Informatika is better equipped to deliver world-class SLAs with its customers and thus reduces reputational risk.

Power-related costs have decreased by about half due to lower consumption and lower heat dissipation of the solid-state disks.

Reduced complexity of the environment makes it much easier to train both operations staff and engineers who work with the infrastructure.

Looking for something more technical? Check out this blog!

Public utility company JKP Informatika, a municipal IT and internet service provider in the town of Novi Sad, Serbia, overhauled its entire infrastructure to improve the resilience of its systems and reinforce them against external cyberattacks. Due to previous positive experience with VMware technologies, the company opted for a comprehensive VMware modern data center solution to build a 3-location stretched cluster to operate its services for local authorities, public institutions, and citizens. They now enjoy greater speed and security with no outages.

vSAN Stretched Cluster

Modern innovations improve service quality for end-users

Founded in 1971, public utility company JKP Informatika Novi Sad provides telecommunication, utility, and household billing services. It operates and evolves the city’s General Information System (GIS), the core database comprising key personal and business registers and records, and explores new digitization opportunities for the city. The company also operates an optic cable network in the city and provides hosting, web hosting, and public cloud services.

JKP Informatika Logo

Ransomware attack reveals vulnerabilities and triggers changes

IT infrastructure and systems are the core of Informatika’s business and the company’s success hinges on their smooth and reliable operation. The company is expected to provide services to the municipality and its citizens in a timely manner and according to expectations, with the driving factors being speed, security, and technological excellence. However, Informatika’s infrastructure was based on disparate and aging technologies, rendering its services prone to outages and vulnerable to external threats, with slow recovery.

“It all started with a ransom attack in Spring 2020, which put our systems out of operation, and we struggled to get them back online. We arrived at the conclusion that we needed to evolve the infrastructure and implement new technology that would improve the resilience of the system and allow for speedy disaster recovery,” explains Duško Novaković, Director Assistant for Information and Communication Technology of JKP Informatika Novi Sad.

Integrated and automated infrastructure reduces complexity

Based on its previous positive experience with VMware solutions like vSphere, Informatika opted for this vendor’s technologies to modernize its infrastructure. VMware was chosen also because it was the most logical and cost-effective solution as Informatika wanted to future-proof their infrastructure and to make it more secure. As the implementation partner, Braineering recommended Informatika to deploy a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solution based on VMware vSphere and vSAN across a stretched (metropolitan) cluster with two primary data center locations and one alternative location, with an automatic failover.

HCI VMware vSAN Cluster spreading between two sites
HCI Cluster spreading between two sites

“Everything mission-critical now runs on vSphere and vSAN. The important thing is that we have everything on one server and do not have to make interconnections to external SAN devices. Overall, we are happy with the solution and appreciate the prompt response from Braineering and its partner VMware to fix issues that may occasionally occur,” adds Duško Novaković.

Resistance to attacks and disasters and a potential for further growth

Expanding the existing vSphere environment with a cluster solution, the new architecture has virtually eliminated downtime due to the introduction of a third site that acts as a supervisor between the two main sites. This third location serves as a quorum, which means that it constantly watches the other two locations, and should one of them fail, the other is automatically activated. This automatic failover has substantially improved the reliability and availability of the infrastructure. The hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) has eliminated previous serious issues with network communication and microsegmentation capabilities of the 100% virtualized environment have improved security. As a part of the infrastructure, Braineering also implemented a next-generation firewall and zero-day security solutions.

Implementation steps for vSAN JKP Informatika infrastructure
Implementation steps

“Software-defined and virtualized solutions from VMware have proved that they have a potential to reduce complexity, simplify operations, and improve security and resilience. As a result, we have been able to achieve a completely new level of services and guarantee their quality to the customers”, says Informatika’s Director Assistant for ICT.

Employee productivity has also increased due to reduced complexity, with much easier configuration and integrated management of compute and storage resources through a single pane of glass. Informatika also appreciated a switch from CAPEX to OPEX as it rents the new infrastructure from the implementation partner, Braineering. Overall, Informatika’s systems are now more resistant to attacks and disasters, which has a significant positive impact on its business as a critical services provider.

“We measure the performance of IT systems based on SLA parameters, such as service availability, system response time, and resistance to failures. VMware enables us to reliably deliver our services with the guaranteed parameters and maintain high-quality services consistently, which means we can serve the end customers better,” says Duško Novaković.

If you’re interested in more technical details, check out this blog post from Goran Ševo!

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