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Case study

IT service provider improves VM cost and performance with open source

Managed IT services provider CorpFlex supports some of Brazil’s biggest businesses. To reduce its virtual infrastructure costs and fund new digital innovation projects, CorpFlex sought an enterprise open source virtualization solution to replace its proprietary virtualization. With help from Red Hat Consulting, the service provider migrated to Red Hat Virtualization, supported by Red Hat CloudForms. With this flexible yet highly available solution, CorpFlex has reduced infrastructure costs and improved its workload performance, creating a foundation for continuing service innovation.
 

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Benefits

  • Reduced virtual machine (VM) costs by 87%, from $US4,600 to $US600 each
  • Improved Linux workload performance for virtual servers and applications
  •  Established partnership to ensure availability with expert support and explore open source

 

87% cost reduction for virtualization funds digital innovation

CorpFlex provides managed IT services to some of Brazil’s biggest businesses, including banks, fast food restaurant chains, media groups, and telecommunication service providers. Its services include hosting critical applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and business intelligence (BI). To support its customers’ critical business functions, CorpFlex must cost-effectively deliver robust, reliable performance while meeting demand for innovative new services.

"Innovation is crucial, not just in launching new services, but in how we operate,” said Diogo Santos, director of technology at CorpFlex. “We needed to be able to shift resources to innovation and digital transformation efforts. For us, operating cost is very important, because there is no use in having a new technology if you need a large team to operate it.”

CorpFlex had moved its virtualized server environment and machines to a new proprietary solution in 2012, but rising licensing costs made continuing with the vendor unsustainable.

“We are a service provider in a competitive market, so we have to be conscious of price. We couldn’t continue at that price point, but we couldn’t afford a dip in performance. Any alternative would need to at least match our existing solution in terms of availability, resiliency, and security,” said Santos.

Migrating to a cost-effective, enterprise open source solution

CorpFlex sought an enterprise open source solution to cost-effectively provide virtualization support. “We see open source solutions as the best option for supporting innovation, and we wanted a partner— not just for this project, but for the long term,” said Santos.

After thorough evaluation and testing of virtualization solutions, the service provider decided to replace its proprietary environment with Red Hat Virtualization, a solution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) module that virtualizes Linux and Windows workloads.

“Price was the issue that prompted the decision to change, but we were also won over by the ease of use, broad functionality, and expert support available from Red Hat,” said Santos. Red Hat Virtualization provides management tools to virtualize resources, processes, and applications. Red Hat Enterprise Linux offers a proven, trusted operating system. Together, they create a stable foundation for future cloud-native, container-based business.

Teams at CorpFlex worked with Red Hat Consulting for guidance in planning and implementing the migration. Red Hat’s infrastructure migration solution was used to more easily migrate large numbers of workloads. CorpFlex has now migrated more than 20% of its 3,000 VMs to its new Red Hat environment, gaining a substantial price and performance increase. 

Supporting new innovation with cost-effective open source virtualization

Reduced virtual machine costs by 87%

By migrating to Red Hat Virtualization, CorpFlex has reduced the cost of each VM from around US$4,600 to US$600—an 87% reduction. The company has also saved money by helping its teams quickly become familiar with the new virtualization technology to work more efficiently.

After it has completed migration of its remaining VMs to Red Hat software, the service provider anticipates more than US$1.8 million in savings. These savings have been reallocated to efforts to expand the new cloud and launch an OpenShift-as-a-Service offering.

“Cost-efficiency allows us to be more competitive in pricing our services, protecting margins, and allocating funding for new business projects,” said Santos. “For example, we will be using the savings achieved to invest in creating a major new offering, Corpflex Kubernetes Service, that will offer dedicated Kubernetes clusters connected to public and private cloud.”

Improved Linux workload performance

With Red Hat Virtualization, CorpFlex has achieved VM performance equal to or better than its proprietary virtualization solution, especially for Linux workloads.

“We have more integration points and more automation, resulting in standardized delivery with fewer errors. We operate more efficiently. By improving performance for Linux workloads with Red Hat Virtualization, we can optimize our hardware use so we don’t have to replace it as often,” said Santos.

As a result, CorpFlex can ensure the high level of availability, security, and management required to run customers’ critical systems.

Gained support to balance innovation with stability

Working closely with Red Hat Consulting helped CorpFlex ensure uninterrupted availability for its customer-facing services during migration.

“Red Hat Consulting’s infrastructure migration solution proved crucial in completing the migration project successfully,” said Santos. “When we had complications initially, Red Hat escalated the issue and found a solution quickly. They recognized that we couldn’t risk a moment’s downtime for our customers’ critical systems.”

Additionally, CorpFlex is keen to learn and master new open source technology from open source experts. “We are on a journey with open source: we believe it is the best route to accelerate innovation, and we value a partner with services that can help us on that journey,” said Santos.

Expanding enterprise open source to unite services

CorpFlex is evaluating using Red Hat OpenShift® Container Platform as the foundation of its new offering, CorpFlex Kubernetes Service. The service provider is also planning to use Red Hat Ansible® Tower, together with Red Hat CloudForms, to integrate its services in a hybrid, multicloud environment.

“We’ve envisioned a hybrid world where customers have workloads in their own datacenters, in our datacenter, and in the public cloud. We have connections into AWS [Amazon Web Services], Azure, IBM, and Oracle Cloud; the next step is for us to manage all this through a service catalog, using CloudForms and Ansible Tower,” said Santos. “We want to help customers run workloads in the most appropriate environment to meet their time, cost, or security requirements. We know we will be able to deliver this possibility with Red Hat.”

About CorpFlex

Founded in 1992, CorpFlex is a provider of managed IT services in Brazil. It acts as a business partner in the implementation and management of the best technological practices. Aiming at reducing costs, productivity, and operational quality, it aligns IT with customers’ business strategy.