TE Data, the leading data communications service provider in Egypt, wanted to offer internal and external customers hosted Windows-based servers in the public cloud to complement its product portfolio. It chose Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. TE Data is now well positioned to provide a cloud-based hosted service to customers at significantly less than the cost of physical servers.
TE Data is the largest IP-based data communications carrier in Egypt, with a 70 percent market share and a strategic vision for providing diverse customer services. Telecom Egypt established TE Data in 2001 to act as its data communications and Internet operations division focused on broadband services, virtual private networks, co-location services, and hosting.
The current economic climate in Egypt is such that many customers for hosted services are looking to save money while at the same time benefiting from cloud-based computing. Until recently, TE Data had virtualized servers running on VMware offering its internal and external customers the Linux operating system, but no equivalent public cloud service for Windows. Adopting a virtualized solution for Windows was becoming imperative because more and more TE Data customers, or potential clients in Egypt, wanted Windows as a hosted service, but on a cost-effective basis.
Islam Kandil, Systems Division Manager, TE Data, says: “We made a commercial decision to offer virtualized Windows-based servers as well as Linux, starting with internal users at TE Data. Many of our customers across the country wanted a hosted solution for business use but didn’t want to invest in their own infrastructure or pay for a dedicated Windows-based server.”
In launching a Windows-based cloud solution, Kandil and his colleagues knew they needed to lower hardware costs. Virtual machines can respond more flexibly to the changing needs of the customer and carry less risk than dedicated servers. Kandil says: “We needed a high degree of automation for the provisioning of virtual servers to make it easier to manage the service and deliver on customer expectations.”Solution
TE Data worked with Ingazat Information Technology—an IT consultancy company in Egypt and Microsoft Partner for infrastructure implementation, messaging, and unified communications—to deliver a virtualized public cloud platform.
Although TE Data already had VMware, the partner recommended Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V virtualization software. Microsoft offered a total packaged solution, which included automated operational management with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 and Microsoft System Center Opalis. System Center Opalis helps ensure interoperability across the data center with non-Microsoft tools—a feature especially important to TE Data because it uses several different operating systems.
Khaled Abdel Fattah, Chief Executive Officer, Ingazat Information Technology, says: “TE Data was previously using mainly manual processes for managing its servers. In the proof of concept for Hyper-V and the System Center operational tools, we wanted to test the degree of automation. The interfaces were important to us. And the addition of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 at no extra cost made Hyper-V highly competitive compared to VMware.”
The proof of concept took place at the beginning of 2011, and the solution has now gone live internally, with the external launch awaiting final decisions by the company on its marketing strategy. Fattah says: “System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 has relieved us of a lot of work previously done by hand. TE Data is highly satisfied with the virtualized solution.”
In addition, TE Data can use the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model, for serving customers that want Windows-based servers with the Microsoft Dynamic Data Center Toolkit for hosting providers. The toolkit is built on Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and System Center technology, and helps provision virtual servers without the complexity of manual processes.Benefits
The virtualized Windows-based server solution with Hyper-V software—soon to be offered to TE Data customers through shared servers—will be highly price competitive. Ingazat Information Technology has provided the platform for a highly stable and environmentally sustainable service that will deliver virtual servers on pre-provisioned hardware, helping to reduce future hardware acquisition costs.
Customers receive flexible service. Virtual machines can respond more flexibly to the changing needs of the customer and carry less risk than dedicated servers. Kandil says: “The virtual server with Hyper-V helps the customer upgrade or downgrade much more easily.”
Cloud-based service gives customers more predictable costs. TE Data has invested in one of the largest public cloud deployments in the region. It will give customers more predictable costs for their hosted servers because they can subscribe on a pay-per-use basis.
Partner delivers knowledge transfer. Fattah says: “We’ve provided TE Data with a great deal of knowledge transfer and training during the deployment, as well as post-project support. The company’s IT people are now Microsoft certified and can manage the solution on their own.”
Deployment strengthens firm’s reputation. The virtualized environment is much easier and more cost effective for TE Data to maintain and will meet the future demand for Windows-based servers in Egypt. Kandil says: “The Hyper-V development for Windows helps bolster our reputation as a market leader in delivering cloud-based solutions for hosted servers. It will satisfy a growing demand.”This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.