The Chartered Institute for Professional Development (CIPD) is a professional association for human resource management professionals headquartered in Wimbledon, London, England. Founded in 1913, it is the world’s oldest association in its field and has over 145,000 members internationally working across private, public and voluntary sectors. With hubs in the UK, Ireland, Middle East and Asia, the CIPD is the only body in the world that can award Chartered status to individual HR and Learning and Development professionals.
The CIPD was saddled with an aging legacy storage solution that threatened to interrupt their operations. When a significant portion of their infrastructure failed over a weekend, only heroics on the part of the IT staff allowed them to avoid outages that would have negatively impacted the CIPD’s clientele. “The failures didn’t impact the business; they happened outside business hours, and the IT team worked long hours to rebuild things before the working day started again. However, the failures were an indication we were on a path to disaster if we didn’t address the issue,” said Robert Campbell, head of digital workplace and technology at the CIPD.
“As a professional institute, what we’re selling is trust. That trust is built on reputation. If the systems had had a catastrophic failure, we would have been unable to access files or our membership systems, take payments, or answer queries from members. Our reputation could have been severely damaged,” added Campbell.
“One of the appeals of the Pivot3 solution was that it’s very simple to slot in another node. We have headroom to expand in the short term, and if we grow beyond that, the Pivot3 solution gives us the ability to very simply add capacity.”
The CIPD worked with Servium, a UK-based solutions provider, to select an updated infrastructure that would provide the reliability, scalability, and performance they needed to ensure top-notch service for their clientele. “One of the major barriers to addressing the risk around our earlier system was the significant amount of capital investment required to replace it,” said Campbell. “Servium, along with Pivot3, put forward a proposal that was very attractive from a cost perspective. We’re looking at an 18-month payback on our investment.” The Pivot3 solution proposed by Servium saved the CIPD hundreds of thousands of British pounds when compared with replicating their existing legacy architecture.
Servium and Pivot3 defined an infrastructure upgrade for the CIPD that included a combination of HCI appliances and storage nodes. The flexibility to combine HCI appliances with storage-only nodes allowed the solution to be tailored to CIPD’s exact needs. The CIPD runs a wide variety of datacenter applications on the Pivot3 infrastructure, including many customer-facing applications.
Pivot3 provides CIPD with a scalable solution to support the data and applications they’re running today, as well as easy expandability to future-proof the IT environment. “The issue in IT is always the degree of unpredictability around future requirements,” said Campbell. “Like many organizations, we’re becoming very much focused on collecting customer data in order to become more customer-centric and build up customer intimacy. I predict that we’re going to be massively increasing the amount of data we collect over the next couple of years. One of the appeals of the Pivot3 solution was that it’s very simple to slot in another node. We have headroom to expand in the short term, and if we grow beyond that, the Pivot3 solution gives us the ability to very simply add capacity.”
A benefit that Campbell didn’t foresee when he purchased his Pivot3 solution was reduced spend on power. “The transition to our hyperconverged infrastructure has driven a consolidation exercise,” said Campbell. “We’ve been able to turn off a lot of boxes, which saved us on licensing, power consumption, and air conditioning costs. We’ve reduced the power bill for our computer room.”
In addition, Campbell has seen a significant improvement in performance compared to his legacy storage solution. “We have an overnight process to extract database tables into our data warehouse,” said Campbell. “Previously, the batch runs finished close to the start of the working day, leaving us no room for error in the batch process. We had to make systems unavailable while issues were addressed. With Pivot3, the time required to run the batch process has been reduced by 30%. That’s enabling better reporting capabilities and the ability to maintain system availability for our users.”