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Use Case 3

Construction materials trading company

Providing integrated management and automation of virtual servers and networks to enable faster provision of ICT resources and mitigate management workloads.

Business type Construction materials trading company
Goal To create an integrated ICT management system for all departments, projects, and group companies
NEC's solution NEC SDN Solutions - IaaS Operation Automation Solution (Windows® Server 2012 R2 and the UNIVERGE PF series)

In this case study, we will show you how NEC SDN Solutions helped a mid-sized trading company that markets a variety of imported construction materials and that has a growing number of subsidiaries and group companies that use these materials. As the number of departments, projects, and group companies grew, management of the company's ICT systems became increasingly complex. In the end the workload became too much for the company's IT staff, leading to serious business inefficiencies. These issues were resolved by implementing NEC's IaaS Operation Automation Solution.

  • *SDN: Software-Defined Networking

Challenges and results

Challenges Results
The IT department could no longer cope with managing the operations of a system environment that covered a large number of internal departments, projects, and group companies. Efficient and highly productive operational management was achieved by allowing virtual networks to be set quickly and freely from GUI screens and automatically applied to physical and virtual switches.
The IT department needed at least a week to provision new ICT resources due to the time required to modify network settings. Virtual server and virtual network settings were integrated, allowing the department to provision new ICT resources in just a few hours.
Due to the growing complexity of the ICT systems, it had become difficult to detect the locations of failures and to perform quick failure handling. Monitoring and failure response operations were automated by linking virtual servers and networks with monitored data, improving the efficiency of management operations.

A rapid increase in ICT systems leads to an overwhelming number of management and monitoring operations.

The company imports a massive variety of imported construction materials, from exterior materials such as roof tiles, finials, and shutters, to interior fixtures such as rail handles. Materials range from wood products such as doors to metal products such as door knobs.
Many of the company's departments and project teams were organized around product groups. Also, unlike mass-produced, standardized products, some imported construction materials require specialized skills and know-how in construction. The company had therefore decided to launch a construction subcontracting service at its group companies.

Figure: Manager of the IT systems department

The company had built a private cloud at its data center, and had also already introduced virtual servers. On the other hand, network settings were still all made manually. As a result, whenever new ICT resources were added, a large amount of network modification work became necessary. Furthermore, the company needed to request its network vendors to dispatch trained technicians to handle the massive setting workloads caused by the growing complexity of the network structures. As a result, management workloads and costs in the IT systems department skyrocketed, while the provision of ICT systems took longer and longer.

Figure: Manager of the IT systems department

The company's business was also impacted by the amount of time it took to isolate faults when problems occurred in these increasingly complex systems. Other pending tasks included the streamlining of monitoring operations, and more prompt response to failures.

Was is possible to achieve integrated and centralized control of virtual servers and virtual networks, as well as control automation?

Figure: Manager of the IT systems department

NEC's IaaS Operation Automation Solution, which runs on Windows® Server 2012 R2, integrates virtual network control and automates control operations. This enables a drastic reduction in management workloads and operational costs. The IaaS Operation Automation Solution enables system administrators to freely set virtual networks on GUI screens. New settings are then automatically applied to physical and virtual switches.
The required networks can be freely set up on GUI screens without system administrators having to manually set physical network switches, resulting in a vast reduction in management workloads and time-consuming operations. With NEC's IaaS Operation Automation Solution, companies with environments that include business systems for many departments and projects, like the company in this case study, will be able to quickly provision ICT resources.

Figure: Manager of the IT systems department

Previously the IT department needed about a week to provision new ICT resources after receiving a request. However, with the implementation of the IaaS Operation Automation Solution, resources now can be provisioned on the next day. This has dramatically improved operations management in the company.

Figure: Enabling integrated provision of virtual servers and virtual networksLarger viewEnabling integrated provision of virtual servers and virtual networks

Quick failure handling achieved by automating linkage with monitored data

Monitoring of the ICT systems has also become far more efficient.

Figure: Manager of the IT systems department

The IaaS Operation Automation Solution links ICT resources with monitored failure data allowing pre-defined failure handling to be executed automatically. This enables the automation of initial failure response, which reduces the average time required to implement system monitoring measures. Management workloads are also reduced.

Figure: Automation of failure handling by linking with monitored dataLarger viewAutomation of failure handling by linking with monitored data

Figure: Manager of the IT systems department

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