Prologis overhauls IT infrastructure for greater stability, performance and business agility

A leading owner, operator and developer of industrial real estate, Prologis serves third- party logistics providers, transportation companies, retailers and manufacturers in 21 countries on four continents. The organization employs 1,500 real estate professionals and maintains 3,000 facilities worldwide.

While merging with AMB Property Corporation in 2011, Prologis integrated the acquired company’s IT with its own infrastructure and upgraded several enterprise applications. When the newly combined IT environment slowed business-critical functions, the real estate leader sought expert insight to assess its infrastructure and boost performance. In addition, Prologis wanted guidance in offloading its IT management burden and continuing its ongoing transition to a fully cloud-based hosting infrastructure and zero- footprint data center.

GTRI conducted a six-month holistic assessment spanning Prologis network, data center, security and storage infrastructures, identifying 80 action items. Key initiatives included flattening Prologis’ four-tier network architecture to a less complex two-tier configuration, virtualizing and consolidating its server infrastructure and reducing its storage footprint.

“By bringing certified experts to the table, GTRI quickly won the respect of our internal teams,” says Patrick Klein, Deputy Chief Information Officer for Prologis. “It’s sometimes difficult when you bring in an external party, but GTRI was a true partner and that made the whole undertaking so much easier.”

GTRI provided critical direction on approaching the identified tasks strategically and effectively. “We did an analysis across the action items to tie them together and create a dependency matrix that indicated when different groups of items should be addressed,” says Patricia Moscarelli, Executive Sponsor for GTRI.

While working with Prologis to perform virtualization and consolidation tasks, GTRI launched a request for proposal (RFP) process to help the client find a well-qualified hosting provider offering managed services and proven cloud capabilities. After developing a comprehensive list of technical criteria, GTRI administered an exhaustive vetting process that included document submission, provider presentations and site visits. Based on the comprehensive information provided, Prologis identified and selected a hosting partner meeting its specific requirements.

Next, GTRI turned its focus to migrating Prologis’ infrastructure to a data center environment managed by the client’s chosen provider. “When you think about all the different practices involved—network, storage, compute, virtualization, applications, run books, start-up and shut-down procedures— this was a massive effort,” says Matt Lederle, Senior Account Executive for GTRI.

“Plus, we were the central coordination hub for multiple external providers involved in the project, so it was complicated,” says Moscarelli. “But we never had a complete freeze—we were able to change the wheels on the car while it was going down the road.”

With careful planning and coordination, GTRI completed Prologis’ data center migration quickly and smoothly, without disruption. “We beat the predicted schedule for the move,” says Klein. “And we had senior executives asking whether we had actually done it because there were no interruptions.”

Working closely with Prologis to architect and migrate to an optimal hosting environment, GTRI enabled the company to combine infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS), co-located infrastructure, managed services and private cloud components in a robust, high-performance hybrid cloud infrastructure. “We reduced complexity, which was a big reason for our performance issues,” says Don Dawson, Director of Infrastructure for Prologis. “Our stability and availability are greatly enhanced. And now we can establish and track key performance indicators to know exactly how our environment is performing.”

Guided by GTRI, Prologis reduced its global data center footprint from seven to just three facilities, condensing 63 hardware cabinets into 12 racks. By shrinking its infrastructure, the client drove down costs for hosting in its new data center environment. Plus, Prologis avoided the sizeable expense of an alternative approach—investing in the construction of its own new data center facility.

Additionally, Prologis reduced time spent troubleshooting issues in its IT environment and improved satisfaction for its business users. Most importantly, the company advanced its long-term strategic objective to offload commodity IT services and focus staff on innovative, high-value initiatives.

Continuing its transition to a more flexible, fully cloud-based IT environment helps Prologis enhance its overall business agility and maintain its competitive advantage. The real estate leader views its collaborative relationship with GTRI as a cornerstone of its ongoing strategic transformation. “With GTRI, it’s truly a partnership,” says Klein. “GTRI has a vested interest in our success and that’s been really critical for us.”