AB Server was established in 1995 and provides hosted services to customers in Spain. It wanted to prepare its infrastructure to accommodate expected growth for Microsoft customers, and streamline service delivery to cut running costs. In 2010, it deployed the Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter operating system with Hyper-V technology. Since then, power and cooling costs have been reduced by approximately 80 percent and the company is attracting more Microsoft customers.
AB Server is a hosting provider, employing 25 people and offering services to small and medium-sized enterprises. In Spain, the market for hosting is split, with 58 percent of customers requiring Linux systems, and 42 percent requiring Windows systems. AB Server provides a hosted offering to customers that use either Linux or Windows operating systems.
In 2010, AB Server embarked on a strategy to achieve two main business goals. First, the company wanted to reduce running costs. Juan Carlos Cantó, Chief Executive Officer, AB Server, says: “Like all hosting companies, the cost of cooling, powering, and maintaining our data centers is high.”
The second challenge for AB Server was to prepare its hosting infrastructure for growth in the Windows market, and attract Microsoft customers in Spain. Cantó explains that the number of companies in Spain that focus on developing solutions for Windows operating systems is growing, along with the number of companies that choose to use Microsoft Office desktop software. “Increasingly, our clients—especially when they’re interested in small, private cloud-based networks—demand virtual machines that support Windows applications. They want secure, easy-to-use services that guarantee high availability and performance for a competitive price,” he says.
Cantó wanted to create a streamlined, virtualized infrastructure that would help the company cut administrative costs and increase revenue. Solution
AB Server implemented Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter with Hyper-V technology, to virtualize its network of data centers. All hosted services, including those for Linux customers, are provisioned from the Windows infrastructure. The company’s licenses are managed within the terms of the Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA). With the SPLA agreement, AB Server can deliver web hosting, hosted applications, and customer services—and can create flexible pricing plans for its customers.
Zerkana Consulting—a Microsoft Partner in Spain—helped Cantó’s team deploy the infrastructure. As part of a new customer offering, AB Server and Zerkana Consulting used the Microsoft Dynamic Data Center Toolkit to create portals and easy-to-navigate consoles from which customers can manage their hosted networks. For example, from its dedicated portal, a customer can provision servers, monitor performance, complete backups, and deploy system updates.
The toolkit includes features from the Microsoft System Center suite of products that help AB Server optimize its infrastructure continually, and reduce the time and complexity of provisioning and managing hosted services. The solution was deployed in January 2011, and AB Server plans to move all customers to its virtualized network by December 2011. Benefits
AB Server now offers its customers a choice of Linux and Windows solutions from its Microsoft data center. Cantó says that switching to an infrastructure based on Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V has reduced the company’s overheads for licenses, power, and cooling. “Our clients benefit from high availability, excellent security, and control over their own networks,” he says. The firm’s new offering is also attracting more customers.
Power and cooling costs are cut by approximately 80 percent. With virtualization, the company requires fewer licenses and can fit up to 20 virtual servers on one physical server with Hyper-V. “We’ve reduced our power and cooling costs by around 80 percent,” says Cantó.
Productivity is increased by 25 percent. Cantó and his small team are more productive now that many tasks are automated and streamlined with the Microsoft Dynamic Data Center Toolkit. He says: “We’ve increased productivity by around 25 percent, because we can do more, but with the same number of employees.” For example, it takes just three minutes to provision a server—previously it took up to three hours.
Solution attracts more customers. Since the solution was deployed, the company has seen an increase in the number of Microsoft customers it has attracted. “Our strategy is to offer complete virtualization solutions to customers, giving them the best value for money on a highly available platform. Growth in our Microsoft customer base is proof that our strategy is working,” says Cantó.
Customer services are enhanced. AB Server customers can easily increase their server requirements from their dedicated portals. They have more control over managing employee desktops, and can update software or user permissions as required. AB Server is now reinvesting the savings it has made into creating other highly competitive customer services. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.