4-page Case Study
Posted: 7/12/2010
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Goethe University Frankfurt University Reclaims Data Center Capacity and Enables Innovation with Virtualization

With 4,500 employees and 37,000 students, Goethe University Frankfurt (formerly Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main), in Germany, offers instruction in a broad range of subjects. To support research and educational innovation, the university’s Business Application Management department manages a robust IT infrastructure; but to support an increasing number of projects, the university’s data center had grown to the limits of its capacity. The university needed to immediately develop new server capacity and also simplify its IT environment. The department deployed a virtual server infrastructure by using Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter with Hyper-V. The university used virtualization to decrease the size of its hardware infrastructure by more than half; simplify IT management; enhance system performance, reliability, and flexibility; and reduce licensing and operation costs.


Situation
With more than 37,000 students, Goethe University Frankfurt (formerly Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main) is one of the largest universities in Germany, offering instruction and supporting research in a broad spectrum of subjects. By using a foundation of solid research, the university encourages an orientation toward application and practical relevance.

In 2009, the university learned that it needed a solid foundation for its IT infrastructure, too, when the IT department informed Sabine Hingott, the Director of Business Application Management at Goethe University Frankfurt, that the data center could not accommodate any new servers. An increasing number of projects had generated an ever-growing demand for new servers, and ultimately, the number of servers reached the electricity, cooling, and physical-space capacity in the data center. “It was a shock for us,” says Hingott. “But it was a wake-up call at the right time. Everyone understood that we needed to invest now in a sustainable infrastructure.”

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* With Windows Server Hyper-V, we reduced the number of SAP servers by half. In spite of that, our database queries are running 24 percent faster than before. *

Sabine Hingott
Director, Business Application Management, Goethe University Frankfurt

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Hingott and her team immediately got to work to develop a forward-looking strategy for the university’s SAP-IT systems. The first thing they needed to do was reduce the load on the data center to make room for new projects and the second was to simplify a complex SAP environment.

The university’s SAP-IT infrastructure had grown into a collection of servers that had been procured at different times, ran on different operating systems, and had varying maintenance needs. The university managed 15 SAP 6.0 servers with NetWeaver 7.0, on which it ran an eight-module billing system, a two-system event management environment, a two-system business intelligence environment, a solution manager, and a content server with SAP Records Management. The heterogeneous environment was hard to maintain and required a variety of tools to manage.

Goethe University wanted to improve system administration, reduce the size of its data center infrastructure, and simplify its IT environment. At the same time, the university needed the flexibility to scale up its system to make servers available quickly for new projects, and it wanted to find a cost-effective solution that would remain cost effective over the long term.

Solution
Its aspirations for improved load capacity, scalable infrastructure, and flexible management led the university to evaluate virtualization technologies such as VMware ESX Small Business and Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V technology. The IT team at Goethe University already had extensive experience with Microsoft technologies, and the university had already deployed the Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter operating system in its IT environment.

“We already have a volume license agreement for Windows Server 2008, and after analyzing the costs, we eliminated VMware,” says Hingott. “With Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V, we save around 65 percent on licensing costs over VMware.” Based on its experience with Microsoft solutions, the IT team also anticipated that it could use Hyper-V to implement a virtualized server environment without a long ramp-up period.

In fact, it took the university only six months to implement its virtualization plan. After brief workshops, it moved quickly to deployment, working with Microsoft and the university’s technology partner, connmove consulting, a Microsoft Registered Partner with expertise in both Microsoft and SAP technologies.

Dietrich Ebert, an Assistant Department Manager in Business Application Management at Goethe University Frankfurt, managed the virtualization project for the university. He appreciated the flexibility of Microsoft and the expertise of connmove. “We were impressed by the tight and easy cooperation between connmove and Microsoft,” he says.

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* With Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V, we save around 65 percent on licensing costs over VMware. *

Sabine Hingott
Director, Business Application Management, Goethe University Frankfurt

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The university converted eight physical servers into virtual servers. It converted one SAP server into a virtual machine by using Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. The university migrated all other SAP systems to the virtual environment by using an SAP procedure. On two of the remaining physical servers, the IT team built a cluster of Hyper-V virtual servers to create a backup system that will protect data and keep services operating if one of the servers fails. Altogether, only seven physical servers remain in the data center, a reduction of more than 50 percent.

System administrators use System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 to help deploy and manage multiple virtual servers on individual physical machines. By using Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 and Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 to manage physical and virtual servers from a central console, the university maintains optimal server utilization, even with its modular SAP systems.

The university also updated Microsoft SQL Server 2000 data management software to SQL Server 2008 Enterprise, and for more protection against server failure, it distributed the database between a cluster of virtual servers split between two physical servers. By standardizing its database software, Goethe University saved an additional 70 percent on license fees. It used a Dell PowerVault MD3000i with 12 300-gigabyte hard disk drives for storage, with all data automatically mirrored. With this configuration, the university has a total of 1.8 terabytes of storage, which it expects to increase to 2.5 terabytes in 2010.

Benefits
By deploying a virtualized server environment, Goethe University Frankfurt reclaimed capacity in its data center and built a simpler, more cost-effective, and more agile IT infrastructure that it can use to launch new projects and drive innovation. The university decreased its hardware inventory for SAP from 15 physical servers to seven; reduced licensing, maintenance, and energy costs; and simplified system management.

Reclaimed Capacity with Reduced Costs
Goethe University reduced the number of physical servers in its data center by more than half, reclaiming the capacity to expand and implement new projects, while reducing hardware, electricity, and cooling costs. The university is running its IT infrastructure with less hardware and less energy, while actually enhancing system performance. “With Windows Server Hyper-V, we reduced the number of SAP servers by half,” says Hingott. “In spite of that, our database queries are running 24 percent faster than before.”

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* Administration is so much easier now that we can use Microsoft System Center tools to guarantee optimal performance management. *

Sabine Hingott
Director, Business Application Management, Goethe University Frankfurt

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By choosing Hyper-V, the university spent 65 percent less on licenses than it would have with VMware. It saved another 70 percent in license costs by updating its databases with SQL Server 2008.

Flexible, Reliable SAP Environment
By using virtualization, Goethe University now boasts a lean, cost-effective, and flexible SAP infrastructure, and the university’s overall SAP system is performing 24 percent faster than it did in the old server infrastructure. Instead of a heterogeneous IT environment that had evolved over many years and many projects, the university now has a homogeneous and organized system that it can scale up or down quickly, easily, and inexpensively. “With Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, we can now deploy a new server at the touch of a button,” says Hingott.

The university protects network systems from downtime or failure by deploying virtual servers in high-availability clusters. As a result, it can deliver IT services consistently and provide business users with reliable access to critical applications. And, by reducing the size of its hardware infrastructure and homogenizing its IT environment, the university built a system that it can run efficiently and grow logically.

Simple Administration
The IT team is enthusiastic about being able to monitor physical and virtual servers from a central Microsoft System Center console, which will simplify IT management. Administrators are using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 and System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 to automate many routine processes, which saves time and reduces administrative overhead. The university intends to deploy Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 to manage backups and data recovery.

“Administration is so much easier now that we can use Microsoft System Center tools to guarantee optimal performance management,” says Hingott.

Microsoft virtualization
Microsoft virtualization is an end-to-end strategy that can profoundly affect nearly every aspect of the IT infrastructure management life cycle. It can drive greater efficiencies, flexibility, and cost effectiveness throughout your organization. From accelerating application deployments; to ensuring systems, applications, and data are always available; to taking the hassle out of rebuilding and shutting down servers and desktops for testing and development; to reducing risk, slashing costs, and improving the agility of your entire environment—virtualization has the power to transform your infrastructure, from the data center to the desktop.

For more information about Microsoft virtualization solutions, go to:
www.microsoft.com/virtualization

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 connmove consulting products and services, visit the website at:
www.connmove.de

For more information about Goethe University Frankfurt products and services, visit the website at:
www.uni-frankfurt.de

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 4500 employees

Organization Profile

Goethe University Frankfurt is one of the largest universities in Germany, with 4,500 employees and 37,000 students.


Business Situation

The university’s server infrastructure had reached the limits of its data center capacity. To continue delivering computing services, the IT department needed to reduce the size of its server environment.


Solution

The university converted its database and SAP systems to a virtual-server environment by using Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter with Hyper-V virtualization technology.


Benefits

  • Reclaimed capacity with reduced costs
  • Flexible, reliable SAP environment
  • Simple administration


Software and Services
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2
  • Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2
  • Microsoft Hyper-V

Vertical Industries
Higher Education

Country/Region
Germany

Business Need
Cloud & Server Platform

Languages
English

Partner(s)
connmove consulting

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