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dell_logo_right.jpgBelow is an in depth Case Study Dell recently conducted on Network Redux:


Hosting provider Network Redux grows 100% year over year with Dell

Company: Network Redux
Industry: Managed Hosting Solutions
Country: United States
Web: www.networkredux.com

 

Business Need

In order to scale effectively and keep administrative costs down, Network Redux needed to standardize on a reliable server platform and network infrastructure. As a hosting provider, the ability to offer customers high availability was a key consideration.

Solution

Standardize on Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers along with switches from Dell technology partners.

Benefits

  • 100% annual growth supported by Dell solution
  • 94% reduction in number of physical servers for one data center (35 down to 2)
  • 75% reduction in rack footprint for one data center
  • Projected 50% reduction in operating costs at one datacenter
  • 59% more servers possible per rack due to reduced power draw
  • Able to offer high-availability SLAs to customers
  • Significant improvement in network performance
  • 15-20 minute response time from Dell account team

Hardware

  • Dell PowerEdge™ R720, R720XD and R620 servers.
  • Dell EqualLogic™ SAN Arrays.
  • Force10 C300 Chassis.
  •  


Software

  • Citrix XenServer
  • CentOS Linux
  • Red Hat Linux
  • OpenVZ
  • Parallels® Virtuozzo Containers

Network Redux

Despite the economic ups and downs of the early 21st century, Managed Hosting providers have seen phenomenal growth as more and more companies recognize the business benefits and time savings of handing off their hosting to experts. But it’s a competitive industry. Customer loyalty is hard-won, pricing pressures are intense and uptime is the name of the game. To stay in business, hosting providers need reliable servers and storage, along with a hardware vendor they can trust to respond quickly.

By following that recipe, Portland, Oregon-based Network Redux LLC went from three servers and one customer to more than 200 servers and 1,300 customers in just five years. Since its inception, the company has used open source software running
on cost-effective, reliable Dell PowerEdge servers with Intel processors to offer customers aggressive service-level agreements (SLAs) at a competitive price.

Supporting 100% Annual Growth

Network Redux began as a shared Web hosting provider, leveraging single servers for multiple customers within the same operating system environment. As Network Redux was an early adopter of open source virtualization, founder and president Thomas Brenneke decided to standardize his operations on Dell PowerEdge servers.

"Using Intel-based Dell servers allows us to offer high-availability hosting to our customers," says Brenneke. "And that’s not just due to the hardware build quality—it’s also the dedication of our Dell account team. If we have a question, we get a response within 15 to 20 minutes. There’s no question that our relationship with Dell enables us to provide better service."

As its customers’ hosting requirements have become more complex and demanding, Network Redux has grown along with them—at a rate of 100 percent year-over-year, to be exact. "My Dell team is in tune with our organization. I almost feel as if they’re an arm of our company," says Brenneke. "They’re almost an extension of our operations group, and there’s no way that we could run this small business without their help."

A Better Server For Virtualization

Network Redux now has 5 data centers in North America, one of which it is consolidating by virtualizing legacy Dell servers onto Dell PowerEdge R720 rack-mount servers. Since the majority of the company’s revenue now comes from complex, managed services, reliability is more important than ever—especially with many virtual machines running on a single physical server.

"We're using the Dell PowerEdge R720 and R620 servers to power a public cloud," Brenneke explains. "Using a combination of server virtualization tools, including Citrix XenServer, OpenVZ and Parallels Virtuozzo, we’ll be consolidating 35 physical servers down to two R720s, and shrinking our hardware footprint at that facility by 75 percent, consolidating four racks down to one. When we’re finished, we will have cut our operating costs in half at that facility."

The company intends to consolidate other two data centers in a similar manner in the coming year. "We’re consolidating physical servers down into virtual servers within our public cloud, so it will be an ongoing cost savings program to use less power and have fewer servers to maintain," says Brenneke. "We’ll just have more powerful servers."
Going Above And Beyond

As a growing business with somewhat limited resources, Network Redux needs to be sure that its primary hardware vendor can help keep business moving in the event of an emergency. When the company experienced difficulties with one of its storage arrays, Dell responded immediately, before any hosting customers were affected.

"Our Dell account team went above and beyond and got us a brand-new unit," says Brenneke. "With the help of our account team and Dell Support Services, we were later able to diagnose the problem fairly quickly, but we needed something in place immediately, and Dell didn’t wait around until the business impact was critical. In my opinion, that kind of response is the definition of business intelligence."

A Broad Partner Network

Having a single point of contact for products from Dell technology partners—along with solutions-oriented pre-sales consulting expertise from Dell—has helped Network Redux grow smoothly and invest wisely, says Brenneke. For example, when network performance started to become an issue due to the company’s phenomenal growth, Dell showed Network Redux how it could solve the problem using switches from Dell partner Force10 Networks.

"We were looking for a more advanced switching line for some of our switching and routing requirements, and we went to Dell and said ‘Hey, this is new territory for us. What do you recommend?’" says Brenneke. "Our Dell account team knows our network very well, and they brought in Force10. Force10 sent someone onsite with us in Portland who explained the technology, and then when we purchased the product, Force10 brought an engineer in to help us deploy it. So we basically went from zero knowledge of this more advanced switching and routing architecture to being handheld by Dell and Force10, which saved us a substantial amount in training and consulting expenses. And it has been an absolutely tremendous benefit to our network. Network performance has improved significantly."

Consistency Rules

Perhaps the most important benefit that Dell brings to a small business is consistency. Brenneke concludes, "In the ten years I’ve spent in the Web Hosting business, I’ve come to truly appreciate the inherent value in Dell’s powerful product array. In terms of running my business, cost, reliability, performance and support are all criteria I look to when making hardware choices. Dell’s price points allow us to stay competitive. Dell’s reliability has proven to be phenomenal. Dell’s performance is robust and the support staff has never let us down. Simply put, from a hardware perspective, Dell products are well tested, well built and well maintained—all attributes that add significant value to our hosting business, which in turn, has positive benefits for our customers."

Download May 2010 Dell Case Study | PDF | 1.1MB

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