
Virtualization: Black | Line recommended a “virtual” solution as part of their new infrastructure planning. The virtualization process reduces the number of physical devices required to carry out the same operational system. In Block’s case, the number of servers that needed to be phased out and replaced fit the consolidation model, which replaces 20 servers with 2 to 3 devices and a virtualization scheme. The virtual system also provides a more efficient allocation system and the option for server consolidation which saves hardware and software licensing costs. Black | Line implemented the rollover to a virtual server system in phases to void business interruption and allow for limited risk and the ability to have an easy rollback method if necessary.
Future Growth: Virtualization also provides a cost-effective means to scale future operational needs and creates its own backup system as Virtual Servers can move from one physical device to another in case of a hardware failure.
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