Mitel renews IT with HP

About 18 months ago, Mark MacGowan, director of IT services for Mitel saw the telecom manufacturing company was starting to hit a storage capacity wall during peak business hours for Mitel’s data centres in the UK and Ottawa.

Last month, the Ottawa-based company announced it had completed a $3.5 million IT infrastructure renewal project with HP Canada at the helm to help solve some of Mitel’s capacity woes.

“It’s a consolidation of all of their previous IT assets into a much smaller physical footprint and a much more scalable and adaptable environment such that they can keep up with the growth demands that they have and at the same time do that at a lower cost,” said Lloyd Bryant, vice-president and general manager, customer solutions group, HP Canada.

Aside from hitting a capacity wall, Simon Thompson, Mitel’s vice-president of information systems, said other driving factors for overhauling the firm’s IT infrastructure included the need to replace aging equipment, increasing maintenance costs in managing different and disparate technology environments and staff reductions.

“The ability to manage those environments with reduced staffing was becoming very difficult,” he said.

“The investment meant we could deploy new tools, new capabilities and more manageability,” said Thompson. He added Mitel had 10 different storage environments but has gotten down to one. By consolidating its network-attached storage, Mitel expanded its capacity more than seven times and saved $300,000 in annual operating costs.

According to MacGowan, two HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Arrays (EVA) 5000s were deployed in Mitel’s North American data centre. Each has about 23 terabytes of storage. Another EVA was deployed at Mitel’s UK data centre that has up to 4TB. In addition, Mitel also deployed two large RP8420s servers with about 24 processors each.

As well, 45 blade servers were acquired for the data centre in Ottawa and 20 blades in the UK.

“We also bought critical support services from HP, so it is allowing us to move Intel base business applications that are mission critical into the same environment,” said MacGowan. Also moving into this environment, he said, are Mitel’s existing messaging solution (Domino), its intranet and some of its complementing SAP services and ERP.

Undergoing such a renewal project, one analyst said, allows Mitel to “walk the talk” about using its own technology more effectively.

“Not all telecom manufacturers use IT well. Just because they sell the stuff doesn’t mean they use it,” said Roberta Fox, senior partner with Fox Group Consulting in Markham, Ont. She added the renewal project shows Mitel’s customers that they are committed to using IT to run their business.

The project, which began in December 2004 was supposed to take six months to complete but was finished in 90 days. Completing the project in such a short period of time was a challenge according to HP’s Bryant.

“To migrate all of [Mitel’s] business critical applications and all the technical refresh in a very short period of time without any interruptions to any of the services to the business was the key challenge,” he said.

Thomspon added Mitel and HP overcame this barrier through regular maintenance periods, which made the cut over of services transparent to users.

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