Chunghwa Telecom offers traditional telecommunications services, in addition to a cloud computing service called HiCloud. The company deployed Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V to test the virtualization platform for HiCloud. Chunghwa Telecom
calculated that, while improving the service it delivers to customers, the company will trim costs by 30 percent, reduce planned downtime by more than 50 percent, and speed provisioning time by 33 percent.
Chunghwa Telecom provides fixed line, mobile, broadband, and Internet services to both consumers and business customers throughout Asia. In addition to its traditional telecommunications services, the company also offers cloud computing as a service:
HiCloud enables small and midsize businesses to rent virtual server space without making significant investments in infrastructure. Chunghwa Telecom predominately uses VMware as its virtualization platform, running 150 VMware hosts with 1,500 Linux virtual
machines and 60 VMware hosts with 500 Windows–based virtual machines.
||After deploying Windows Server 2012, we expect our planned maintenance times to go from 9 hours down to only 4.38 hours per year—that’s awesome.
| Yung-Chi Su
Project Manager, Chunghwa Telecom
Because it always strives to provide customers with the best possible experience, Chunghwa Telecom wanted to make improvements to its popular cloud computing service. Specifically, it wanted to reduce the time it took to provision virtual machines for customers.
“In our [existing] environment, it takes at least 15 minutes to provision a virtual machine for a customer,” explains Yung-Chi Su, Project Manager at Chunghwa Telecom. “Our customers let us know that they wanted faster provisioning times, and we want to deliver
better service wherever possible.”
In addition, Chunghwa Telecom also wanted to reduce its planned downtime, which was nine hours annually. “We have to schedule nine hours of downtime annually so that we can deploy software updates and other IT maintenance tasks that require us to migrate
virtual machines,” says Su. “We want to reduce that number so that our customers’ businesses are not interrupted.”
At the same time, Chunghwa Telecom wanted to achieve these goals in the most cost-efficient way possible. It wanted to retire some of its old server hardware but did not want to replace it with exorbitantly expensive hardware. One way to achieve this was
to find a platform with a small footprint and one that would enable the company to increase the density of the virtual machines it ran in its HiCloud environment.
When Chunghwa Telecom learned about the Microsoft Rapid Deployment Program (RDP) for Windows Server 2012, the company was excited to participate so that it could test the latest features of the server operating system with Hyper-V virtualization technology
for its HiCloud environment.
The company worked with Microsoft Services Consulting to build and deploy a test environment for Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V, which it had up and running by August 2012. The primary purpose of the test environment was for strength testing—to see how
many virtual machine hosts it could handle without impacting performance. The test environment had a two-node cluster running on Cisco N5596 server hardware with eight virtual machines. However, on the two-node cluster, the team at Chunghwa Telecom successfully
ran 100 virtual machines. “We’ve tested as many as 100 virtual machines on two hosts running Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V and still had superior, enterprise-level server performance,” says Su.
In the future, when the company moves to a production environment before March 2013, it plans to run 30 hosts on Windows Server 2012 with 1,500 virtual machines.
Chunghwa Telecom tested several features in Windows Server 2012, which it plans to use in its production environment. To help save on hardware costs, the company will use Storage Spaces. With this feature, Chunghwa Telecom can use external hard drives to
create storage pools, which are less expensive than storage area network (SAN) storage solutions.
In order to reduce service interruptions from planned maintenance, the company will use Hyper-V live migration and Hyper-V storage migration. By using live migration, Chunghwa Telecom can simultaneously migrate virtual machines, both in and outside of a
cluster, without downtime. Similarly, with storage migration, the company can transfer virtual hard disks for maintenance tasks without service disruption. In addition, Chunghwa Telecom will use Hyper-V Replica to replicate virtual machines asynchronously
over multiple sites.
Based on its participation in the RDP, Chunghwa Telecom anticipates that, when it broadens its deployment of Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V, it will be able to:
Reduce hardware costs by up to 30 percent. By using Windows Server 2012, Chunghwa Telecom will be able to increase its virtual machine density without sacrificing performance, which means that the company can reduce its reliance on expensive
server hardware. Similarly, it can avoid purchasing SAN storage solutions and, instead, rely on inexpensive external hard drives to create storage pools. “We calculated that our hardware savings will be 20 to 30 percent with Windows Server 2012,” says Su.
Increase provisioning speed by 33 percent. The telecommunications company can now provision virtual machines faster for customers who use HiCloud. “The overall performance of Windows Server 2012 is impressive, and we can provision virtual
machines for customers in fewer than 10 minutes,” says Su. “That’s a 33 percent improvement."
Reduce planned downtime by more than 50 percent. Chunghwa Telecom reports nine hours of downtime as a result of planned system maintenance. However, because the company can use Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V to simultaneously migrate virtual
machines and replicate virtual machines asynchronously, it expects to cut its planned downtime in half. “After deploying Windows Server 2012, we expect our planned maintenance times to go from 9 hours down to only 4.38 hours per year—that’s awesome,” explains
Deliver an improved customer experience. With Windows Server 2012, the process of migrating virtual machines is not only automated, but it is also invisible to the customer. “Our customers never know if we’ve moved them from one virtual
machine to another in order to perform maintenance or deploy an update,” explains Su. “When we run Windows Server 2012, our customers’ businesses are uninterrupted.”
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