SIRVA, an international relocation and moving solutions provider, determined that acquisitions are a good way to grow a business. However, one repercussion from the strategy was inefficiency: Duplicate business functions were performed in various offices scattered across the United States. In streamlining its IT infrastructure, the corporation found itself at the forefront of the movement to consolidate data center products, a position that, to date, has paid dividends for the corporation.
SIRVA supplies relocation and moving solutions to consumers, corporations and governments. The company, which has 2,600 employees, offers a variety of relocation services, including program development and management; home purchase and home sale; moving; and mortgage services. Allied, DJK Residential, Global, North American International, SIRVA Mortgage and SIRVA Settlement are a few of its brands. Each day, the corporation, whose annual revenue is $2.3 billion, helps more than 1,000 families in more than 175 countries relocate.
After a series of acquisitions, the business found itself in 2007 with four data centers, located in Chicago, Cleveland, Fort Wayne and Minneapolis. The centers had several hundred terabytes of storage and a hodgepodge of computer systems: Unix servers, Wintel-based systems and even an IBM mainframe. After a thorough evaluation, the services company decided to consolidate its computing infrastructure into a primary production data center in Fort Wayne and a disaster recovery, testing and development site in Cleveland. "We thought we could use new technologies, such as virtualization and a converged infrastructure, to reduce our data center operating costs as well as provide us with more visibility into how our different systems were functioning," says Chuck Schmayel, VP of security at SIRVA.
The relocation company then went out to the marketplace to determine what vendors had to offer. After examining products from Dell, HP and IBM, SIRVA opted to go with HP. "We already had been using a fair amount of HP equipment," says Schmayel. The first phase in the relocation company's grand plan was to install HP ProLiant BL490c and 460c G6 server blades in HP BladeSystem c7000 enclosures, along with VMware's virtualization software.
SIRVA started off using storage solutions from Network Appliance but eventually switched to HP StorageWorks EVA8400 and 4400 Enterprise Virtual Arrays. "The cost of the Network Appliance products was high, and they did not offer us as much systems performance visibility as we wanted," notes Schmayel.