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Skycity opts for single-vendor infrastructure strategy

05 Oct 12

Looking for the advantages of interoperability, economies of scale and a single point for issue resolution, hospitality and gaming company Skycity has chosen HP to meet much of its IT infrastructure requirements.

In a recently-concluded year-long project, the company has implemented networking, servers and storage, with HP management software providing control across the new system.

Mike Clarke, Skycity CIO, says a single-vendor strategy has its advantages. “Our primary goal was to avoid interoperability issues. Despite what most vendors will claim, when there are issues – and in IT, issues come with the territory – there remains the problem of finger-pointing and difficulty in identifying exactly where the trouble lies.”

Even if it is just identifying which vendor is responsible, time is required; for businesses like Skycity, with around-the-clock operations, time-to-resolution is a critical factor.

Agreeing that HP is one of very few vendors which can provide a full range of infrastructure solutions, Clarke says a competitive bid process was entered into. The vendor won the day on the basis of a sound existing relationship and products which had proven their mettle in the field.

“Prior to this project, HP technology was performing well in our environment; products from some of the other vendors weren’t," he says.

"While we started from the storage as the centrepiece of the project, there were alternatives [to HP] at every step; however, we liked the way the storage and the servers interoperated, and then the network, too.”

More than that, Clarke says HP has a proven track record in providing solutions to casinos. “That added a large amount of credibility. While every industry is different, and even businesses within that industry differ, it is good to know that big casinos globally use HP; that also means longevity in the vertical market solutions it offers can be expected.”

What about the potential risk of placing all the proverbial eggs in one basket? “We don’t see excessive risk in it, otherwise we wouldn’t do it,” he notes. “Typically, the primary benefit of a dual- or multiple vendor strategy is price leverage. However, with a solid relationship in place, we believe that can be obtained from a single sourcing arrangement.”

As a project spanning its Australian and New Zealand operations, Clarke is forthright that it’s no mean feat.

“Managing a project of this nature is a mission, but we had a good project team which brought a lot experience with it. We started in December 2011 in Darwin and finished in Queenstown at the end of September. While every project has its moments and there are always speed bumps, we’re seeing the benefits we were looking for,” he concludes.

The new infrastructure is a component of a growth plan to attract and retain customers by offering the latest in gaming services. The infrastructure consists of 400 HP Networking switches, BladeSystem BL460c servers and ProLiant DL380 servers, and 3PAR Storage.

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