4-page Case Study
Posted: 11/20/2012
450
Rate This Evidence:

EVRY Hosting Provider Expands Offerings, Trims Operating Costs by 30 Percent with Upgrade

As one of the largest IT companies in Scandinavia, EVRY has to satisfy a range of customer needs. To do that, EVRY needs to offer increasing choice and flexibility in its data centers but also keep operating costs low to better compete. To meet these seemingly conflicting requirements, EVRY is upgrading to the Windows Server 2012 operating system to add a cost-effective alternative to its hypervisor portfolio and to take advantage of improvements in failover clustering, virtual workload migration, and networking. EVRY will have more choice in meeting ever-changing customer needs yet expects to trim operating costs by 30 percent by using the extensive automation features in Windows Server 2012 and in Microsoft System Center 2012 data center solutions. With increased IT automation, EVRY can move more quickly to a cloud computing environment, which will further increase business flexibility.

Situation
EVRY is one of the leading IT companies in the Nordic countries, with a strong local and regional presence in 50 Nordic towns and cities. Through its knowledge, solutions, and technology, EVRY contributes to the development of the information society of the future, and so creates value for the benefit of its customers and for society as a whole. EVRY combines in-depth industry knowledge and technological expertise with a local delivery model and international strength.

*
* With the improvements in Hyper-V, we have more technology choices in how we can meet ever-changing customer requirements. This helps us be more competitive. *

Sten Høydahl
Product Manager, EVRY

*
With so many diverse customers, EVRY has many needs to satisfy. This means that it must offer many technology choices while also keeping costs down. After a series of mergers, EVRY had accumulated more than 20 data centers and wanted to consolidate to a major new data center to reduce costs and increase efficiency. It had virtualized more than 10,000 servers but with a mix of hypervisors—again, to satisfy a range of needs. EVRY of course wanted to have it all: a wide range of technology choices but also lean operating costs. “We have to be able to comply with some very specific customer needs, but we needed both lower price points and more capabilities than we could meet with our existing virtualization solutions,” says Sten Høydahl, Product Manager at EVRY.

For example, EVRY did not have a viable disaster recovery solution in its lower-cost virtualization environment, which prevented many customers from taking advantage of virtualization. On the other hand, the disaster recovery service available with its higher-end solution was too expensive for many customers and required a great deal of custom configuration.

In addition to wanting to reduce the cost of specific services, EVRY wanted to increase its overall efficiency and speed up its service delivery processes. It needed more automation tools, which could help speed up daily data center tasks and also help the company execute big strategic goals such as consolidating its data centers. The consolidation process would involve migrating running customer workloads from one physical location to another without interruptions.

Another strategic goal for EVRY was to transform its virtualized environment into a private cloud environment, with virtualized compute and storage resources configured as a seamless computing “fabric” that could be dynamically configured and reconfigured as needed and managed from a central console.

Solution
Because most EVRY servers run the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system, EVRY had watched the development of its successor, Windows Server 2012. EVRY was impressed with the increased maturity in Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V. “Functionality provided by features such as Hyper-V Replica has been present in other virtualization solutions and is a welcome addition to Hyper-V,” Høydahl says. Hyper-V Replica provides asynchronous replication of virtual machines between storage systems, clusters, and data centers.

*
* We have to be able to comply with some very specific customer needs, but we needed both lower price points and more capabilities than we could meet with our existing virtualization solutions. *

Sten Høydahl
Product Manager, EVRY

*
EVRY joined the Microsoft Rapid Deployment Program for Windows Server 2012 to evaluate its many new features. Høydahl says EVRY likes to participate in RDPs because it gives his team early access to new products. “Because we get an early opportunity to explore new products, we are ready to put them to work as soon as they are publicly released,” he says. “We were eager to see how we could use Windows Server 2012 to help us transform our environment to a more elastic cloud environment.”

EVRY set up a lab environment with Dell PowerEdge R810 and 710 servers. EVRY worked with a Microsoft Services consultant to set up the environment and explore the new operating system features. “Having the Microsoft Services consultant on hand was really great. He had a lot of experience running large Hyper-V clusters and discussed the best way to achieve our objectives,” says Ketil Kåsa, IT Architect at EVRY.

Cluster Failover Features
During the RDP, EVRY focused on cluster failover and networking features. The EVRY team likes the fact that Hyper-V Replica does not require special licensing, specialized hardware, or other costs, as similar functionality in other hypervisors require. “Hyper-V Replica is an easy way to create a disaster recovery solution,” Kåsa says. “It’s very easy to implement and operate. It’s also very cost-effective because it’s included in the operating system.”

The team was familiar with the clustering capabilities in Windows Server 2008 R2 and really liked the enhancements in the area of live workload migration. The Hyper-V live migration feature enables data center administrators to migrate running virtual machines between host servers without downtime. EVRY plans to use this feature, and the transparent failover feature, to smoothly migrate workloads from its current data centers to the new one. Transparent failover keeps workloads in a cluster running even if the node they are running on fails.

EVRY can also link its virtualized workloads directly to a storage area network (SAN) by using virtual Fiber Channel for Hyper-V, which provides fiber channel ports within the guest operating system and allows administrators to connect to fibre channel storage directly from virtual machines. This gives EVRY the opportunity to provide a broader range of storage services to customers.

Networking Enhancements
Windows Server 2012 includes a number of software-based networking features that EVRY explored. Network Interface Card (NIC) Teaming provides the benefit of network fault tolerance on physical servers and virtual machines by using at least two network adapters by any vendor, without the need for a third-party teaming solution. Hyper-V Network Virtualization isolates network traffic of different customers or business groups on a shared infrastructure without using virtual local area networks.

“NIC Teaming worked well,” Kåsa says. “It’s a nice feature to finally have in the operating system rather than dealing with multiple NIC vendors and their teaming software. NIC Teaming may reduce our maintenance and operation work and will help in our Hyper-V deployments because the teaming and networking capabilities are so well integrated with the hypervisor.”

*
* NIC Teaming worked well. It’s a nice feature to finally have in the operating system rather than dealing with multiple NIC vendors and their teaming software. *

Ketil Kåsa
IT Architect, EVRY

*
EVRY also tested Hyper-V Extensible Switch, a layer-2 virtual network switch that provides programmatically managed and extensible capabilities to connect virtual machines to the physical network. It also allows for third-party extensible plug-ins that can provide enhanced networking and security capabilities. “This is one more feature that closes the gap between Hyper-V and VMware,” Høydahl says. “We tested Hyper-V Extensible Switch with the Cisco Nexus 1000V Switch, and the software-hardware combination delivers significant management efficiencies. It gives us the opportunity to do more uniform and unified management of the entire solution, from the servers to the hypervisor and network layer.”

By using Hyper-V Network Virtualization and Hyper-V Extensible Switch, together with Microsoft System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager, EVRY can implement software-defined networking (SDN) without expensive third-party products. SDN is a networking architecture where the router control plane is implemented via software in servers that are separate from the network equipment, and the router data plane is implemented in commodity network equipment. By enabling network control using software, EVRY has the ability to create virtual networks on top of the physical network and to dynamically reconfigure these networks to match the changing requirements of their workloads.

“In our new data center, we are looking at implementing SDN for both VMware and Hyper-V environments,” Høydahl says. “It will result in lower hardware costs and will let us further automate the virtual machine deployment process and create virtualized networks for our clients. We can get more tenants on our physical network.”

Single-Console Management Efficiencies
EVRY uses Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 to deploy both server and client computer software, deploy security updates, and manage hardware and software inventory. But it is currently evaluating Microsoft System Center 2012 with Service Pack 1, which provides extensive data center automation capabilities in the areas of physical and virtual server provisioning, monitoring, management, backup, process automation, service management, and more.

“We are very interested in the Virtual Machine Manager, Orchestrator, and App Controller components of System Center 2012,” Kåsa says. “In addition to the enhanced management functionality that System Center 2012 provides, a key advantage is the licensing terms. System Center and Windows Server 2012 are covered by our Microsoft Enterprise Agreement license, which provides great cost efficiencies. Also, the integration of all the System Center components gives us a broad range of control over many data center elements from one management console.”

Benefits
With its upgrade to Windows Server 2012 and deployment of System Center 2012, EVRY will gain more choice and flexibility with which to meet customer needs and stay competitive. With the extensive automation enhancements, it will be able to add new capabilities while still reducing operating costs. The enhanced Microsoft software will be instrumental in the IT company’s ability to create a private cloud environment that will deliver even more infrastructure flexibility.

More Technology Choices, Increased Competitiveness
EVRY can use the enhanced capabilities of Hyper-V and other improvements in Windows Server 2012 to give customers more choices at lower prices. “As a hosting provider, we need to create the most cost-effective services that we can,” Høydahl says. “With the improvements in Hyper-V, we have more technology choices in how we can meet ever-changing customer requirements. This helps us be more competitive. We can be more agile in delivering a wider range of services to a wider range of customers.”

*
* System Center and Windows Server 2012 are covered by our Microsoft Enterprise Agreement license, which provides great cost efficiencies. *

Ketil Kåsa
IT Architect, EVRY

*
EVRY can now cost-effectively create many new or enhanced services with Hyper-V. Examples include disaster recovery, virtual desktop infrastructure, and network management solutions. “All these services will be more efficient to configure by using the new features in Windows Server 2012, and we can pass these savings on to our customers,” Høydahl says. “With more affordable disaster recovery, we’ll be able to persuade more customers to virtualize their workloads with the assurance that those workloads will be safe. By using Hyper-V Replica, we can give all customers high availability using standard services included in the operating system.”

Increased IT Efficiency and 30 Percent Lower Operating Costs
These new services do not come at a cost; they come with a savings. By upgrading to Windows Server 2012, EVRY can offer more services while operating more efficiently. “We think we can reduce our operational costs by up to 30 percent by using the increased automation in Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012,” Høydahl says. “We can create a flexible, multitenant cloud infrastructure with far less management work and run our data centers far more efficiently.” Additionally, EVRY expects to realize an approximately 30 percent savings on software licensing by using its Microsoft Enterprise Agreement and eliminating licensing for third-party virtualization software.

As an example of operating efficiencies, EVRY can create disaster recovery solutions much more easily with Hyper-V and System Center because the team can do everything from one console. “Today we have many moving parts in our availability solutions—heavy, rigid processes for creating high-availability solutions for each customer,” Høydahl says. “With Windows Server 2012, service creation of all kinds will be much simpler. High availability will be part of the underlying infrastructure service, not an expensive and process-intensive add-on.”

EVRY also plans to use Hyper-V and System Center 2012 to facilitate its data center consolidation project. The EVRY team can use technologies such as Hyper-V Replica to migrate running workloads from its current data centers to its new data center. “We see Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 as great complementary services to our platform,” Høydahl says. “We can even have customers running on multiple hypervisors while using System Center as a common management console.”

Faster Move to Cloud Computing
By adopting Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012, EVRY has the tools that it needs to create powerful private cloud solutions that customers can requisition quickly and cost effectively. “Windows Server 2012 will help us move to a true cloud computing environment,” Høydahl says. “We finally have the level of automation and the centralized management console that we need to make this an affordable reality.”

While the Hyper-V environment at EVRY is relatively small today, that’s changing. “Our new data center will have many more Hyper-V services,” Kåsa says. “Given the huge improvements in both virtualization and networking, the number of Hyper-V virtual machines in our data centers will be much higher one year from now. Hyper-V is definitely a strategic area of growth for us.”

Windows Server 2012
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 redefines the category, delivering 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.

For more information, visit
www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/windows-server/2012-default.aspx

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about EVRY products and services, visit the website at:
www.evry.com

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 7500 employees

Organization Profile

EVRY is one of the leading IT companies in the Nordic countries, with a strong local and regional presence in 50 Nordic towns and cities.


Business Situation

Because EVRY has so many customer needs to meet, it has to offer many solutions. But it also needs to keep costs low. EVRY also wanted to create a private cloud environment as quickly as possible.


Solution

EVRY is upgrading to the Windows Server 2012 operating system and Microsoft System Center 2012 to take advantage of extensive automation features and improvements in cluster failover and networking.


Benefits

  • More technology choice, increased competitiveness
  • Increased IT efficiency and 30 percent lower operating costs
  • Faster move to cloud computing


Hardware
  • Dell PowerEdge R810 and 710 servers

Software and Services
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Microsoft System Center 2012
  • Microsoft Consulting Services
  • Datacenter

Vertical Industries
Hosters & ISPs

Country/Region
Norway

Business Need
  • Cost Containment
  • Cloud & Server Platform

IT Issue
  • Virtualization
  • Private Cloud

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Microsoft Services

RSS