4-page Case Study
Posted: 9/19/2012
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Lufthansa Systems AG Hosting Provider Boosts Virtual Machine Density, Availability with Server Upgrade

Lufthansa Systems AG virtualized the servers it used to host applications and environments for its customers. But as those workloads grew, the company wanted to support that growth with higher virtual machine density, availability, and reliability. Lufthansa Systems accomplished that by deploying Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center 2012. It increased the size of its virtual clusters and adopted management technologies that boosted virtual machine density and availability. Both Lufthansa Systems and its customers benefit from a robust business continuity solution for the virtual environment.

Situation
Lufthansa Systems AG offers not only the full spectrum of IT consulting and services, but also operates one of Europe’s most powerful data centers—in Kelsterbach, Germany, covering 6,800 square meters and housing more than 7,000 computer servers—in addition to data centers in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Singapore. Its parent company is a good customer, as are other major airlines, airports, financial services firms, healthcare systems, publishers, logistics companies, and others. Lufthansa Systems serves them, in part, by hosting Microsoft server applications, third-party commercial applications, such as Siebel, and custom and line-of-business applications.

Hosting this large and growing array of applications is a challenge. Customers want ever-higher levels of availability and reliability. In other words, Lufthansa Systems has to do a better job at data center hosting than its customers could do themselves.

One of the key steps in easing the management load of all that hosting is virtualization. Lufthansa Systems ran about 2,500 instances of the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system on physical hosts using Hyper-V virtualization technology and Microsoft System Center for data center management. Virtualization was a better choice than running a purely physical environment, but it wasn’t enough for Lufthansa Systems to meet increasing demand and customer expectations.

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* Higher availability and faster disaster recovery are the main reasons for us to adopt Windows Server 2012. They lead directly to increased customer satisfaction. *

Bardo Werum
Senior Vice President Infrastructure, Lufthansa Systems AG

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Lufthansa Systems needed further innovations in management technology to avoid the need to continually add IT staff and see capital budgets soar as its environment grew. Management of the virtualized environment needed to become increasingly streamlined, automated, and productive. Yet none of this could come at the expense of the high availability that was crucial to meeting customer expectations.

Solution
Lufthansa Systems is meeting these needs with Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center 2012.

“We were attracted to Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V and System Center 2012 because they promised us increased virtual machine density and a new level of management capabilities,” says Bardo Werum, Senior Vice President Infrastructure at Lufthansa Systems AG. “Those management features were keys for us. They turn a ‘mere’ virtualization environment into a highly effective private cloud.”

After being briefed on the new technologies, Werum and his colleagues were interested not only in adopting them, but in adopting them as early as possible. That led them to participate in the Microsoft Technology Adoption Program and Rapid Deployment Program for Windows Server 2012, designed to accelerate early adoption and production use.

In contrast to the four-node clusters to which Lufthansa Systems was limited by its previous-generation technology, the company is now using clusters of up to 16 nodes each to meet increases in load demand. Lufthansa Systems is hosting its virtual machines mainly on Dell PowerEdge M610 and R710 blade servers with Dell PowerVault MD3220i Direct Attach Storage devices. It plans to migrate to Dell PowerEdge M620 and R720 servers to optimize its use of Windows Server.

“These Dell servers and storage devices are the best we’ve seen for use with Windows Server 2012,” says Werum. “They’re easy to use, from a reliable partner, offer the best price and performance, and, most importantly, are absolutely stable with Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V.”

The company is using System Center 2012 to manage the private cloud environment. For example, it uses the technology to monitor the environment and to give authorized customers the self-service capability to create and configure virtual machines when and as they wish, without having to wait or pay for the time of IT professionals at Lufthansa Systems.

Werum anticipates that the company will expand its use of System Center to help manage hybrid public-private cloud environments that include Windows Azure; and to create data center workflow processes to create, deploy, and monitor virtual machines and other resources.

The company is also using or planning to use management capabilities in Windows Server 2012, including:

  • Shared nothing” live migration. Werum says Lufthansa Systems will use “shared nothing” live migration—a combination of storage live migration and Server Message Block 3.0 (SMB3) remote file storage—to move virtual machines both within and across clusters, even those that share no storage and have only a common gigabit Ethernet connection. It will also use the live migration capability with cluster mode to move entire clusters across physical hosts, between regular and high-availability hosts, and even across data centers.

  • Hyper-V Network Virtualization. Lufthansa Systems uses virtual local area networks to support the multitenancy of several customers on a single host—a sometimes complex and costly solution. The company is interested in using Hyper-V Network Virtualization to isolate customer networks more simply and cost effectively on a single host.

  • Resource Metering and Quality of Service (QoS). Because Lufthansa Systems is increasing the density of virtual machines on its servers, it needs more powerful tools to track each customer’s use of those virtual machines. By using Resource Metering, it can monitor customer consumption and plan for capacity needs more precisely. It can also now specify a minimum bandwidth to support a virtual machine or service to help meet service level agreements.

  • Hyper-V Replica. The company plans to use Hyper-V Replica to replicate its Frankfurt data center virtual environment in its London data center, for the sake of better business continuity.

Benefits
Lufthansa Systems is using Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V to increase virtual machine density, availability, and customer satisfaction.

Boosts Density of Virtual Machines
By adopting Windows Server 2012 with Hyper V, Lufthansa has achieved greater density in the number of virtual machines per physical host.

Because the company can increase cluster size, it can also increase the ratio of active to passive nodes in a cluster. The result: Lufthansa Systems can apply a higher percentage of its virtual machines to production workloads rather than to failover protection, so those virtual machines can support the business more effectively.

“The density increase that we’re seeing is a direct result of new capabilities in Windows Server 2012 combined with Dell hardware that maximizes those capabilities,” says Werum. “We were looking for the next step beyond virtualization, and this is it.”

Increases Availability and Reliability
Werum says that customers will benefit from greater availability and reliability. By using less hardware and managing virtual machines more effectively, the company has seen availability rates increase

“With Windows Server 2012, we can give our customers better service level agreements—that’s good for them and good for us,” Werum says.

Should a business disruption occur, Lufthansa Systems will still be better off than before, thanks to its use of business continuity features such as Hyper-V Replica. Werum anticipates the ability to offer customers new services through Windows Server 2012—such as anytime, one-button testing of virtual machine replication—which will help generate new revenue.

“Higher availability and faster disaster recovery are the main reasons for us to adopt Windows Server 2012,” says Werum. “They lead directly to increased customer satisfaction.”

Windows Server 2012
Windows Server drives many of the world’s largest data centers, empowers small businesses around the world, and delivers value to organizations of all sizes in between. Building on this legacy, Windows Server 2012 redefines the category, delivering hundreds of new features and enhancements that span virtualization, networking, storage, user experience, cloud computing, automation, and more. Simply put, Windows Server 2012 helps you transform your IT operations to reduce costs and deliver a whole new level of business value.

For more information, visit:
www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/windows-server/2012-default.aspx

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 Lufthansa Systems AG products and services, call 49 (0)69 696 90000 or visit the website at:
www.lhsystems.com

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 2800 employees

Organization Profile

Lufthansa Systems AG, based in Kelsterbach near Frankfurt, Germany, provides a comprehensive portfolio of consulting and IT services for select industries and has a leading position in the global aviation industry.


Business Situation

Lufthansa Systems virtualized its hosting environment. But as business continued to grow, it needed ways to make virtualization more effective and reliable.


Solution

The company adopted Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center 2012 as its virtualization environment for customer hosting.


Benefits

  • Boosts density of virtual machines
  • Increases availability and reliability


Hardware
  • Dell PowerEdge M610 and R710 servers
  • Dell PowerVault MD3220i Direct Attach storage devices
  • Dell PowerEdge M620 and R720 servers

Software and Services
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Microsoft System Center 2012
  • Microsoft Consulting Services
  • Datacenter

Vertical Industries
IT Services

Country/Region
Germany

Business Need
Cloud & Server Platform

IT Issue
  • Virtualization
  • Private Cloud

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Microsoft Services

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