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Virtualisation Case Study

by / Friday, 11 January 2013 / Published in Case Studies

The Customer – A large manufacturing company based in Yorkshire with over 500 users. The Server environment is a mix of Netware, AIX, Linux and Windows and, for E-mail users, Novell GroupWise.

The Challenge – The main drivers for the project were to reduce the number of physical servers and migrate these to a virtual estate. This would in turn reduce the power requirements and running costs and reduce the customer’s carbon footprint. The other major element of the project was to carry out a total refresh of the back-end infrastructure and implement this in their brand new purpose-built manufacturing facility, then migrate to the new facility and IT infrastructure.

The Solution – The move has included the complete migration of all IT services to a brand new state-of-the-art computer room. At the same time a total refresh of all the back-end systems was completed, and has included the deployment of a new SAN Infrastructure and 4 powerful front-end servers running VMware. Moving to a virtual environment allowed the customer to move straight from approving the server requirement and the build spend, to booking the resources needed. Therefore the customer could have application servers ready on demand. Additionally, as servers become more utilised, a virtual environment allows the onsite team to provision additional resources such as servers, memory and disk space settings, depending on the business’s operational requirements .

Business Continuity – These requirements are met because additional servers can be provisioned on demand and any hardware maintenance or software updates can be done during working hours without affecting any services. This was just not possible before the migration project. Then there are the green credentials: in the non-virtual world the customer had 4 fully-populated blade centres, each with 4 power supplies. In the virtual world, they now have over 100 servers and yet these are running off four IBM xSeries servers each with 2 power supplies. The customer could still deploy another 40 VMs before they would need to consider any additional upgrades.

The datacentre’s green credentials are: a Hot Aisle Containment System (HACS) with in-row coolers using chilled water delivering cool air to each server whether it is at the bottom or top of the rack. When this is compared to a traditional under-floor cooling system, that cools a floor void first before delivering cool air via floor vents, this system can never cool the full height of the rack as effectively, or is capable of allowing server growth without compromising floor void air pressure. The HACS system is recognised as one of the most efficient data centres available.

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