Corporate Express steps up its IT transformation strategy

The IT and office supplies reseller has adopted Cisco’s UCS to unify its virtual IT infrastructure.

Corporate Express has taken a new step to unify the Cisco, EMC and VMware technologies in its IT environment as part of a lengthy IT infrastructure make-over.

The IT and office supplies reseller’s IT transformation initiative started in 2004 when it began virtualising its environment with VMware ESX and went on to use Cisco products for networking.

Corporate Express began a relationship with EMC in 2007 for its storage products.

VMware vSphere is now being used and IT assets in remote offices are continuously being consolidated to its St Leonards and Mascot datacentres.

Virtualisation has removed 200 physical servers from the company’s IT environment.

Corporate Express infrastructure and operations manager, Andrew Grech, estimated this had reduced 700 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

The company recently invested in the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), a scalable infrastructure, to bring together computing, networking and storage. The UCS brings all three together as virtual services that can be provisioned efficiently.

This is part of the company’s strategy to break down the different IT silos and consolidate the roles of the IT team.

All IT staff will have access and training for the entire IT environment.

Corporate Express has struggled to completely virtualise its environment, loitering at around 90 per cent since December last year. Grech is optimistic that the newly adopted UCS help finish off the job.

“Having a fully virtualised environment increases flexibility, reduces management overheads and leverages off enterprise investments,” he said.

Since taking on the UCS, the reseller has migrated more than 160 virtual machines onto it.

Corporate express also brought on EMC’s Avamar solution to identify redundant data at the source to minimise backup data before it is sent over a local area network and wide area network.

“Platform technologies like the UCS and storage means we can build a dynamic datacentre,” Grech said. “Obviously, from a support perspective, it means we can reduce support for managing file servers.”

Corporate Express has 40 offices across Australia and New Zealand.