The online printing market is highly competitive. New processes expand the product range, but they must be kept as simple as possible for the customer. In the case of our client – a media company and online printer – this means that new apps are rolled out almost monthly. This affects the creation of traditional flyers, stickers, posters, trade show and advertising technology like roll-ups, screen printing, and promotional materials such as mugs or mouse pads. Every product should be easily designed online by the customer.
Our client employs more than 1,500 staff in Germany alone and produces both in-house and with external partners. The infrastructure, consisting of 25 hosts at three locations, was recently delivered by an IT services company.
"The new state-of-the-art hyperconverged infrastructure was generously designed," says Yves Sandfort, "but without a coherent overall concept for coordination of deployments, upgrades, and management, the client quickly ran the risk of losing track."
"We pursue a long-term strategy to make our current on-premises infrastructure more flexible through a hybrid cloud approach," reports the infrastructure manager. "However, we knew that our design and configuration had to be primarily on-prem first."
"Our client was very motivated and wanted to test and implement the entire VMware portfolio," Sandfort adds with a wink. "They wanted to secure their network with NSX and support their developers with Tanzu. But first, a foundation had to be laid.“
"First, we analyzed the client's environment in terms of basic life-cycle management," Sandfort reports. "Then we, together with the infrastructure team, set goals and priorities. The goal was clear: the on-premises server infrastructure had to be better monitored and automated, especially regarding VMware Cloud Foundation and SDDC Manager. We suggested testing the vRealize Operations Manager to get an overview of resource usage and ensure cross-cloud monitoring."
Many printing machines require adjacent on-prem systems. These systems had to be centrally monitored and controlled. "With VCF Federation, we were able to create a group of Cloud Foundation instances for the client," explains Sandfort. "This allowed each member to see information about other Cloud Foundation instances in the group. The required visualization was done via the Multi-Instance Management Dashboard in the SDDC Manager."
By minimizing ongoing management, automating configuration management, and having a unified view of deployments and central administration of the Cloud Foundation, the client could focus on new projects such as the introduction of NSX and Tanzu.
"Thanks to the introduction of vRealize Operations, we were able to consolidate compute resources, giving us more time to tackle the next challenges," reports the infrastructure manager. "One thing is certain: With comprehensive experience with all products in the VMware portfolio, comdivision could advise us better on which features and promises are genuinely meaningful for us."