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Sapient – Using Virtualized Storage Infrastructure to Connect Global Employees

by tapangarg on July 16, 2013

Company: Sapient Corporation

CIO: Ashok Sethi

Industry: Services & Consulting

Employees: 10,000

Website: www.sapient.com

Business need

Sapient Corporation wanted to migrate employees to Microsoft® Exchange Server 2010 and needed a highly stable, virtualized storage infrastructure to deliver improved communications across the global organization.

Solution 

The company deployed a storage architecture based on Dell™ EqualLogic SANs to support the performance of their unified communications platform.

Benefits

• Return on investment expected within six months
• Improves user productivity with integrated communications platform
• Scales to meet expanding storage demands due to increased collaboration
• Reduced maintenance enables delivery of strategic projects

Solutions Featured

• Email
• Storage Virtualization
• Unified Communications

Sapient Corporation (Sapient) is a NASDAQ listed global services company at the forefront of delivering marketing and technology innovation across their three divisions, SapientNitro, Sapient Global Markets, and Sapient Government Services. Sapient has approximately 10,000 employees in over 35 locations across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, with a majority of their workforce based in India.

With their business strategy focused on both organic and inorganic growth, Sapient has made a number of strategic acquisitions to ensure the company can support their customers to generate tangible business results. Critical to their success is ensuring an integrated IT infrastructure across the company’s global locations. Ashok Sethi, CIO, Sapient Corporation, comments, “We were running older versions of our core business applications and we wanted to migrate our users to the latest platforms to improve end
user productivity. We were looking for a complete solution that would support continued innovation.”

Sapient held discussions with a number of vendors to deliver a scalable, robust architecture to support the Exchange Server 2010 environment. The company’s long-term partnership with Dell led to a number of strategic conversations prior to the project commencement. “Dell was able to help us define what our core issues were and how best to solve the problems we were facing.

They understood our roadmap and suggested solutions that would meet our initial needs, as well as prompting us to consider wider ranging areas relating to what our future requirements could be,” says Sethi.

Platform migration delivers access to latest communication tools

The company has centralised their technology infrastructure and resources for all global locations out of the India offices. The company had been faced with unscheduled downtime and reduced performance due to the aging infrastructure, as well as limited mailbox capacity for users. Delivering a highly available platform was viewed as critical to improving productivity and collaboration. Therefore, Sapient wanted to migrate all users from Microsoft® Exchange Server 2007 to Microsoft® Exchange Server 2010. Manvinder Oberoi, Director, Enterprise Infrastructure Services, explains, “We wanted to give our users access to the latest communication tools such as archival features, presence, instant messaging, and video and voice conferencing. We also realised that the amount of information flowing between our users was increasing, and we needed the storage capacity to cost-effectively archive this data.”

Virtualized storage infrastructure meets projected growth of communication data

Sapient selected Dell EqualLogic PS6510X virtualized iSCSI storage area networks (SANs) to support the Exchange Server 2010 in environments in India and the United States, a Dell EqualLogic PS6010X virtualized iSCSI SAN solution for the company’s private cloud environment, and Dell EqualLogic PS6510E SAN for storing their file data. One of
the key reasons that Sapient chose Dell EqualLogic for their storage is that the solution met the company’s demands for green efficiency, a value reflected in the company’s newest green building in Noida, India. “We are a socially responsible organization and while operational cost is a consideration, we strive to ensure our company is as energy efficient as possible,” says Sethi.

Sapient’s storage strategy is designed to ensure the company is supported by world-class data storage, recovery and archival capabilities. A proof of concept conducted by Dell in Sapient’s Boston headquarters gave the team confidence that the solution would scale to meet the company’s projected growth and work seamlessly with the existing infrastructure. Virtualization has brought added benefits with fast set up of new project environments for globally based teams and the ability to release resources for new projects just as quickly.

Dell ProSupport™ Mission Critical with 4-hour Onsite Response service protects the company and their communications environment. Sethi comments, “Due to the support we had through the deployment phase and during roll out, we’ve yet to encounter issues requiring support. It’s about having the reassurance that we have people available that we can count on.” Improved stability leads to fulfilment of strategic projects Sapient has migrated all mailboxes to Exchange Server 2010, and is now benefiting from improved collaboration from instant messaging and desktop sharing features. Due to the stability of the solution, even with a lean IT team in place at the company, team members who were previously responsible for managing the Exchange Server 2007 environment have been able to focus on new projects. As a result, Sapient is in the process of completing a Microsoft® Lync 2010 server rollout. “Due to the stability of the system we were able to migrate all mailboxes to Exchange Server 2010 within three to four months, which has freed up our time. Other vendors projected this would take between six months to one year to complete,” says Oberoi.

Increased productivity leads to responsive service

User feedback has been extremely positive, particularly around the noticeable productivity improvements that have resulted from utilization of the new platform features. “Our users have been enthusiastic about the fact that their communication tools are always available. With the increased storage capacity users can automatically archive information, which has definitely improved productivity and our responsiveness to customers,” says Oberoi.

Return on investment is achievable within six months of deployment 

Sethi has presented his return on investment (ROI) projections to the Sapient management team. “We are very optimistic we can meet our ROI within six months, which has given the management team greater confidence in investing in new projects on which we may partner with Dell, that will innovate our service delivery,” concludes Sethi.

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