Lessons From a Virtual Computing Environment Upgrade

Posted by Randy Paulson on Feb 10, 2019

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Preparing for continued growth, Sony Pictures based in Culver City and a member of the Big 6 and the Motion Picture Association of America, consolidated and upgraded their virtual computing platform with Nutanix.


Technology Not Just For Movie Making

Doing more with less, like any other business, Sony Picture’s Enterprise Infrastructure Services group (EIS) delivered improved performance and lowered total cost of ownership of their virtual computing platform.

This is the story of one of EIS’ many initiatives to deliver robust, scalable platforms supporting critical business and back-office applications.

Partners Are Important

Some combination of computer hardware and software usually results in products that make life easier, enhance productivity, or are just plain fun to use.  But it takes unique skills and expertise to combine the multitudes of components, pieces, and insight into viable products.  That’s where it’s important to find the right experts to help you achieve your vision.  EIS partnered with Dell, VMWare, and Nutanix for the hardware and software, and 120VC to lead the effort to implement the new solution.

First Things First

Part of the selection process for both the product and its cast of partners included learning about the product and seeing how it works.  In tech-speak, we refer to this as a Proof of Concept.  The Nutanix product was selected as the solution of choice because of how easy it was to install and test, learn to operate, and because of the support offered by the vendor and their partners.  This process solidified EIS’s choice.

The Project

Using 120VC’s proven Enterprise Project Management Standard, Randy Paulson, a 120VC Program Manager, and Account Lead at Sony Pictures, collaborated with the Team and developed an effective plan that built, tested, and migrated over 1,000 virtual servers and 400 VDI users to the Nutanix platform in 10 weeks without disruption to the business.  And, found a vendor to perform and certify the data destruction, purchase the old hardware, and remove it from the datacenters within the following four weeks. That’s right, we sold the old stuff, and were able to get someone to pay us to pick it up!

The Results

In addition to the obvious results already mentioned above, e.g., upgrading the virtual computing platform, improving application performance, lowering total cost of ownership,  and retiring obsolete equipment without disruption to the business, the project was completed on-time and under budget, and also reduced the space used in the datacenters, maintained disaster recovery capability, reduced mean-time-to-repair having modern equipment, and increased the ability for faster response to requests to provision new servers.

In summary, the job was done right the first time.

Written by Randy Paulson

Trusted business partner and IT leader experienced in delivering multi-$MM ERP system implementations, governance and customer support initiatives in manufacturing, food service distribution and defense. Experienced in new technology implementation and system upgrades to support worldwide enterprises and business strategies and drive operational results. Proven success maintaining IT costs below industry norms through systems and technologies such as Cloud-based solutions, shop floor automation and automated guided vehicles.
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