Leading Motor Racing Team
Transforming application and data centre performance
At a Glance
A UK based motor racing team needed a new, high-performance data centre network. The network needed to increase agility, performance and reduce the risk of downtime. WhiteSpider designed and successfully delivered an ACI project according to business requirements. The network installed a more reliable, high-performance network enabling business-critical application to run more smoothly. Key benefits included the centralised orchestration, greater automation and improved performance from a simplified network topology granting greater visibility.
The technology and design required for the development and build of a leading motor racing team increases at a pace matched by few other industries. The final performance of a track car is the result of the vast amount of work that goes into the R&D in the factory. Furthermore, any rule changes, technological advances and the fiercely competitive environment in which such teams exist, places an ever growing demand on the supporting IT infrastructure and applications. Every innovation, across each area of the factory, requires faster application performance and greater volume of data to be processed and stored. Design areas include:
- Aerodynamic development
- Vehicle Performance and management systems
- Engine development
- Materials design and manufacture
With leading teams separated by the smallest of margins there is an ever present need to invest in technology to create competitive advantage.
Like any of the teams, each of the teams cars are made up of thousands of components, requiring many of hours of CAD design, extensive physical testing and dozens of applications to construct the cars. The company offers skills and resources in strategic consulting, planning, engineering, program management, construction management, and operations and maintenance. It provides services for all modes of infrastructure, including transportation, power, energy, community development, water, mining and the environment.
To support the resulting increased demand on IT, the team recently transitioned to a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), giving greater application performance and enabling the IT team to respond rapidly to demand. This, however, resulted in a new challenge. With significant increased demand on the incumbent network solution, the team needed to:
The HCI solution could support 25Gbps, or even 40Gpbs network infrastructure, but the existing infrastructure was limited to 10Gbps.
HCI enabled the team to rapidly allocate compute resources, but was hampered by the inability to allocate network resources at the same speed.
Reduce risk of down time
Even with the aggressive, and strategic, cycle of investment in infrastructure, there was a perceived growing risk of costly downtime.
What was required was a radically different approach. They needed a solution that would give real competitive advantage - that would ‘make the car go faster’ - the standard test applied to any major investment. So the IT team turned to long term technology partner, Cisco, and trusted consultant WhiteSpider for a solution.
The brief from the Head of IT Infrastructure, was simple: “Replace my existing infrastructure with no downtime and simple integration”. From the start this was a joint approach between all organisations. WhiteSpider brought their industry leading expertise and in depth knowledge of the team’s business operations and Cisco brought the technology expertise, with the forerunning data centre SDN solution, and understanding of what solutions worked best with other customers. It was apparent from the outset that a Software Defined Network was the ideal solution:
ACI would solve the challenges facing the team:
- Policy based automation to improve the agility of the IT team to respond to changing requirements.
- Network - wide orchestration to provide simplification of the infrastructure.
- Industry leading technology to deliver enhanced performance.
The existing network infrastructure was already best of breed Cisco Nexus 7k architecture, so the new solution needed to be a further advance on this technology.
ACI is built for simple integration and migration, reducing the risk to the team of downtime.
WhiteSpider was Cisco’s leading Advanced Technical Partner with extensive experience of designing and deploying ACI solutions of all sizes.
Adopting Cisco’s Nexus 9000 series platform the solution enables a policy driven fabric on which data centre services are delivered. This has enabled the team to evolve from a ‘Network First’ approach to a ‘Application Centric’ architecture. At the heart of the solution is Cisco’s ACI Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC). This enables seamless integration into the team’s physical and virtual infrastructure, allowing for a consistent network strategy across their data centre locations operating in an activeactive topology.
Utilising the Cisco ACI validated design, WhiteSpider worked with the team to implement a solution with no single point of failure as the infrastructure was distributed evenly across multiple data centres. The figure above illustrates this solutions topology. The result is both a simplification of the overall orchestration of the infrastructure, and improved agility of delivering uniform configurations from end-to-end within the DCs.