Uni Micro, a Norway-based software development firm, needed to increase its capacity to respond to new market opportunities. After successfully using Microsoft virtualization tools to trim operating costs and reduce its IT staff’s workload, the company seized the opportunity to adopt Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012. Now, Uni Micro can use dynamic resource pooling and unified cloud management capabilities to boost business agility.
To keep its competitive edge, Uni Micro—an independent software vendor (ISV) and member of the Microsoft Partner Network—depends on its ability to rapidly develop new business management software while keeping its operating costs low. “We only have 60 employees, but we serve a large customer base, so we need to adopt an agile methodology in everything we do,” says Kristian Nese, Chief Information Officer at Uni Micro.
The company’s agile approach to management starts with its data center environment. Previously, the company maintained 35 physical servers. Executives found that IT administrators spent dozens of hours each month applying security updates and performing data backup operations on these machines. They also noted that administrators spent a substantial amount of time responding to requests from developers for access to infrastructure resources.
||Once we saw how System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 could help us increase data center automation and support a more agile development process, it was a simple decision to upgrade.
Chief Information Officer, Uni Micro
In 2008, Nese led an initiative to pare down the company’s investment in server hardware through the use of virtualization software. The company used the Hyper-V technology in the Windows Server 2008 operating system alongside VMware vSphere Hypervisor technology to move from 35 physical servers to four host systems. Uni Micro used Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, together with System Center Operations Manager 2007, to manage its Hyper-V clusters.
The company sought to continue building on the time and cost savings it realized after reducing its server hardware by 90 percent. It looked to further increase automation of essential administrative tasks, including provisioning, updating, and monitoring virtual machine clusters. Uni Micro also wanted to make it easier for developers to access storage, compute, and network resources. And, it wanted the ability to use a single tool to monitor services that used both public and private cloud infrastructure. Solution
Nese, who is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for System Center Virtual Machine Manager, was excited to gain prerelease access to the latest version of the technology. “Once we saw how System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 could help us increase data center automation and support a more agile development process, it was a simple decision to upgrade,” says Nese.
Uni Micro was eager to explore the fabric management and private cloud administration capabilities in System Center Virtual Machine Manager. In particular, Nese appreciated the ability to provision bare-metal machines for use in a virtualized cluster. The company eventually plans to standardize its data center on Hyper-V technology. “We made some earlier investments in VMware Workstation,” says Nese. “Because of the enhancements to Virtual Machine Manager 2012, we’ve decided to convert all of our VMware virtual machines to Hyper-V, and we plan to only use Hyper-V in production going forward.”
As a Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner, Uni Micro had already adopted Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud development, hosting, and management environment. With System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, the company plans to take full advantage of the ability to create private clouds. By using Microsoft System Center App Controller 2012, together with Virtual Machine Manager 2012, Uni Micro will have the ability to move application components fluidly between cloud environments while accessing a single, consolidated view of service performance.
Uni Micro can also empower its developers by giving them more control in managing the configuration and deployment of services. Administrators can delegate service templates with predefined resource utilization values, which developers can then tailor to specific project requirements. “Our developers see the orientation toward managing services instead of servers in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 as a leap forward,” says Nese. “The configurable templates and other self-service tools give them the power to focus on building applications, instead of worrying about setting up infrastructure.” Benefits
By upgrading to System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, Uni Micro has experienced the following benefits:
Deploys Virtualized Infrastructure 100 Percent Faster
Uni Micro can now deploy Hyper-V clusters to bare-metal machines and automate critical management functions, such as updating host servers and applying resource optimization, and can set up new virtualized infrastructure twice as fast as it could before. “We only have to mount the servers into the rack in our data center and we can count on System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 to handle just about everything else,” says Nese.
Increases Agility for Application Development
Because administrators can dynamically allocate cloud infrastructure resources through the use of service templates, they can help developers at Uni Micro build, test, and deploy applications faster. “Before, we assigned a fixed set of storage, network, and compute resources for each project, which limited flexibility,” says Nese. “Now, we can use resource pooling, so if we want to create a new product to respond to a market opportunity, we can do all of the development and testing in the cloud. And, with the elasticity that the cloud provides, we can meet demand in a much more agile way.”
Optimizes Virtualization Investments, Creates New Cloud Opportunities
By adopting System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, Uni Micro is able to extend the value of its existing investments in Microsoft virtualization technology and manage cross-platform data center components—all through a single solution. In conjunction with System Center App Controller 2012, the company can use the solution with Windows Azure to explore the benefits of moving applications between cloud environments. “With System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, we have all the tools we need to make the most of the cloud, based on the changing needs of our customers and our business,” says Nese.
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