New converged storage system increases productivity for a leading housing provider

Client: Ongo Homes
Industry: Social Housing
Project: Storage Refresh
Social housing provider, Ongo Homes, benefits from 20 times increase in speed performance thanks to a new, scalable storage solution that supports 70 applications and 450 users that service 15,000 tenants.
“The performance has markedly improved with instant responsivity, which makes our users more effective. Furthermore, back-ups are much quicker and less prone to failure. That makes my life easier.”
Ryan Heseltine, Solutions Architect, Ongo Homes
Client

Ongo Homes is the largest housing provider in North Lincolnshire and neighbouring areas. It offers quality, affordable homes for rent and sale, as well as a wide range of property management and maintenance services.

Ongo also provides support services that enables tenants live independently in the comfort of their own homes. It is a not-for-profit organisation and is committed to reinvesting any profit back into the community.

Challenge

Ongo was using a combination of three storage platforms to support business operations and Citrix desktops, however all were ageing and performing poorly. Applications were slow which led to low productivity across its departments. Its internal IT team was spending a lot of time clearing down old files and troubleshooting issues caused by high disk latencies. This was also causing some performance issues for its customers. The organisation needed to find a cost-effective storage solution that would increase performance and also provide scalability to facilitate its growth plans. 

Ongo contacted Central, along with several other IT suppliers to see how they could help. It asked each supplier to provide a solutions proposal, as well as costings, based on the organisation’s needs. Out of the six proposals, it asked four to complete demonstrations. Central proved to be the best option, as it was able to offer a high-performing all-flash solution from Fujitsu at an affordable cost. Another key benefit was that its IT team was already familiar with its approach to storage because it was already using Fujitsu Storage ETERNUS DX100 for disaster recovery. Compatibility with 10 Gigabit iSCSI networks was also a key differentiator.

Solution

Working with Central, Ongo deployed Fujitsu Storage ETERNUS AF250 and All-Flash Array using 10Gb iSCSI to enable network convergence. The migration process began with a couple of test virtual machines to prove stability and it was then rolled-out across the company.

Over the course of just one week, 70 virtual machines were seamlessly migrated, with zero downtime and without causing disruption to its users and tenants. This covered core business functions such as document management, the tenant self-service portal and mobile applications. Ongo employs 450 people, including tradesmen, who use the mobile app to update records, while the tenant portal has 2,000 registered users.

Ongo is now benefiting from an incredibly fast and flexible all-flash storage system. It makes flash the new normal for all tier-one applications and is built to be smart, with easily configurable automated quality of service.

Results

Ongo now enjoys significantly increased performance – up to 20 times faster than previously possible. The read latency on the virtual machines has decreased from 200ms to less than 1ms, whilst reports that once took over five minutes to produce are now available within seconds.

“The performance has markedly improved with instant responsivity, which makes our users more effective. Back-ups are much quicker and less prone to failure. That makes my team’s life easier.” Ryan Heseltine, Solutions Architect at Ongo.

Another important benefit is the ease of management and reliability of the software. The team are now spending a lot less time on administration tasks. It has estimated a saving of 40 hours per week, which its team would usually be spending on firefighting incidents. This time can now be refocused more strategically within the company. Furthermore, in six months, the team has not had to log a single ticket, and if an issue arises Ongo is covered by Fujitsu’s next day support.

Ongo is able to scale the Fujitsu storage solution as demand grows. Although its current capacity is 14TB, there is on-going scope for expansion.

“It is a storage solution that simply works – I haven’t needed to log into the management console once except for a training handover. That simplicity reduces the load on my team and allows us to be more proactive in other areas.” Ryan Heseltine, Solutions Architect at Ongo.

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