International Speedway Corporation (ISC) needed its applications to run as fast as the race cars on its tracks. The company owns 13 U.S. sports entertainment facilities. While it’s best known for its racetracks and motorsports events, its venues also host concerts and festivals.
“The problem was aging architecture,” said David Luke, director of IT engineers at ISC. The architecture was difficult to manage and required significant time to troubleshoot and upgrade.
“We were on a lease cycle and all the stars aligned where we had a majority of our infrastructure coming off lease at the same time,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to look at holistically what would work for the enterprise.”
This was in 2016. Because the company’s five engineers were already familiar with FlexPod, they looked at newer versions of the Cisco-NetApp converged infrastructure. They also looked at Nutanix and Dell EMC hyperconverged systems.
ISC’s primary data center is in Daytona, Florida, and it has a secondary data center in Concord, North Carolina, in addition to its track locations across the U.S. It wanted a single platform from which to manage all of its infrastructure.
“Our mantra through the whole thing was let’s keep it simple,” Luke said. “We had three to four vendors in the whole FlexPod solution and it was reliable, we had great SLAs. But we also had three or four consoles we had to manage. With the small number of engineers, we wanted something that was simplified and one central console to manage the solution. Let’s get everything under one architecture.”
After running a return on investment analysis on the different vendors’ systems, ISC choose Nutanix software and hardware.
In July 2017 it purchased Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Acropolis, including AHV virtualization, Nutanix Acropolis File Services (AFS), Prism Central management, and Nutanix migration services. It started deployment in early August 2017, focusing on the data centers first and then moving to its other 11 track offices by the end of October 2017.
“We had a pretty aggressive schedule to forklift our entire environment,” Luke said, adding that ease of deployment was an immediate benefit. “We had 19 nodes in Daytona and we were able to get that up and running in two to three days.”
In addition to simplifying operations, the company also increased availability and performance of its Tier-1 applications and achieved 50 percent to 90 percent faster completion times on Oracle database processes.
“Based on the analysis we did, the Nutanix solution was about 10 percent cheaper than the FlexPod solution,” Luke said. “That was one of the drivers — we want to be fiscally responsible. Having Nutanix come in with all of the other benefits, plus they were 10 percent lower cost, was definitely icing on the cake.”
Some of ISC’s workloads still run on vSphere. The company’s goal is to move 75 percent of its workloads to Nutanix’s AHV virtualization software by the end of the year and eventually reach 100 percent.
It’s also planning to move about 600 terabytes of video surveillance data off of an older NetApp system and onto Nutanix. As Luke said, “If everything goes to plan, we’ll be executing that on Nutanix later this year.”