Kemp helps Primi sui Motori S.p.A. grow by providing high availability & scalability

Founded in 2007 as a specialist company dedicated to optimizing research engines as well as being recognized for skills in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Primi sui Motori S.p.A is one of the leading and most reliable operators in the internet market that is able to address all business needs. Primi sui Motori S.p.A. is able to provide services to companies ranging from SMBs to large industrial groups. The company offers services including web marketing, web project management, and web analytics perfected to aid the growth of business for its most important clients.

In 2008 Primi sui Motori S.p.A. added the latest I.C.T services to its portfolio including web site hosting, e-commerce platform development as well as B2B and B2C solutions.

Combined with a rapid growth of the sales force consisting of approximately 100 sales agents and the necessary support structure that was put into place in 2009, Primi Sui Motori was faced with the challenge for the first time in 2010 to examine and question the reliability of its internet infrastructure. At that time, it was already clearly understood that this factor of reliability and resistance was one of the most critical factors in ensuring that the company would be able to maintain its competitiveness. The first step that took place was to implement a software load balancer solution using the Windows® 2008 Server Network Load Balancer. With the Microsoft technology, it was possible for over a year to load balance the call center web sites and the documentation storage area, as well as the internal Primi sui Motori S.p.A. network.

Once a new project was created to implement a new email system in 2011, it became clear that WNLB would become a limiting factor when considering the needs of the company. The most important factors were the lack of scalability, the complexity of management, inefficiency and unsatisfactory performance. In fact, these warnings and cautions actually came from Microsoft itself. In addition, it was pointed out by Microsoft that all users of software load balancers who had plans to migrate to Exchange 2010 by necessity would need to have a plan to deploy hardware load balancers because the functionality of WNLB would simply not be sufficient.

Thanks to new business, the infrastructure of Primi sui Motori was undergoing a rapid expansion. In only 3 years, the number of staff necessary to support the growth in the number of business clients tripled to number over 90 people. As the number of clients that the company recruited passed the 4,000 mark, it was quite clear that this dynamic growth would have an impact on the company’s network infrastructure. Consider that in 2009 it was possible for Primi sui Motori S.p.A. to provide all the web hosting services that it offered its clients on 3 data center class servers. By November 2011, this number of servers had doubled and is still continuing to grow today.

Primi sui Motori S.p.A. has a well-developed network of sales agents. In total, there are approximately 100 agents active across the whole of Italy. These sales agents are able to benefit from enquiries about the company’s services from those potential clients who would like to schedule an appointment. These requests come from registration on the company’s web site using a registration form, which, in turn generates an email confirming the registration to the potential client. Then another email is sent that provides the sales agent with the information that the potential client has entered, so that the sales agent can get in contact.

In order for this system to work perfectly, it is necessary that each sales agent is guaranteed a minimum of four sales leads every day. Obviously this target can only be reached by having an email system that is completely reliable, thanks to the use of load balancers. It was for this reason that Primi sui Motori, having decided to use Microsoft Exchange, started its research to find the most suitable load balancers certified for current and future use with Microsoft Exchange.

As Primi sui Motori S.p.A. was preparing to research load balancers, a number of interesting articles were published in and sites. The key point that these articles referred to was that Kemp Technologies' load balancers were the best of breed. For Primi sui Motori S.p.A., Kemp Technologies LoadMaster was the prime candidate.

A deep information analysis into the various hardware load balancers was initiated by Primi sui Motori S.p.A. Each phase of the research indicated that the LoadMaster from Kemp Technologies was the right solution. It was therefore decided to get in touch with Kemp in order to put the LoadMaster to the test. Taking advantage of the facility to run a proof of concept of the American manufacturers Application Delivery Controller (ADC), Primi sui Motori started the 30 day full feature Virtual LoadMaster trial.

Marco Marzola, IT manager of Primi sui Motori S.p.A., commented, “We were not restricted to accept information that Kemp Technologies LoadMaster should be the best load balancer for us, but we could actually put this to the test to confirm that our preference was correct. Naturally we considered F5 and Radware, but the cost for their load balancers were far too high for our requirements. We did not stop there though; we did a full investigation of the load balancers from Citrix Netscaler and Barracuda."

Having found the right competitors to Kemp Technologies Load Master, Primi sui Motori was finally ready to put the three vendors’ products to the test. “It didn’t take long to start finding advantages with the LoadMaster from Kemp. The intuitive graphical user interface that provides concrete support during the installation phase was a distinct advantage compared with the competition. In addition, it was easy o study the various models and decide which one matched our requirements,” stated Marco.

The date arrived when the trial license expired, and despite the tests not having been completely concluded, the company decided to purchase a LoadMaster 2200 because they were convinced that this was the right choice giving the intuitive installation and configuration facilities and the high levels of performance. Another important factor when considering the various scenarios for the use of the load balancer was the extremely competitive price.

Primi sui Motori considers Kemp extremely reliable and easy to contact as a partner - not only during the test phase of the product - but also after the purchase had been completed. Kemp’s Italian sales team and the support team based in Ireland were on hand when needed

“The vendor was always ready to provide fast accurate responses regarding the product configuration and/or the performance scenarios of the Kemp LoadMaster,” confirmed Marco Marzola. Once the tests of the Kemp LoadMaster were concluded, Primi sui Motori S.p.A. decided to purchase two additional LoadMaster 2200s in a HA (High Availability) configuration to balance the Microsoft™ CRM solution Dynamics, as well as the web based Call center platform.

Presently the company has evaluated the use of LoadMaster solutions for the email system as well as unified communications. Primi sui Motori S.p.A. has integrated the Kemp ADC in its infrastructure in order to support the Exchange 2010 platform as well as Microsoft Lync 2010, for which solutions Kemp is already officially certified by Microsoft. For Lync in particular, an additional appliance has been purchased following the recommendations of both Kemp Technologies and Microsoft.

“Until such time as we have a full understanding of the potential impact of different types of network traffic being overlaid on web traffic, Exchange and Lync, we want to avoid the risk of causing ourselves problems by overloading our infrastructure,” added Marzola. “We prefer essentially to keep the LoadMaster that balances the Lync infrastructure and those dedicated to supporting the web services separated.”

Primi sui Motori S.p.A. decided to test Lync in a different way with a group of users. Rather than the approach adopted by many when testing Lync, the company decided not to use the IT department, but rather to involve other office users. This was done in order to get feedback from the experience of ordinary users in the field rather than from the “power users.”

“We are quite comfortable that Kemp load balancers are perfectly able to support multiple services simultaneously, but we still prefer to move forward step by step. We consider this the correct course of action over time, and in particular, it has a logic for a company like ours that is constantly growing. The good news is that the Kemp teams in both Ireland and Italy have always been able to help us when required, at each stage of our projects,” concluded Marzola.

It didn’t take long to start finding advantages with the LoadMaster from Kemp. The intuitive graphical user interface that provides concrete support during the installation phase was a distinct advantage compared with the competition.
Marco Marzola
IT manager of Primi sui Motori S.p.A.

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