Wesco Aircraft Flying High with Upgraded Data Center

Wesco Aircraft Case Study

From its humble beginnings in 1953 as a seven-employee company to today, a worldwide distributor of aerospace hardware with 27 locations in North America, Europe and the Middle East, the sky has been the limit for Wesco Aircraft. Based in Valencia, California, the company has just under 1000 employees and generated $660 million in revenue last year, handling thousands of parts every day through its very active distribution network. Wesco’s plans to expand into China and Japan will continue fuelling the Company’s steady organizational growth.

The majority of Wesco’s business is servicing demanding aerospace companies, so system downtime is very costly and not tolerated. Wesco operates an enterprise management system, intranet, Microsoft Exchange and Windows.

Having experienced downtime from power outages and other normal problems associated with organizational growth, Wesco’s IT Department recognized that their data center needed to be upgraded to keep pace with the growing operational capabilities and service level demands.

Intelligent Use of Virtualization and Consolidation

Wesco called on Key Information Systems to develop a complete solution to improve capacity and performance, reliability, availability and serviceability while still reducing costs through intelligent use of virtualization and consolidation.
“We approached Key Information Systems to help us evaluate the requirements to upgrade our data center and what products were available to help us grow,” says Morris Benoun, Director of Information Technology for Wesco Aircraft. “Key helped steer us in the right direction for size, capacity and cost.”

Key Information Systems is a leading technology firm in the western United States, with headquarters in Agoura Hills, California. KeyInfo™ specializes in solutions for corporate IT infrastructure, virtualization, server consolidation, IT security, storage management and business continuity. KeyInfo’s virtualization and IT security solutions are backed by a complete range of professional services including critical assessment, financing, system integration, installation, training and maintenance.

“We took every application and every environment and virtualized it”
–Lief Morin, President Key Information Systems, Inc.

“Companies need to improve their operational capabilities in order to meet the level of service their customers have come to expect,” says Key Information Systems President Lief Morin. “We see this a lot in the marketplace.”

Cloud Isn’t Always the Answer

With Key’s help, Wesco evaluated several options, including the possibility of moving to a Cloud environment. “The whole world is saying ‘Cloud,’” says Morin. “But Cloud is not the best choice for all situations. In this case, the client had some fundamental limitations that made Cloud wrong for them.” Wesco opted to upgrade their data center capacity by implementing IBM Blade Centers with XIV and taking full advantage of virtualization to give them the availability they needed. The completely IBM solution includes storage, servers, SAN and IBM Brocade.

“We took every application and every environment and virtualized it,” says Morin. “And we made sure everything was fully duplicated. The focus for this upgrade was making operations more efficient internally; to significantly increase performance with reliability, availability and serviceability.”

In addition to the expanded capacity, Benoun appreciates the ease of management of the system. “It is very easy to carve and allocate data,” he says. “Performance and speed are even better than we expected, and IBM service is really good. There is even a ‘call home’ feature. If there is a disk error, the server can call IBM and tell them. A new part shows up to fix the problem before we even know the problem exists.” Benoun says the transition from their old equipment to the new equipment was very smooth, and Key provided all the training they needed to make the transition seamless.

This is just the beginning, Benoun says. “We wanted to upgrade to high availability and make sure we were happy with the system. Next year, we will work on adding disaster recovery.”

The key to success in this type of upgrade, says Morin, is “to plan the heck out of it. Good planning leads to good implementation. You have to understand the client’s environment and their dependencies.” Key conducted architectural review sessions and client reviews throughout the planning process.

“It’s all about the minimization of risk,” Morin says. “How do we minimize risk? That’s the role of a solution provider. Not everything needs to be the fancy widget. The Wesco solution is the epitome of what a good set of intelligent decisions can lead to.”

“Key helped steer us in the right direction for size, capacity and cost.
–Morris Benoun, Director of Information Technology for Wesco Aircraft.