Chicago Bears IT Staff Scores a Touchdown With the Nutanix Enterprise CloudJanuary 18, 2018
Nutanix, a leader in enterprise cloud computing, announced today that the Chicago Bears have deployed the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud for their mission-critical applications, including Microsoft SQL Server databases, financial reporting software, and an internally-developed player scouting application. The Nutanix solution has simplified system management and improved performance, enabling the Bears IT staff to reduce time spent on deploying and managing infrastructure and improve coaches and players’ training and preparation experiences.
The switch to Nutanix was a result of an assessment, which determined that the Bears’ 3-tier infrastructure was over-allocated. As a result the team decided to deploy a hyperconverged solution for its Microsoft SQL Server databases, financial reporting software, and player scouting application.
Improvements enabled by the Chicago Bears’ use of the Nutanix solution include:
- Seamlessly Expand Deployment to the Training Camp: After moving to the Nutanix solution, the Bears IT staff was able to inexpensively expand their enterprise cloud to their training camp at Olivet Nazarene University (ONU), and no longer physically move infrastructure there from the main office at Halas Hall. By cutting down the time needed to migrate the infrastructure, the IT team was able to let the coaches use their applications and player information as soon as they were ready at the main office.
- Simpler, More Comprehensive Reporting: With their previous architecture, IT reporting was ad hoc, requiring numerous hours of an IT administrator’s time for each report. The Nutanix Prism management solution provides the IT staff with a complete picture of what their current storage and service environment looks like and how it is performing, saving time while providing a level of maturity and visibility into their system that they didn’t previously have.
- Exponentially Reducing the Time Needed to Create New VMs: Previously it took a couple of hours for the Bears IT staff to spin up VMs. With Nutanix, they can get spin up a VM in a matter of minutes.
"Limiting deployment and gaining extra coaching time is invaluable to our team and gives us more flexibility," said Justin Stahl, VP of IT for the Chicago Bears. "Whatever edge a professional sports team can gain is key. Nutanix helps make IT invisible to our staff and coaches, so they can focus more on what’s important-pushing the football team forward."
Helping Coaches, Players and IT Staff Focus on Football
The switch to Nutanix has had a significant positive impact on coaches, players and the IT staff’s technology experiences, during the off-season, training camp, and in-season. In particular, apps run faster, resulting in less frustration for end-users and fewer help desk tickets sent to the IT staff.
An Enterprise Cloud Ready for the Future
In addition to saving time and delivering performance improvements today, the Bears IT staff believes the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud operating software prepares the team for its future needs. Based on a successful trial with the Nutanix AHV hypervisor, the team is considering adding it to the main office at Halas Hall in the hopes of greater cost savings and increased simplicity. Through the trial, the IT team has already eliminated separate licensing costs and found Nutanix AHV easier to use than the previous hypervisor.
The team is also hoping to improve its disaster recovery (DR) solutions to replace its current process of backing data up to tape. As part of this goal, the Bears have signed up to be on the Beta list for the forthcoming Nutanix Xi DR as a Service offering.
The Nutanix solution will also help the team rapidly deploy new applications in the future, possibly including advanced IoT applications that collect player-impact tracking data, which could be used to further analyze player performance.
"As we continue to receive more demands on our IT systems, we need to deploy a solution that we can trust," said Stahl. "The NFL has discussed multiple new IT initiatives including organizing the NFL player’s impact-tracking data, which comes from sensors in the player’s pads and in the balls on gameday. Regardless of the challenges the future will bring with this project or others, I believe that Nutanix technology will prepare us for whatever lies ahead."
"With the increased use of technologies like wearables and IoT in sports, it has become essential for athletic organizations to respond by transforming their legacy environments into the next generation to gain a competitive edge," said Keith Moran, Vice President, Central US Nutanix. "By gaining additional field time and improving application responsiveness and uptime through Nutanix, the Chicago Bears have experienced major benefits from the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS. The changes in their IT setup are ultimately helping to set the Bears’ coaches and players up for long term competitive advantage."