With its new FlashSystem SAN storage solution in place, MDS benefits from superior performance and far faster batch processing. The new infrastructure uses flash storage arrays instead of spinning disks, accelerating I/O performance very significantly during MDS’s billing routines, which involve multiple reads and writes for millions of transactions. “Our longest running billing routines are more than 24 times faster,” says Neil Winn. “This means our clients receive their daily billing information earlier in the day, so they utilise the information sooner – whether that’s to detect fraud, block unwanted calls, calculate product recommendations, or perform any other type of time sensitive task.”
Additionally, MDS has seen significant efficiency improvements because of its new solution. “Our billing and application management team spend less time managing the batch routines – leading to reductions in overtime required to run the application,” notes Neil Winn. “What’s more, we have reduced our data centre footprint.”
Thanks to our long relationship of working together, Meridian was the natural choice. Their team has a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Telecommunications solution provider MDS found that its existing storage system was nearing capacity. Billing routines were taking many hours to complete – leading to increased overheads as staff worked overtime to monitor and resolve issues. Neil Winn, Infrastructure Manager at MDS, explains: “As telecom companies invest in new real-time capabilities and fraud detection, there’s an ever-greater emphasis on speed: the faster they can receive their billing data, the more value they get from it. “We’re also aware that our clients’ needs are growing in terms of the volumes of data they ask us to process, and we wanted a solution that could handle future expansion.”
MDS turned to long-term partner Meridian for guidance in solving the technical challenge. “Thanks to our long relationship of working together, Meridian was the natural choice,” notes Neil Winn. “Their team has a wealth of experience and knowledge.” Meridian recommended an IBM FlashSystem V9000 appliance to replace the existing internal disk-based storage in MDS’s IBM i environment. Neil Winn comments,
“We have run our billing solution on IBM Power servers and IBM i, so it seemed a natural progression to implement a modern storage system from IBM too. By moving from internal disks to a SAN solution, we gain flexible, high-performance storage. FlashSystem was definitely a new direction for us, but Meridian gave us the confidence we needed to take that step.”
Meridian completed the project on schedule in only nine months, despite some technically challenging circumstances. A migration strategy had to be created to ensure that MDS was able to provide ‘business as usual’ services to their clients, at the same time as mi- grating the data from the old internal disks, which were mirrored to the new IBM V9000 storage. Meridian worked with the storage management functions within the IBM i operating system to allow the data to be migrated between the storage technologies with minimal impact, by scheduling the work into small manageable steps. Whilst this was a complex migration, the business operations were kept in service for the agreed schedules, and the migration process was transparent to the end users until they noticed the system response was vastly improving.
Thanks to Meridian, we have a fast, cost-effective solution that can scale as we grow – putting us in a strong position to support next-generation telecom services for our clients.