Server Infrastructure Refresh for Retail Company

Overall rating: 

5.0

Quality: 

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Schedule: 

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Cost: 

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Willing to refer: 

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Project summary: 

International Integrated Solutions, Ltd provided software, firmware, and hardware updates for server infrastructure components and a data center.

Feedback summary: 

Despite a significant external hurdle, International Integrated Solutions, Ltd delivered on every requirement of the project, to the delight of the client. The team maintained consistent communication while adhering to the set timeline. Customers can expect a flexible and dedicated partner.

"The datacenter work was completed efficiently and professionally."

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I am a Senior Manager of IT Infrastructure at a major retailer. We have a significant on-premises and cloud infrastructure presence to serve our global customer base.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire International Integrated Solutions, Ltd?

Our IT infrastructure is critical to the success of our business. Our server footprint grew over the years and has become fairly complex.

A year ago we embarked on a major refresh cycle to optimize our compute. We hired IIS to provide expert guidance for the software, firmware and hardware updates.

What were your goals for this project?

We needed to decommission a number of old blades and install new more powerful blades in their place. We also wanted to reduce the total number of blades in use and save money on software licenses.

We also wanted to replace some old switches in the blade enclosures with interconnect modules to simplify blade provisioning and management. Finally we wanted to update all of the blade firmware and management software.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We've worked with IIS on several projects over the past nine years. We knew their team and their capabilities well. We knew they could be trusted to complete the project on time and with the required flexibility and expertise.

Describe the project in detail.

I worked on similar project with IIS three years earlier. My role then was a system engineer. I knew both the project manager and the engineer. Now that I manage the Infrastructure team I introduced them to my server engineer who was going to work on the project with them.

We defined the major tasks that had to be performed, who was going to perform them and when. We agreed on weekly touch-point calls. IIS was in charge of defining firmware and software requirements and per-requisites, and putting together compatibility matrices.

They were going to perform initial software and firmware upgrades and provide KT. My engineer would complete the remaining upgrades. IIS engineer would also travel to two of our data centers to perform the switch removals and interconnect module installations and configurations.

What was the team composition?

We were assigned a project manager and senior blade engineer. They were the main points of contact throughout the project.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

Within three months most of the work was completed. Old blades were removed and new ones installed and configured. Management software was upgraded. New firmware was deployed and drivers were upgraded.

All of this was completed without any unexpected downtimes or outages. Everything was run smoothly and we were happy with the outcome. Then we've hit a snag. We were not able to decommission one old application that relied on a few old blades, which relied on the old switches and so couldn't install the new interconnects.

IIS was very understanding and allowed us to put the project on hold and resume it eight months later when we could finally decomm and upgrade. We received the same PM and the engineer and they were able to complete the project quickly and at the same cost as we agreed upon almost a year prior.

I and the senior IT management are happy with the outcome and appreciate IIS's expertise, commitment and flexibility to extend and complete the project in the face of our unexpected delay.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

The workflow was very effective. Staffed by consummate professionals on both sides, the project progressed on-time (when within our and IIS control) and on-budget. Communications were handled effectively over email, phone calls, some meetings and weekly status emails.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

I was most impressed with IIS's willingness to put the interconnect replacement part of the project on hold for so long and to return to it when we were ready. The project resumed quickly, the same engineer was made available, travel booked quickly, etc...

The datacenter work was completed efficiently and professionally. There were no disruptions to the rest of the production environment. We weren't billed a penny more for an eight-month hiatus.

Are there any areas for improvement?

I can't think of any. However I can commend the IIS team for improving their process from where it was three years earlier.

All these years of running coomplex, hands-on projects, have made them a well-organized, expertly-staffed, customer-focused organization. Kudos!

RATINGS

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Fair and accomodating
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    No unscheduled downtimes or disruptions
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer