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Posted: 6/2/2011
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Century City International Holdings Limited Century City Pursues Ambitious Business Goals with the Reliability of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V

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* We have experienced a 30% reduction in IT administration and maintenance costs, and another 30% in operating costs since deploying [Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V]… Moreover, we are benefiting from … a more empowered IT department that can serve the business better. *

David W.K. Chow
MIS Manager
Century City International Holdings Limited

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Century City International Holdings Limited (Century City) is an international development and investment company headquartered in Hong Kong. The company is primarily engaged in property and construction development and investment, hotel operation and management. Its subsidiary, Regal Hotels International, currently operates and manages 6 hotels in Hong Kong and 5 hotels in Mainland China, with 4 more hotels under development in China.

Century City deployed Microsoft® NT® 4.0 and Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 almost 10 years ago. Since then, the company’s business has expanded and with this growth has come new challenges that require new IT solutions. “In the hotel and property business, especially in high-cost real estate cities such as Hong Kong, space is extremely valuable,” says David W.K. Chow, MIS Manager, Century City International Holdings Limited. “Every square foot counts. And with almost 60 servers, our hardware assets were taking up too much valuable floor space, not to mention the related power consumption costs.”

On top of management concerns, Century City also needed an IT infrastructure to meet the current and emerging demands of its business. “Today, hotel customers expect more value-added services than ever and most of these services require IT support,” says Chow. “At the senior level of the business, decision makers need quick access to data and rely on the IT department to keep them up to date. And the pressure on us is compounded by the fact that hotel operations are 24/7 non-stop.”

With business growth taking another surge in 2009, Century City began to consider how to overhaul its IT assets. The company concluded that virtualization was the most attractive option, but wanted a system that also provided a foundation for the continuous growth of its business. “We were looking for a solution that addresses both enterprise and employee needs while also being cost-effective to deploy and manage,” explains Chow.

Solution

In January 2010, Century City deployed Windows Server® 2008 R2 Hyper-V™ and went live in May the same year. In its recent IT revamp, Century City deployed several other Microsoft products, including Windows® 7, Microsoft SharePoint® 2010, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and Microsoft Forefront™ Threat Management Gateway, and Microsoft System Center as a management tool. Opting for the reliability and quality of a Microsoft solution for this project made sense to the company. “[This project] was not a simple upgrade,” says Chow. “It was a mission to revamp the whole enterprise platform to fulfill our corporate development goals. We wanted to choose a solution that provided the best support and least risk, and would prepare us technologically for anticipated future growth.”

David W.K. Chow, MIS Manager, Century City International Holdings Limited
David W.K. Chow, MIS Manager,
Century City International Holdings Limited
Benefits

Less than one year since deploying its new Microsoft solutions, Century City is already extremely satisfied with the benefits experienced.

New technology cuts costs; “We have experienced a 30% reduction in IT administration and maintenance costs, and another 30% in operating costs since deploying the Windows Server® 2008 R2 Hyper-V™ solution,” says Chow. The 60 tower servers have been cut back to 20 blade servers, saving the company a considerable amount of valuable space, especially at hotel property level, and reducing power utility bills and maintenance overhead. “Virtualization of 64-bit operating systems and memory-intensive applications has also allowed us to save money on hardware investments,” says Chow.

Enhanced productivity and user experience; Virtualization with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V has delivered a significant boost to IT team productivity. Now IT employees can manage the server core installation remotely by using the Microsoft Management Console Snap-Ins and tools from another computer running Windows Server 2008 R2. “The advantage of virtualization is that it provides a machine-independent environment that makes it easier to enhance system features and availability such as live migration, system snapshot, or changing the virtual machine to another server,” says Chow.

Century City also upgraded its messaging infrastructure with Exchange Server 2010, which supports business-critical communications like push mail, a feature seen as a vital necessity for executives. Overall productivity has been boosted as much as 50%. “Bigger mailbox sizes, larger sharing disk quota per department, and faster Internet access and secure anti-virus using Forefront all had a tremendous impact on the user experience at Century City,” says Chow.

Additionally, Outlook Web Access has enabled users to manage their mailboxes more easily, reducing the burden on system administrators. Now when a mailbox nears maximum capacity, for example, users can quickly review the situation via a simple bar graph.

Improved stability and reliability; Improved system stability and the ability to recover rapidly have also increased staff productivity by reducing system downtime. “Server virtualization with Hyper-V adds volume shadow copy services, an automatic back up feature that enables point-in-time back up of virtual machines, ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery. The Windows Server 2008 R2 failover cluster feature is also crucial when moving workloads around to better utilize host resources,” says Chow.

Switching to Windows 7 has also made a difference, Chow added. “It’s a highly reliable operating system that speeds up performance so users can get to work more quickly. Faster boot up and shutdown times reduce data integrity risk and saves energy costs at the Regal Hotel. Stability is excellent as well -- we have not had one blue screen since deploying Windows 7.”

More responsive to business needs; “The deployment of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V has made us much more responsive to customers and partners,” says Chow. “The flexible infrastructure scales to meet future growth, allowing us to provide continual enhancements to drive the business to the forefront of the industry by overhauling the customer experience.”

“With Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, Century City now has a more flexible and powerful virtualization environment that will help the company conserve valuable IT resources and withstand the challenges in the current hotel market,” says Chow. “Moreover, the new technologies at Regal Hotels also sharpen our competitive edge, equipping us with the assets needed to meet the needs of all hotel guests and the technology tools they travel with, ensuring we will continue to achieve significant growth in the years ahead.”

Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 provides the latest virtualization technology that enables you to achieve increased IT efficiency, agility and cost saving. Whether you want to consolidate servers, build a private cloud or offer Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, its powerful virtualization features will take your datacenter and desktop virtualization strategy to new levels. Higher levels of virtualization require a comprehensive integrated management system. Microsoft System Center provides a suite of tools to manage physical and virtual IT resources for a dynamic infrastructure. For more information, please visit: www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008

Solution Overview




Organization Profile

Century City International Holdings Limited (Century City) is an international property development and investment company. Its subsidiary, Regal Hotels, specializes in managing and operating hotels in Asia.


Software and Services
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 7
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway

Vertical Industries
  • Capital Markets/Securities
  • Other Services

Country/Region
Hong Kong SAR

Languages
English

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