Freight and courier company Peter Baker Transport (PBT) has become the first Australasian user of IBM’s Puresystems range of servers and storage.
CIO Chris Poulter says there was a little nervousness in the company’s ranks at being an early adopter but “it’s better to buy into a technology at the start of its lifecycle than towards the end.” PBT expects to get at least three years’ usage out of the servers and up to five years from the SAN storage, he says.
Puresystems is a new generation of IBM blade servers and storage and offers the advantage of close integration between server and SAN with a single management console for both, Poulter says.
Incumbent HP, by contrast “could only offer us the same technology as we’d been using; they weren’t stepping us forward,” he says. A third option seriously considered by PBT consisted of HP servers coupled with EMC SAN. The EMC and IBM storage was comparable, Poulter says, but the latter set-up, mixing kit from two vendors, didn’t offer the integration advantages.
A Dell-based solution was also given preliminary consideration but “didn’t stack up pricewise”, Poulter says.
PBT has initially put its existing repertoire of applications, including ERP, sales, customer transactions and track-and-trace on the new system, which has been running since early September. “We had our CRM hosted and we’ve brought that back in house,” he says.
Once the existing infrastructure has bedded down, PBT will start looking at new and upgraded applications, Poulter says.
The IBM solution has proved itself, he says - performance has “gone through the roof”. In addition, report runs that used to take four to five hours and were left to run overnight will now complete in less than 30 minutes.
The old system didn’t have the capacity for an expanding workload - parts of the SAN were running at 98 percent of capacity.
“That’s not a happy position, ideally it should be about 60 percent,” says Poulter.
Being an early adopter mean that IBM “looked after us,” he says. It provided PBT with plenty of consultancy, but allowed internal staff to set up the system with IBM’s quality assurance checks, so PBT’s ICT team gained expertise in the technology.