CINgroup provides innovative software for attorneys practicing bankruptcy as well as educational services to help consumers navigate their financial future. Constant innovation and an unrelenting focus on customer experience have allowed CINgroup to maintain its 90% market share leadership in the bankruptcy software market. But don’t be mistaken, CINgroup has never rested on its laurels; their culture of continuous improvement and closeness to their customer has been key to their success.
Start with Server Virtualization, and Cloud as the Journey
From a technology perspective, CINgroup began its digital transformation journey with VMware vSphere server virtualization reaping the efficiency beneficial efficiencies and ROI value in its on-premises data center, the company is taking that journey to the next level the cloud. “but like most software companies, the cloud is our future,” says Bob Tester, Enterprise Architect, CINgroup.
“As we deliver more features and functionality via the cloud, we will need to store a lot more data on behalf of our customers.”
But those data-intensive applications bring on the biggest challenges. As data sources become richer, customer demand increases, and the cost and performance required for storing and serving more data becomes a major obstacle. “Engineers spent too much time reconfiguring workloads to optimize data warehousing performance.”
CINgroup considered public cloud as a solution, but suspected that keeping data warehousing and other workloads in-house would be more cost-effective with a hyperconverged solution.
The Stress Test on vSAN Succeeds
The company evaluated VMware vSAN, VMware’s hyper-converged solution, along with competing products. CINgroup preferred the vSAN architecture because of its native integration with the VMware vSphere hypervisor, which optimizes the I/O path and simply works with all existing VMware features and solutions. A proactive stress test proved successful; virtualizing applications such as Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Cisco Call Manager, data warehousing and web applications.
To take advantage of the latest functionality in vSphere and vSAN, CINgroup likes to maintain the latest product releases. Tester recently upgraded vSphere 6.7 and vSAN 6.7 and can now take advantage of capabilities such as simplified management via the HTML5 user interface.
A Once Unavoidable Bottleneck No Longer Held CINgroup Captive
“We got a major performance boost with vSAN—even better than we expected…storage was a big bottleneck before, and now that problem is eliminated. With the ability to apply storage policies in vSAN on a per-VM basis, we’re able to maintain that performance as we grow without investing valuable engineering time.”
The Financial Controller Gave a Big Thumbs Up
A cost analysis revealed that the CINgroup could purchase high-performance servers, upgrade its network to 40GbE, and replace its production SAN with vSAN under the same budget that was previously allocated to refresh its legacy SAN array.
“With vSAN, the savings really lined up,” says Tester. “We were able to introduce commodity flash drives into a hybrid cluster at 90% less cost than using proprietary flash drives from our previous SAN vendor.”
Grow with the Business, Scale without the Risk
Enabling IT to be more flexible was key to CINgroup’s needs, but more important to them was their ability to maintain application performance as their application richness and customer datasets grew.
And grow CINgroup certainly has; from 90 terabytes in 2016 to 408 terabytes today. Importantly, by being able to confine highly regulated workloads, it allowed non regulated applications to be quickly developed and deployed without the rigors of regulatory drag.
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