4-page Case Study
Posted: 5/11/2011
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Whitireia New Zealand Education provider significantly reduces costs with Virtualization Platform

Whitireia New Zealand required a superior technology platform that would reduce costs and increase functionality. With the existing VMWare solution not meeting requirements, Whitireia replaced it with the latest Microsoft virtualization platform. The tertiary organization now has a modern, highly reliable server system with greater capacity and functionality, for a significantly lower cost of ownership. This allows the IT department to focus on adding value to the institution, rather than just managing infrastructure.

Situation

Whitireia New Zealand is a government owned and funded tertiary institute of technology, known for its high student success rate and culturally diverse student body. Established in 1986 in Porirua, it has grown to become an 9,000 student operation with campuses in Auckland, Wellington, Kapiti and Porirua. Whitireia is committed to ensuring students are work ready by providing postgraduate studies, degrees, diplomas, certificates and short courses. It has excellent student support facilities and learning resources.

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* “In order to reduce the amount of server hardware we were currently using with Novell, we trialed VMWare’s free virtualization software. It started off well but we became frustrated with the limited functionality, so made the decision to upgrade to licensed software.” *

Hylton Tuckett
ICT Manager
Whitireia New Zealand

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Whitireia had been working off bare metal servers under Novell, but with the increased size of the student and faculty bodies utilizing the system, the organization needed a new way of managing the heavy data loads in the most efficient way. Uniformity of guest hardware, system management and agility and cost savings within the virtualization platform, were the main reasons for requiring an upgrade.

“In order to reduce the amount of server hardware we were currently using with Novell, we trialed VMWare’s free virtualization software. It started off well but we became frustrated with the limited functionality, so made the decision to upgrade to licensed software,” says Hylton Tuckett, ICT Manager for Whitireia New Zealand.

With approximately 9,000 users accessing the network and storing data, Whitireia New Zealand needed to upgrade the server solution or risk being trapped with an inflexible and expensive system. The Polytechnic also required a more modern, future-proofed virtualized system that would reduce costs and enable them to be more time efficient.

“We wanted a common virtual platform across all of our machines, which would be easy to use and scalable, with increased capacity and performance. We needed to upgrade our servers as well so they could house the same virtualization software.”

Solution

The Polytechnic compared the licensed VMWare and Microsoft virtualized platforms before deciding to go with Microsoft, the decision based on greater functionality, ease of use, lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and the IT team’s preference.

Windows Server 2008 R2 was rolled out across the organization so it could support the Hyper-V platform. This was comprised of 34 physical servers and 140 virtual hosts. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Exchange 2010, System Centre Operations Manager 2007, Systems Centre Virtual Manager 2008 R2, SharePoint 2010, Forefront Identity Manager 2007 and Microsoft Line-of-Business (LOB) Applications were also deployed.

As Whitireia New Zealand is a large organization with locations across New Zealand, an enterprise level implementation was necessary. Our Senior Microsoft Engineer, Mark Adams, was chosen to deploy the new software.

Deployment of Hyper-V and the server upgrades to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 were initiated at the end of 2009 and took less than a month. Microsoft Exchange 2010, Data Protection Manager 2010, SharePoint 2010 and other system management solutions were implemented in 2010.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the speed of the upgrade and how easy it was to shift platforms. We are a large organization with a number of remote locations that we needed to deploy to and Mark handled this with aplomb,” says Hylton.


Benefits

The main benefits of implementing the Microsoft virtualization platform – Hyper-V and Windows Server 2008 R2, to Whitireia New Zealand include:

  • Enhanced flexibility – can build and rebuild the system

  • Improved performance

  • Ease of use

  • Improved reliability

  • Significant cost savings

  • Greater CPU and RAM capacity

  • No special licensing required

Whitireia New Zealand had very few disruptions or system issues throughout deployment, due to running the Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 in parallel with its existing system. The tertiary institute now has an easy to use, flexible, scalable system with more storage capacity, and enhanced performance and functionality.

“Moving from VMWare to a virtualized Microsoft platform has given us an increased number of benefits and improved functionality. One significant benefit is that with Hyper-V we now have a modular system instead of a giant mainframe, meaning that if something major happens in the system it is easier to locate and sort out without disruptions,” says Hylton.

“Hyper-V also works much better than VMWare ESX because we can simply build and move with greater flexibility and manageability. Our remote sites now have a common Windows interface instead of a complex ESX/Linux interface.”

In addition to improved performance, the organization has made significant cost savings with the move to Hyper-V.

“Because no special licensing is required, and as we are part of the tertiary software agreement, we received a good deal on the Microsoft virtualization platform, which made it significantly cheaper compared with the VMWare offering. We’ve made savings in the realms of six figures over the year that the new server system has been in place. We are now almost 100 percent virtual which is great.”

Ease of use was a key factor for choosing a Microsoft-based solution, and Microsoft offers extensive training courses for IT professionals who will be managing and maintaining the server systems.

“Microsoft made it much easier to train our Senior Microsoft Engineer on Hyper-V, and Mark is now fully certified to manage the software.”

The servers are providing test servers, backup servers, development servers as well as production servers, an environment which far exceeds what were handled by the bare metal servers under Novell. The server density will continue to be improved and the Microsoft solution has enabled the Polytechnic to remove the risk of operating so many servers within the environment.

Whitireia New Zealand has invested in a virtualized server system that is modern and highly reliable with greater capacity and functionality. The significant cost and time savings mean the Polytechnic can focus more resources on effective teaching.

Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows Server 2008 R2 is the latest version of the Windows Server operating system from Microsoft. With Windows Server 2008 R2, you can create solutions that are easier to plan, deploy, and manage than with previous versions of Windows Server. Building on the features, security, reliability, and performance provided by Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 extends connectivity and control to local and remote resources. This means that your organization can benefit from reduced costs and increased efficiencies gained through enhanced management and control over resources across the enterprise

  • For more information about Microsoft products and services, call Microsoft New Zealand on 0800 800 004

  • To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: www.microsoft.co.nz

  • For more information about Windows Server 2008 products and services, visit the Web site at: www.microsoft.co.nz/server

  • For more information about Whitireia New Zealand please visit their Web site at: www.whitireia.ac.nz 

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview




Organization Profile

Whitireia New Zealand is a government owned and funded tertiary institute of technology, known for its high student success rate and culturally diverse student body.


Business Situation

Whitireia had been working off bare metal servers under Novell, but with the increasing users of the system, the organization needed to better manage data loads.


Solution

Windows Server 2008 R2 was rolled out across the organization so it could support the Hyper-V platform. This was comprised of 34 physical servers and 140 virtual hosts.


Benefits

  • Enhanced flexibility
  • Improved performance
  • Ease of use
  • Improved reliability
  • Significant cost savings


Software and Services
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Microsoft Forefront
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server
  • Microsoft Sharepoint Server
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft System Center Operations Manager
  • Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager
  • Windows Server

Vertical Industries
Education

Country/Region
New Zealand

Business Need
Data Management

Languages
English

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