Mirion Technologies has a long history of providing mission critical products to detect, monitor and identify radiation. Mirion operates thirteen production facilities around the world including an Imaging Systems Division facility in Hampshire.Like many multinational companies, Mirion understands the value of utilising local professional IT support, benefiting from compact lines of communication and speedy onsite support when needed. IS People and Kevin Brock Head of UK IT, team for Mirion Technologies Imaging Systems Division (ISD), discussed short and long term requirements, and it soon became apparent that IS People could help radically restructure, rationalise and improve their IT infrastructure.
Mirion Technologies is at the forefront of its field, and believes in building an IT infrastructure that can meet the growing demands now and in the future.The existing infrastructure consisted of five physical tower servers with direct attached storage, many approaching the end of their useful life. There had been piecemeal expansion over the years with all the operational issues that this can bring, such as insufficient failover protection; inefficient use of available storage; and labour intensive maintenance requirements to keep everything working. Backups were partial data only and did not include the ability to restore complete systems.
The Business Need
Mirion’s ISD IT team were facing a number of challenges around hardware upgrades and increasing reliability with current operating systems and applications that were not compatible with newer hardware. Additionally, the team wanted to deploy a more robust backup and recovery solution that could consolidate various solutions and associated media.
IS People reviewed the options for updating their systems with Kevin Brock, IT and Facilities Manager at Mirion Technologies ISD UK. It became clear that a virtualised solution based around VMware was the preferred option to meet the requirements. VMware vSphere 5 gives Mirion ISD the ability to consolidate their existing physical servers onto just two host platforms while still providing resilience and flexibility.
Key VMware features implemented include:
- vSphere High Availability – automatic failover between hosts
- vSphere vMotion – live migration of virtual machines between physical servers
- vSphere vCenter – intuitive control and management interface
Dual CPU Dell PowerEdge servers were chosen as ESX hosts. An EqualLogic PS series SAN provides 2.3TB of usable RAID 6 storage, with the option to double the capacity when required. The new hardware was rack mounted in an existing cabinet making it easier to maintain and access while freeing up space in the server room. VMware’s efficient use of CPU, memory and storage resources provides better performance, increased flexibility together with lower power requirements in a much smaller footprint.The existing backup software was replaced with image level backups of the virtualised servers. The snapshot and recovery facilities of VMware and the EqualLogic SAN were enabled and configured to provide additional recovery options. This provides greater security and is a step towards a more resilient solution.
At the start, IS People provided two key documents – ‘Project Scope and Structure Definition’, and the ‘Solution Implementation and Design’ – which made the process transparent to all and provided a basis for assessment both during and after.
The hardware (specified and supplied by IS People) was installed by Mirion IT. VMware, SAN, UPS, network configuration and testing was carried out by IS People with knowledge transfer at key stages to Mirion staff. The initial physical-to-virtual migrations were carried out by IS People who then handed over to Mirion IT for the remainder – knowing they had the full support of IS People if they needed it. The solution was documented, handed over and signed off as a success on time and in budget.
In less than a year from their first meeting with IS People, Mirion’s IT system has been transformed. They now have a highly resilient and flexible system, combining high availability with the ability to add further virtual resources on demand.
The key benefits have been:
- A clear and fully documented infrastructure, designed to Mirion’s requirements
- Reduced running costs through hardware rationalisation and reduced time maintaining the physical infrastructure
- Better performance and hardware utilisation through the pooling of resources with virtualisation
- A more robust environment with automatic failover and increased recoverability options
- A platform to enable new technologies, ensuring greater flexibility to the workforce, to work smarter and more efficiently