Thunder Valley Casino

Big IT Win for Thunder Valley Casino Resort

SOS team and Cisco technology deliver upgrade in half the time and 30 percent under budget.

Thunder Valley Casino Resort‘s IT team intimately knows the risks and rewards of gambling when it comes to gaming. However, when it came to a recent infrastructure upgrade, IT management chose the right team and technology to reduce risk and increase reward. Thanks to the Cisco UCS B230 M1 server technology and the engineering expertise of Team SOS, Thunder Valley Casino Resort is providing an even higher level of performance for its guests while optimizing IT resources.

SOS – Thunder Valley Casino Resort Case Study Snapshot

  • Scope:
    Install and configure Cisco UCS B230 M1 server on compressed schedule
  • Operating Environment:
    Gaming application that serves 250,000 square feet of gaming space
  • Result:
    Project completed in half the time and for 30 percent less than budgeted.

Background

Thunder Valley Casino Resort was upgrading the gaming application at its 250,000 square foot casino and saw it as an opportunity to also upgrade its server efficiency and capacity. Since the server runs the Casino’s critical gambling applications, uptime and server availability are key to providing an excellent customer experience. The IT team also wanted to leverage the latest blade server technology to operate even more efficiently as well as enable virtualization.

 

Challenge

As if switching to a new server platform didn’t present enough risk for Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Technical Services Manager, Eric Rudeen, there was a major project glitch. With just six weeks until the go-live date, the initial vendor, who sized and procured the server, was unable to complete the installation and test. Keep in mind that the server would not only house the critical gaming application, which had a non-negotiable upgrade date, but also integrate with Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s core network and data center switch infrastructures.

 

Solution

SOS, a nationwide IT service provider and Premier Certified Cisco Partner headquartered in Sacramento, CA, stepped in to successfully complete the project in the 11th hour. The project scope included installing and configuring a Cisco UCS B230 blade server with 128GB of RAM, configurable to 256GB in preparation for migration to the upgraded gaming application and end user training.

“The SOS engineering team did a phenomenal job stepping in and understanding exactly what we were trying to accomplish, despite not being part of the initial spec team,” said Eric Rudeen. He explained that with just a few weeks until go-live, installing the server in time for the application upgrade left little time for configuration and testing, and a very narrow margin for error.

The simplified architecture of the Cisco UCS and the engineering and project management expertise at SOS contributed to the speed at which SOS was able install and configure the server. The SOS team compressed the schedule by 50 percent and came in 30 percent under budget on service and support.

 

Cisco UCS Technology Optimized Server Uptime and Efficiency

“We chose the Cisco UCS B230 M1 blade server because it eliminated the need to associate profiles with one server compute node,” said Rudeen. “Now we simply move identity from one server to another blade, drastically increasing uptime.” Rudeen explains that Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s gaming system operates like any other server farm, and now they can quickly deploy new virtualized servers based on a blade profile without any service disruption.

An additional benefit, says Rudeen, is the single-pane-of-glass-like visibility into its routers, network and storage. The IT team now has an efficient single console with which to manage and monitor the health of its virtual and physical networks.

 

Why Cisco UCS

Rudeen had considered Dell and HP Proliant 380 servers and preferred the greater density of memory and CPU available on the Cisco blade. “At half the width, the Cisco blade gives us significantly more memory,” said Rudeen. He mentioned that their previous system capped at 32GB and now their capacity extends to 380GB and 580GB, depending on the blade. Rudeen also liked the fact that the Cisco UCS system is based on the latest Intel Xenon technology.

The new server is comprised of two racks in a single chassis, compared to the previous footprint of 15 servers. Although Rudeen and team aren’t set up to monitor energy usage specific to the server room, they say there’s a noticeable difference in the temperature of the room with the energy-efficient Cisco UCS.

Rudeen mentioned that his IT team took charge of the new hardware even though they weren’t as familiar with it, thanks to its simplified architecture and the training provided by the SOS engineer. “We’re really pleased and impressed with what Cisco and SOS delivered; it’s a solid solution,” said Rudeen.

 

About Thunder Valley Casino Resort

Thunder Valley is a AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort and casino located 30 miles east of Sacramento, CA. It includes 250,000 square feet of gaming space, 14 restaurants and bars, a 297-room luxury hotel and spa. Visit www.thundervalleyresort.com for details.