Case Study: Consolidation & Virtualization
Springleaf Finance Consolidates IT, Reduces Costs with Mainline Solution
Springleaf Finance, Inc.
- Meet increased infrastructure demands
- Consolidate HQ and branch lending app
- Reduce computing costs
- Provide more flexibility in allocating resources
- Reach higher utilization levels
- Optimize energy usage
- IBM POWER 770 server
- POWER Hypervisor
- PowerLinux OS
- Improved response times
- Reduced software costs, energy usage, floor space and administrative overhead
- Consolidated multiple workloads on fewer systems
- Improved system efficiency
- Lowered operational expense
- Made system easier to manage
- Increased application performance, operational availability and security
- Allowed for dynamic load assignment as traffic varies
- Provided more flexibility
- Allowed sharing of resources and optimized workload
Mark Stephens, associate director, iSeries Systems support for Springleaf Financial Services, oversaw the consolidation of the company’s more than 800 branch iSeries systems to IBM POWER System 570s in 2008 and 2009. Referred to as Phase 1, this branch consolidation centralized the lending application to run on one platform made up of three clustered IBM POWER 570s.
As time passed and the demands on the infrastructure increased, Springleaf Financial Services’ management realized that they would have to further consolidate for greater efficiencies. The 40 iSeries servers at the Evansville headquarters that were then being used for test, development, quality assurance and one-off applications to support HQ operations would have to be consolidated. They wanted to explore the best configuration options for the business while also reducing Springleaf’s computing costs. Specifically, they were seeking more flexibility in allocating resources, consolidating business-critical workloads and enabling higher utilization levels while optimizing energy usage.
Stephens contacted Springleaf Financial Services’ account executive from Mainline Information Systems, an IBM Premier Business Partner, who assembled the same team of experts who had worked on the Phase I consolidation. They assessed the existing infrastructure and current requirements, and, with Stephens and his team, strategically planned the Phase 2 consolidation. The solution consisted of two new IBM POWER 770s to replace the IBM POWER 570s and included the POWER Hypervisor and PowerLinux OS for the logical partition (LPAR) and dynamic LPAR capabilities. The solution also included consulting with Mainline to empower Stephens and his staff to allocate the LPARs in-house. Stephens observed, “Mainline pointed us in the right direction for the first few LPAR allocations while providing oversight for the rest.”
The IBM POWER 770 server is designed for virtualized consolidation of business-critical workloads. It delivers on performance, availability, efficiency and virtualization. PowerVM virtualization enables continuous dynamic resource adjustments across all partitions and operating environments to optimize performance and enable higher utilization levels while optimizing energy usage. Supported environments include AIX®, IBM i and Linux for Power applications all on the same system. It includes:
, providing LPAR, dynamic LPAR and Virtual LAN (memory to memory interpartition communication), is read-only firmware shipped with the OS, with security features that are outpacing those of the competition.
is the family of technologies, capabilities and offerings that deliver industry-leading virtualization on IBM POWER processor-based systems. On the POWER 770, PowerVM includes base components provided with IBM POWER Systems firmware with LPAR technologies. PowerVM allows any individual LPAR to access the maximum amount of memory and CPU cores that are available on the server. In addition, optional components in PowerVM editions are designed to provide advanced virtualization technologies, resulting in efficiencies in resource utilization and cost savings.
OS option provides standard Linux distributions for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) to run in their own dedicated partitions with access to all of IBM’s PowerVM capabilities, including Virtual I/O. This improves reliability and scalability for Linux without impacting cost.
“Partnering with IBM and Mainline makes it easier for us to develop cost-effective and flexible computing solutions, so it’s a very pleasant experience working with Mainline,” Stephens noted. “The new consolidated solution allows Springleaf Financial Services the ability to more efficiently manage our POWER Systems resources and meet business unit service levels in the most cost-efficient way.”
“Because of Mainline’s working relationship with IBM,” he concluded, “we believe we are getting the best value in both price and expertise for Springleaf Financial Services.”