Fortune 250 Company Implements an Efficient Chargeback System

Thursday, April 30, 2015

APTARE was recently brought in by a partner to help a customer (a Fortune 500 brand) implement a more robust chargeback program. The company’s storage environment was a mess of different platforms and vendors due to both acquisitions and organic growth.

And by mess, we mean mess. It is made up of HDS, IBM, EMC and NetApp systems, and backups and disaster recovery are managed by IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, Avamar and Data Domain while the network is glued together with CISCO switches. Yikes!

What turned the mess into a financial disaster was the fact that the storage team was manually collecting storage inventory information from thousands of servers, storage devices, switches and other devices.  The devices were spread across a massive geographically-diverse storage environment that the team inherited from the company’s recent acquisition history, in addition to the IT infrastructure that was already in place. And of course both the in-house and the acquired IT infrastructure components were growing rapidly due to the never-ending growth of data created by new applications, video files, and email attachments.

HP Asset Manager was set up as the backbone of the discovery system and relied on dozens of individual device manager tools to collect information. The data was then manually integrated into the company’s SAP billing environment. SAS scripts did exist, but they were written ten years ago by administrators that had been promoted or left the company. The process was taking more than 200 hours each month to collect and integrate disparate reports in a single chargeback platform, and the system was delivering inaccurate information.

Working with our partner, we came in and installed an integrated chargeback solution. Once deployed, the solution automatically audited the storage networks, collecting capacity and usage information across platforms while integrating seamlessly with HP Asset Manager—replacing the disparate device tools. APTARE continually monitors the network, updating the CMDB as devices and capacity are added or taken out of rotation. At the same time, usage is tracked and recorded on a tier, user or group level—providing a detailed and accurate chargeback solution that the company can use to make individual business units responsible for costs associated with capacity requests.

Viola! An efficient chargeback solution that actually works.

Everything is automatic, saving the company more than 200 hours per month while improving the accuracy of the chargeback data. Freed from mundane administration, the storage team is now able to focus on other, more strategic projects that have the potential to further streamline operations. In the future, chargeback information collected by APTARE can be used to enable smarter storage decisions through more accurate forecasting, capacity planning and reclamation.

All it took was business-level visibility into the company’s heterogeneous storage environment and some pretty cool integration that automatically pushes all of the data directly into the billing application. Working with our partner, we were able to put the right data into the right place just when the customer needed it.

APTARE—the global leader in IT Analytics—is the only company delivering unified backup and storage insights for heterogeneous IT environments across on-prem and hybrid-cloud