Control Solutions, founded over 30 years ago in Aurora, Illinois, is an innovative electronic design and manufacturing company, focusing on three markets; commercial mobility solutions, military electro-hydraulic vehicle motion control subsystems, and medical mobility. The IT team plays a significant role, supporting the mechanical, electrical and firmware engineers, as well as the operations and manufacturing department, with the software tools that power their business.
Control Solutions was an early NexGen Storage customer in 2013, installing the N5 flash storage product that would eventually be integrated into Pivot3’s Acuity hyperconverged infrastructure solution when Pivot3 acquired NexGen Storage in 2016. Control Solutions had great success with the NexGen product, motivating IT director Jake Zimmerman to investigate Pivot3’s hyperconverged infrastructure years later when it was time to refresh his infrastructure. In 2017, Control Solutions began conversations with their Pivot3 account executive and trusted value-added reseller, DSN, about upgrading the complete infrastructure, including servers, storage, networking, firewall, domain controllers, and wireless access.
Zimmerman evaluated Dell/EMC’s vSAN, HP Simplivity, and Pivot3 for the server and storage components of his infrastructure. For him, the decision was simple. “Where IT is concerned, past performance is everything,” said Zimmerman. “I believed I would get the same level of service as in the past and I trusted the recommendation from my VAR.” In addition, Zimmerman was looking for a solution that would take advantage of the latest technology to ensure performance for his demanding environment.
Zimmerman selected Pivot3’s hyperconverged infrastructure, a distributed, scale-out architecture powered by NVMe flash. In addition, Pivot3’s Intelligence Engine prioritizes resources to mission-critical workloads to ensure employee productivity and simplifies management of the infrastructure. At the same time as his Pivot3 purchase, Zimmerman upgraded to VMware’s ESX version 6.7. With the hypervisor and infrastructure upgrade, Zimmerman was able to consolidate the number of VMs he was managing while providing additional services to his customers.
Today, Zimmerman has a wide range of applications running on the Pivot3 infrastructure, including his domain controllers, the ERP, MRP, mechanical engineering software, and product lifecycle software all on an Oracle database backend, Microsoft SharePoint, and an internal product test system used to ensure manufacturing quality running on a Microsoft SQL Server backend.
Zimmerman conducted a survey before and after his infrastructure upgrade, and results show that Zimmerman’s customers have noticed performance enhancements associated with the new infrastructure. “My users have noticed that things have picked up significantly,” said Zimmerman.
“I liked the complete package that Pivot3 was offering,” said Zimmerman. “Pivot3 did a really good job as far as administration. I manage everything from a single screen – my storage, hosts, and VMs, all through the vSphere client. It also doesn’t take a lot to administer. It’s a set it and forget it, which I value.”
In addition, Zimmerman was able to reduce his hardware footprint by half. “Less footprint means reduced power and cooling requirements for Control Solutions,” said Zimmerman. “I also like having empty space in my rack for whatever comes next.” Pivot3’s ability to scale compute and capacity separately also factored into Zimmerman’s decision.
“The Pivot3 infrastructure has been running flawlessly since install,” said Zimmerman. “I fully believe in empowering and enabling the end user. We have very high-end customers at Control Solutions. After the infrastructure upgrade, we received positive reviews around IT’s ability to provide a high level of service. That’s very satisfying.”