The Growing Appetite for Virtualization

By Dennis McCafferty Print this article Print

Energy conservation, improved performance and reduced cooling costs are just a few of the benefits of virtualization and consolidation.

A Virtualization Covenant

At Covenant House Toronto, about 4,000 young people a year can stay for weeks or months at a time. Many of them have left their homes—or moved to Canada from other countries—without a means of support. Here, they can get meals, medical attention, counseling and even vocational training.

Like any organization with 200 employees, Covenant House has concerns about keeping its data protected and accessible 24/7. For example, fundraising accounts for 80 percent of its budget, and data related to that effort is maintained on the network. That’s why it recently completed a major storage virtualization project using DataCore Software’s SANmelody as implemented by DataCore partner Interware Systems.

As a result, Covenant House has more than doubled its available storage capacity, while reducing the number of physical servers from 10 to three using VMware. At the same time, the organization has increased its ability to safeguard its data from disruptions and disasters, and it has reduced the amount of power needed to keep enterprise operations running.

“This assures that we reach our goal of 99.99 percent availability for our users 24/7,” says Wendy Craig, who oversees information systems. “It allows us to manage our infrastructure much more easily, too. Before, it could be difficult to oversee a bunch of physical servers with storage spread all around, especially when the servers break down. Now, because our server and storage management is centralized in one location, we can deal with all problems from the IT manager’s desk, without needing to take down the entire system.”

After deciding on a virtualization solution, Covenant House centralized data at a downtown Toronto location, replicated a copy of that data and stored it at a co-location facility a few kilometers away. Data related to everything from the latest fundraising figures to day-to-day e-mail exchanges is replicated every night at the co-location facility. Moreover, DataCore optimized the organization’s existing storage assets by addressing the problem of having some application servers over-allocated with storage, while others were underserved.

Next up: a desktop virtualization project using virtualized server technology that will allow traditional desktops to be replaced with thin-client hardware, saving a projected 97 percent in energy bills.

“It’s all part of our green computing perspective,” Craig says. “We can be just as productive and save a lot of money with this technology.”

This article was originally published on 2009-01-08
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.
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