To spend less on purchasing and maintaining physical servers and to reduce the cost of power and cooling at its two data centers, OTRUM wanted to expand virtualization technology in its server environment. Using Hyper-V virtualization technology, a feature of Windows Server 2008, the company now can efficiently deploy, scale, and manage a virtualized server infrastructure without the extra cost of a third-party solution.
OTRUM provides interactive television solutions and content to the hospitality industry, including large hotel chains such as Choice, Scandic, Radisson, and Thon. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, OTRUM has operations in 10 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Working with leading television vendors, OTRUM offers solutions that include hardware, software, TV, films, and the Internet. Owned by OTER Invest and Telenor Venture, OTRUM employs 106 people and earns average annual revenue of more than NOK 350 million (U.S.$61.5 million).
OTRUM manages its administrative and information systems from two data centers in Oslo and Arendal, Norway, running 38 physical server computers on the Windows Server 2003 operating system and the Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter operating system. Many of the physical servers were aging and needed replacement. The company wanted to spend less on purchasing and maintaining servers and to reduce power and cooling costs at its data centers.
OTRUM used virtualization technology from VMware to deploy multiple independent servers on individual hardware units. ”Having a machine perform only one task is not particularly efficient when it has the capacity to do several tasks at the same time,” says Henrik Floryd, IT Manager at OTRUM.
The OTRUM IT department wanted to expand virtualization technology to two more host servers, but it could not get approval to spend additional money for VMware licenses. OTRUM needed a virtualization solution that was affordable, easy to set up and scale, and simple to manage. To virtualize its infrastructure efficiently, the company wanted to improve control of its network, and simplify the management of physical and virtual servers.
Working with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner OfficeTeam, OTRUM learned that virtualization software was included in its licenses for Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter. It began virtualizing servers using Hyper-V virtualization technology, a feature of Windows Server 2008. With Hyper-V included in the server operating system that OTRUM is already using, the company can manage virtualization without the extra cost of a third-party solution.
||In my view, Hyper-V works better than VMware. It’s easier to set up and with Virtual Machine Manager, I have a single console for managing the whole virtual environment, including one remaining VMware host.
“We thought we had to use VMware, but OfficeTeam showed us how Hyper-V would work well in our production environment,” says Floryd. “From the first test installation, we haven’t turned around.”
Because the Hyper-V interface was familiar to them as users of other Microsoft technologies, administrators at OTRUM could work with OfficeTeam to quickly and easily deployed 21 virtual servers on four physical machines in two clusters. The company uses Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 to manage the virtual server environments in both its data centers from a central Virtual Machine Manager console.
OTRUM currently supports approximately 100 users with virtualized services. The company uses virtual servers to run Active Directory services, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Citrix, and other enterprise-critical workloads. “In my view, Hyper-V works better than VMware,” says Floryd. “It’s easier to set up and with System Center Virtual Machine Manager, I have a single console for managing the whole virtual environment, including one remaining VMware host.”
Along with managing its virtual environment with System Center Virtual Machine Manager, OTRUM uses System Center Data Protection Manager 2007, System Center Configuration Manager 2007, and System Center Operations Manager 2007 to help deploy new applications, back up data, and monitor and update all company server, desktop, and portable computers. ”We are using System Center software to simplify server administration and to have better control of the PCs in our network,” says Floryd.
With Hyper-V virtualization technology, OTRUM can efficiently deploy, scale, and manage a virtualized server infrastructure. The company has reduced the costs and simplified the management of its data centers, while optimizing the performance of its server environments.
“We now have a much more stable system that doesn’t need constant maintenance and our users benefit because services always run as they should,” says Floryd.
Reduced costs. By running several virtual servers on one physical machine, OTRUM can reduce the size of its physical infrastructure by 50 percent, saving 65 percent on hardware and maintenance costs. The company can operate more cost-effectively, spending less for electricity and infrastructure management. In 2010 OTRUM intends to virtualize blade servers with Hyper-V, which will reduce power and cooling costs even more.
By switching from VMware, OTRUM immediately saved more than NOK 50,000 (U.S.$8,775) in license fees, and will save another U.S.$20,000 over three years on VMware support costs. “Running several servers on the same physical machine is more cost-effective,” says Floryd. “But having Hyper-V virtualization software included with our Windows Server licenses meant even greater savings.”
Scalable solution. OTRUM is supporting about 100 users with Hyper-V, and it can virtualize even more servers without having to purchase more licenses. ”We have enough Windows Server licenses to virtualize practically as many clients as we want, as long as the physical servers have capacity,” says Floryd.
Simple management. Using System Center Virtual Machine Manager and other System Center components, OTRUM can enhance the security of its IT environment by improving control in its computer network. By managing the data centers in Oslo and Arendal from a central console, the company has simplified the administration of its physical and virtual server environments, saving approximately 20 hours per month in management time.
The company has also minimized downtime from mechanical failures. “Before, if something went wrong with a server in Arendal, we would have had to install a new machine,” says Floryd. “Now, all we do is transfer the hard disk to a new host and we are up and running again.”