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Ricoh revamps Cloud infrastructure with Nimble and Cisco

Ricoh revamps Cloud infrastructure with Nimble and Cisco

Consolidates datacentre technology to meet customer demand

Print vendor turned IT services company, Ricoh, has deployed technology from Nimble Storage and Cisco to underpin its growing IT services business.

Ricoh IT services general manager, Matt Dixon, said the company had been operating on a raft of legacy technologies, which were a product of recent acquisitions and merger with IT services company, Lanier.

“It was necessary for us at some point to refresh all of that,” he said.

Dixon explained the infrastructure was spread across five different datacentres and the company needed to consolidate all its existing infrastructure to two locations to increase efficiency and reduce cost.

“Its purpose is also to control and provide customers with choice around whether they are buying a private Cloud service or a public Cloud service," he said.

“Over the last few years, we have made investments in the [NetApp and Cisco] Flexpod platforms and this made it very simple to integrate and carry on expanding the foundation of the platforms for our Cloud by going for the Nimble solution.

“When the tech team looked at the solutions which were available to us, we had made an investment in the Nimble and [Cisco] UCS platforms for a project we are doing with one of the big banks, and so it was just a continuation of that. It was technically an easier integration for us than the other options we had."

Dixon said that through the acquisitions of different businesses, the company had outgrown its existing infrastructure.

Matt Dixon - General manager of IT services, Ricoh
Matt Dixon - General manager of IT services, Ricoh

“It was disparate across five different datacentres so we had a legacy consolidation requirement and it also provided us the ability to build capacity.

“We are currently growing at 50 per cent year on year and that is part of the Ricoh global strategy of diversifying into IT services.

“There are very rapid growth expectations there and we really needed to get a best in market platform in place so we could simplify what we are managing today and also give us the capacity and performance for the future," he added.

Dixon said the company now planned to spread its IT infrastructure across two datacentres.

“The investment was also coupled with a significant investment in our carriage network which we are building out so it all became part of the overall design,” he said.

“We will end up building small presences in different states once we grow out those parts of the business."

The company currently has a small POP setup in WA, along with another facility in Eastern Creek.

“We are in a couple of the top three providers and we have something in Melbourne so we are just simplifying all of that,” Dixon added.

Target Markets

Dixon explained that Ricoh had two focuses, one on the commercial market of 500 to 1000 seats, and the other on 500 seats and above.

“Ricoh has in excess of eight or nine thousand customers in that [SME] market alone if not more and obviously those customers are looking for a workplace technology services provider, where we are able to offer IT services, Cloud services, carriage services, workflow services as well as traditional document services.

“You have the customers who have 50 to 100 seats who really don’t have an in house IT capability and then you start to grow into the larger SMEs and the lower mid-market where they do have IT departments but they have limited resources and need specialist providers to help them.

“When you move into the upper mid-market and into the enterprise we are really a specialist provider servicing the IT department within those companies.

“We already have branches in every capital city and for us to grow out the IT services function and offer Cloud services and other things for those customers, it is a very low barrier to entry for us to do it," he said.

To service these two target markets, Dixon said Ricoh purchased two of Nimble’s high-end [AF3000] boxes which he said gave the company ability to expand capacity and more capability in availability.

“We get a single pane of glass view of our entire infrastructure. It brought some smarts to the table which helped us with our whole Cloud and carriage infrastructure.

“The biggest things that came out of this for us was simplifying what we own and manage, providing high performance solutions to clients and having the ability and capacity in there to grow with requirements.

“There is a mix of needs out there and the mix of our own offering with private and public Cloud really just gave us that new-age latest technology that we can really leverage," he mentioned.

Ricoh currently offers public Cloud services from AWS and Microsoft. It is also in partnership with IBM and host some platforms that are operating out of SoftLayer, but are unrelated to the IT services business.

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