Sanofi, the global pharmaceutical company, has implemented virtual storage systems to help reduce its 26 data centres around the world to just three, saving bundles in the process.

Sanofi is using EMC VPLEX systems to help manage 4,000 applications, in a move to increase utilisation and improve efficiency and agility across its IT environment. The company says the data centre overhaul will mean information can more easily be shared, accessed and moved between data centres too.

The VPLEX platform is said to have improved storage utilisation by up to 30 percent. So far 200 of the company's 4,000 applications have been migrated to the three new global data centres in the US, France and Singapore.

As a result of a major acquisition and steady business growth, Sanofi was struggling to manage its geographically-dispersed IT infrastructure that spanned 26 separate sites around the world. Additionally, Sanofi’s employees were finding it increasingly difficult to access and share data, a capability that is critical to advancing Sanofi’s pharmaceutical research, managing regulatory approvals and product distribution.

Sanofi brought in EMC systems integrator Accenture to help build its new IT infrastructure over a six-month period, including the three data centres that are now fully interconnected and which operate as a global private cloud. This cloud uses VMware vSphere virtualisation and cloud infrastructure systems with EMC unified storage.

Sebastian Roque, storage engineering manager at Sanofi Group, said: "Our massive migration of 4,000 applications would be impossible without VPLEX, and once completed will have avoided at least two to three weeks of downtime.”

Roque added: “Our storage utilisation has improved by up to 30 percent, helping us to maximise the value of our investments while postponing future storage expenditure.”

He said when the application migration to the three data centres is complete, operating costs will reduce and overall efficiency will improve.

Last week it was announced Nuffield Health had also migrated to a private cloud-based IT infrastructure to support its hospitals and other operations more efficiently. That migration included HP storage systems.