International IT infrastructure refresh
About Anvil Mining
Anvil Mining Ltd is the leading Copper producer in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with head offices based in Perth, Western Australia. Anvil has a clear, strong growth strategy, supported by high-grade resources and employees over 2,550 people. With a strong commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility, the company is setting the foundations for the continued development of Anvil Mining.
“Empired have listened to our issues and provided a high-availability solution that addresses all our concerns. We can continue business with the confidence that we now have a stable server environment that will be able to accommodate for our growth.”
Anvil Mining IT Manager
Anvil’s remote IT infrastructure was based on aging physical servers hosting multiple applications and services. This was resulting in issues with support and maintenance of existing systems as well as capacity issues for the deployment of new business systems.
In early 2007, Anvil Mining sought a solution to the logistical issues with updating their aging IT infrastructure in the DRC. They turned to Empired, their IT Managed Services provider to develop a solution that would address the combined issues of extended commissioning lead times, scalability and reliability in this harsh environment.
The solution had to address the immediate business issues as well as provide for a four year projected growth at each site.
“We were relying on aging physical servers. In case of a hardware failure, we would lose everything hosted by that specific server. For example, Exchange e-mail.” said Simon Kidd, IT Manager, Anvil Mining. “This would have huge implications for remote operations in the DRC”.
The remote IT infrastructure was based on aging physical server instances. Multiple applications and services had to be hosted on a limited number of individual servers, this caused issues with support and maintenance of specific systems as well as capacity issues for the deployment of new business systems. Other challenges included:
- The remote location of the mine sites meant significant logistical issues
- The lack of redundancy had the potential to cause significant business impact in the event of a hardware failure.
- The physical server based infrastructure lacked scalability and flexibility.
- The implementation of new business systems were severely impacted by the long IT infrastructure provisioning lead times.
The Empired Advanced Infrastructure and Storage teams working with our key partners, VMware and NetApp, developed an innovative remote site solution based on cutting edge virtualisation technologies. The outcome was a flexible, cost effective, highly available solution that could scale to support Anvil’s developing operations in the DRC.
In order to support Anvil’s business outcomes in the DRC, Empired designed and implemented a standardised, virtual environment based on, VMware ESX, IBM Servers and NetApp Storage. This infrastructure was configured in Australia and shipped to site in the DRC. Empired then remotely executed the migration activities for AD, SQL, Exchange, Citrix and Client services to the new environment. Finally the business applications were migrated and the aging physical servers were securely decommissioned.
Based on the success of virtualising the first two of their remote sites, Anvil has now implemented the same model for the corporate offices and well as their main data centre. On completion, the projects to virtualisation the final two remote sites in the DRC will result in Anvil Mining having moved all sites with Windows servers to a VMware based infrastructure.
Other benefits include:
- Application availability has increased at the virtualised remotes sites
- Server provisioning can be achieved in hours rather than months
- System can be maintained without impacting other unrelated applications
- No hardware failures have resulted in server outages at the virtualised sites
The deployment environment
- NetApp FAS 2020 Appliance using ISCSI
- 2 x IBM 3650 servers
- VMware ESX enterprise
- Cisco 3750 switches
- Guest operating systems: Microsoft Windows • Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange 2003, Microsoft Windows XP and CommVault Simpana 7.0 for backup