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An excess of 25,000 products on the shelves managed by more than 1,800 people in 88 countries. That is reality for Danish, family owned Abena, and Enterprise Architect, Henning Berggreen. He and Abena, along with us and HPE, were some of the very first in Denmark to make a virtual IT infrastructure into reality with an HPE SimpliVity solution.

Written in February of 2019

Since this story was published, Henning Berggreen has changed jobs. However, that does not change the facts of the story or Abena’s approach to the task/project.

In 2018, the rapid growth of Abena needed to be addressed: “We had quite a bit of old hunks of metal lying around, and they were using around 6000 watts of power when idle so that is where we started. At first, we intended to preserve the existing server park, but because of quite a few new issues arising, we instead started to look at a full change-out,” Henning Berggreen says and continues: “To begin with, we were looking for a 3PAR solution. However, HPE visits us somewhat frequently, so we were introduced to SimpliVity and we quickly found that even a smaller inexpensive 3PAR solution would cost us the same as a large combined SimpliVity installation.”

Virtual and Truly Simple

You cannot operate without virtualization and it offers many advantages, but if you do not have a solid foundation, it can quickly create silos and quite a bit of maintenance. HPE SimpliVity is founded on a VMWare platform in which parts of the infrastructure are integrated into one compact and efficient platform which is easily managed. It is the cornucopia in HPE’s VMWare universe.  

It is an enterprise product which streamlines IT on a large scale, adds speed to the performance of the applications, and increases efficiency for instance by recreating and creating backup of VM (virtual machines) in a few seconds. This is a fact which Henning Berggreen could quickly get used to as both the process and the products were moving rapidly.

“The implementation itself was one of the easiest things ever because it is based on ordinary servers. We needed to create 3-4 IP addresses and HPE basically did the rest. It is almost like playing with LEGO® blocks. You follow one simple instruction and just add another block if you, for instance, need more storage, RAM, or CPU.”

Henning Berggreen, Enterprise Architect, Abena

A Plug-In that Adds Value

Henning underlines the words simple and effective when it comes to this solution: “I only spent one afternoon when we needed to test our first set-up in Germany. It went so fast that we even had time to go sightseeing afterwards. SimpliVity is really a plug-in for your VM so it is a known quantity. The graphics are also wonderful. Our trainee can set it up and monitor it all from the dashboard. Nice and easy and you can quickly get back to business.”


A Massive Time- and Electricity Savings

These days, Abena’s SimpliVity solutions are running in Germany and England, and even though a few things have come about in the test phase, as expected, Henning has no doubt that the other markets will be following. “Right now, we have one irritation over a bug which is not present, but which flags. However, we are getting serious and exceptional service and we can see that everyone is working at high speed for us. The overall impression from Germany and England is that everything is running ten times faster than before. Our new SimpliVity can handle operations that used to take minutes in seconds! That is a massive time savings,” Henning states.

The system also has a green value to it. By using this solution, Abena is using approximately ten times less power than before, approximately 640 watts. “Our next step is to add on SimpliVity backup. We can do so once we have more connected.”

With HPE at Platinum and Enterprise Level

Abena was an HPE customer before Henning came on board. Conversely, he was a customer with us for years before he joined Abena. The reality is that SimpliVity is an enterprise product which can only be handled by HPE Platinum partners. In 2018, we became certified at that exact level along with only two others. We are part of an exclusive division in which service and skills are from the very top shelf and Henning certainly took notice of that as well. “Things can be constructed out of proportion in the virtual world without anybody really noticing it, however, HPE provides an excellent sizing tool for this to ensure that things are handled properly from the beginning,” Henning says.

The trio created by us, HPE, and the customer has proven itself to be high level in several instances. Aside from the Platinum certification, we also brought home the trophy in 2018 as HPE partner of the year. And according to Henning, that is a great constellation to be in: “Everything is working as expected. When the proper sizing has been created, we are completely confident that the product will arrive in the correct place in the world, quickly, and with the necessary cabling, everything made compatible, and at the highest quality. We have an extraordinary collaboration and that means a lot to us.”

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