Aisle7 is a small company based in Portland, Oregon with 30 employees that helps food and vitamin retailers market health and wellness products more effectively. Aisle7 had virtualized its servers with VMware but could not take advantage of critical features such as clustering and live migration without paying very high licensing fees. By switching to the Hyper-V technology in Windows Server 2012 for virtualization, and deploying Microsoft System Center 201, the company avoided thousands of dollars in costs, deployed servers faster to support innovation and growth, and gained more IT management flexibility, availability.
The company now has access to a wealth of features that would have cost thousands of dollars extra from VMware and will allow it to delay a US$30,000 storage expense - a significant cash-flow benefit for the firm. Aisle7 used Microsoft System Center 2012 to create a self-service portal that developers use to provision their own server resources, which speeds new-product development. By using clustering and other Windows Server 2012 features, Aisle7 can more easily perform server maintenance and keep workloads running without interruption.
Aisle7 wanted to deploy virtual machines faster to give development teams the IT resources that they needed to quickly create and test new products. These teams, along with marketers and others, needed more flexibility, scalability, and management control than VMware’s vSphere Essentials could provide.
Aisle7 turned to Microsoft for a more flexible and cost-effective virtualization solution. Aisle7 already used Microsoft software extensively, on desktop computers, back-room servers, and in the cloud. It had recently enhanced its desktop productivity software with Microsoft Office 365, a cloud-based service that gave employees “anywhere” access to document creation and sharing software, in addition to email messaging, instant messaging, and videoconferencing capabilities.
Affordable to Buy, Easy to Implement
Aisle7 decided to upgrade its servers to the Windows Server 2012 Datacenter operating system and to deploy Microsoft System Center 2012 to manage its physical and virtual servers. All Windows Server 2012 licenses include features for which VMware charged extra. The company used the Virtual Machine Manager component of System Center 2012 to create virtual machines on its physical servers; the Hyper-V technology in Windows Server 2012 provided the virtualization functionality that vSphere did previously. Once the virtual machines were in place, Offloaded Data Transfer was used to quickly copy large amounts of data from one location to another.
Enterprise-Caliber IT Management Features
Aisle7 found that Windows Server 2012 features save money, improve agility, and increase application availability. Using data deduplication, it finds and consolidates duplicate data without compromising data integrity - storing more data in less physical space. System Center 2012 was used to create a portal that quality assurance and development staff can use to deploy their own virtual machines from templates. With Windows Server 2012, Aisle7 also gained clustering capabilities—the ability to configure multiple computers as a single system to share and protect individual workloads. With clustering and live migration, maintenance updates can be done at any time, to any computer (physical or virtual), without interrupting the workloads running on them.
Deploy Virtual Machines Faster to Support Innovation
Aisle7 also has a more agile, flexible server infrastructure with Hyper-V. Developers can gain access to virtual machines whenever they need them; they don’t have to wait for IT or subscribe to resources from third-party cloud vendors that fall outside of IT oversight. This helps Aisle7 speed its new-product development cycle and get new products out the door sooner.
The company is also looking at using Windows Azure to handle spikes in computing and storage needs and also to lower IT costs. Windows Azure provides on-demand compute, storage, content delivery, and networking capabilities to host, scale, and manage web applications through Microsoft data centers.
Windows Server drives many of the world’s largest data centers, empowers small businesses around the world, and delivers value to organizations of all sizes in between. Building on this legacy, Windows Server 2012 delivers hundreds of new features and enhancements that span virtualization, networking, storage, user experience, cloud computing, automation, and more. Simply put, Windows Server 2012 helps you transform your IT operations to reduce costs and deliver a whole new level of business value.
Learn more about Windows Server 2012