Wednesday, 12 November 2008 07:28

WebCentral deploys VMware across data centres to deliver web services

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Web hosting services provider WebCentral has deployed VMware’s virtualization technology across its datacentres to provide ‘on demand’ services to customers and consolidate its server resources.

WebCentral, which was acquired by Melbourne IT in 2006, intends to use virtualization as a means to increase its capability to tap into the growing web services market, as well as optimize its power consumption.

After first undertaking an initial pilot of VMware technology in 2006, WebCentral now has the capacity to operate 653 virtual machines across 49 blade servers, sitting in four racks.

Glenn Gore, chief architect at Melbourne IT, said its deployment of VMware virtualization technology across three of its data centres has enabled the company to offer higher standards of service, flexibility and availability to WebCentral’s large corporate and government customers, while delivering more efficient services to SMB customers.

“We have also displaced a large amount of our physical computer hardware in favour of using VMware virtual infrastructure to manage some of our key IT services and systems,’’ Mr Gore said.

“It very quickly became obvious after our initial trials that virtualization could deliver economies of scale and efficiencies while meeting the higher performance and availability requirements of our larger corporate customers,” said Mr Gore.

“In addition to the performance and scalability benefits that our clients demand, our virtualization implementation has also helped us to markedly reduce our energy consumption.”

One such customer is Digital Services specialist Hyro Limited.

Hyro has used WebCentral’s Managed Campaign Services product to provide clients with solutions for managing online campaigns.

Michael Hodder, Director - Alliances, Hyro Limited says WebCentral’s staff worked closely with his team to develop a virtualized solution to meet Hyro’s specific business requirements, especially in relation to running high performance online marketing campaigns.

“The advantages of virtualization have been known for a few years now and like many organizations, we too wanted to tap into the economies of scale and efficiencies that a virtualized solution can deliver,” Mr Hodder said.

“Using Managed Campaign Services, WebCentral recently deployed a solution for us in 10 days that could handle 2 million unique visitors per day.”

According to WebCentral, the VMware deployment has resulted in the elimination of server hardware across WebCentral’s IT network, reduced power and cooling costs, and reduced the number of racks required in the data centre by 20 to realise significant space efficiencies. They also eliminated 1200 spinning disk drives and removed five tonnes of IT equipment.

WebCentral’s VMware virtualized environment is distributed across its data centers in eight VMware Infrastructure DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) and HA (High Availability) Clusters, which are using a combination of VMware ESX 3.5 and VMware ESXi 3.5 Installable servers. The 653 virtual servers in production are hosted on 36 IBM LS41 blade servers and 13 IBM HS21XM blade servers.

“We are delighted to have assisted Melbourne IT and WebCentral to meet their customer requirements for flexibility and ‘on demand’ performance through their virtualization deployment,” said Paul Harapin, vice president, VMware Australia and New Zealand.

“One of VMware's core strengths is helping organisations maximize returns from their technology deployments while reducing their power and cooling costs.”

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