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Posted: 10/22/2013
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Trader Media Group Motoring Website Transforms Data Centre in 10 Days, Ensuring Business Continuity

Online motoring advertisement publisher Trader Media Group (TMG) wanted a new virtualisation platform to improve server builds and business continuity, and cut costs. Microsoft Services deployed Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center 2012 to replace VMware. The cost-effective private cloud solution—deployed in just 10 days—gives the firm greater flexibility and security over its systems.

Business Needs

TMG operates in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland through its flagship brand Auto Trader, which has evolved from a print publication into the UK’s number one online marketplace for buying and selling new and used motor vehicles. TMG is often held as an example of how to successfully transition from print to online publishing.

TMG has two colocation data centres, with systems running primarily from one of those data centres and the other being used as a secondary data centre for disaster recovery. The website services offered by TMG have had the ability to failover or even run concurrently from these two data centres for several years, so TMG wanted to ensure it could do the same for all group systems. There was minimal automation and the firm lacked a comprehensive business continuity strategy for its non–web-hosting systems.

Russell Warman, Head of Infrastructure, Trader Media Group, says: “Server builds were completed largely manually and there was only a small amount of virtualisation. We wanted to build a platform that ensured consolidation, standardisation, and improved server builds by delivering greater consistency while reducing total cost of ownership.”

TMG needed a new virtualisation environment onto which it could migrate its non–web-hosting systems. This would provide the company with greater local resilience and ensure business continuity. TMG also wanted to avoid paying twice for a virtualisation platform, having upgraded its Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for low-cost volume licensing of Microsoft software. Warman says: “After some research, we decided on a Microsoft hypervisor-based virtualisation solution to replace VMware. We saw this as the most cost-effective way to achieve our business objectives.”

Solution

TMG engaged Microsoft Services to deliver expert consultancy. Warman says: Microsoft Services built a comprehensive semi-automated data centre failover plan, ensured self-service with automated service deployments, and provided end-to-end monitoring with detailed capacity planning. A Microsoft Services infrastructure consultant assisted in deploying Hyper-V to help TMG consolidate workloads onto diverse Hyper-V clusters and lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

Warman says: “TMG uses NetApp storage technology for hosting all storage requirements. But VMware misaligned the virtual machine disks, which resulted in slower performance of the virtual machine and increased overheads. Having Hyper-V as the hypervisor has reduced this substantially, with the technology built-in to the Windows Server 2012 release. To ensure that the storage solution was secure and robust, Microsoft Services helped us develop a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. In addition, we valued its consultant’s knowledge transfer and expertise. The consultant led a two-day workshop session for knowledge sharing across our teams. It helped them to gain the expertise to implement a virtualisation solution to be proud of.”

With Microsoft private cloud technology, TMG administrators for the first time had control of all key parts of the system from a single management console. Warman says: “Before, when TMG deployed new hypervisors it would require four teams to do separate parts of work.”

The project consisted of building 23 nodes integrated with the storage and network fabric, creating several clusters, and installing components of System Center 2012, including Virtual Machine Manager, Operations Manager, Orchestrator, Configuration Manager, and App Controller.

Virtual Machine Manager with App Controller helps improve the agility of IT management by allowing role-based self-service access to data-centre resources. Operations Manager provides cost-effective and flexible infrastructure monitoring and capacity planning, while App Controller creates a simple way for data-centre administrators to delegate control of services and virtual machines to service owners.


Warman says: “The work included creating several private clouds and a successful migration from VMware to Hyper-V. The Microsoft Services infrastructure consultant was extremely competent, flexible, and knowledgeable. We greatly appreciated his involvement.”

Benefits

TMG has achieved a lower TCO by replacing VMware with Hyper-V, which comes as part of Windows Server 2012. The solution provides greater business agility and security through the private cloud. Deployment of the infrastructure took just 10 days, with free support from an experienced Microsoft Services infrastructure consultant.

Enterprise Agreement helps to reduce costs. Warman says: “Using this new capacity, TMG plans to decommission infrastructure that’s reached the end of its life cycle and bring our new acquisition’s third-party hosted environment in-house, which is a priority cost-reduction exercise.”

Private cloud provides more robust, secure solution. TMG values the private cloud solution deployed with the assistance of Microsoft Services. Warman says: “The solution, developed in a private cloud, gives us greater information security and more effective control over our systems.”

Hyper-V offers firm greater flexibility. Warman says: “We can freely move and redistribute workloads to prevent performance issues and reduce the complexity of the current environment.”

Microsoft Services provides expertise. TMG benefited from the expertise of its Microsoft Services infrastructure consultant, deploying the solution in just 10 days. He says: “This is a great competitive win for Microsoft because TMG previously used mainly VMware technology.”

Staff benefit from user-friendly dashboard. Thanks to Hyper-V, TMG employees now have a simple, easy-to-use system.

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



Organization Size: 1800 employees

Organization Profile

Trader Media Group, based in Reading in the United Kingdom, is one of Europe’s largest specialist online publishers. It focuses on classified advertisements for motor vehicles in digital formats.


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

Vertical Industries
Publishing

Country/Region
United Kingdom

Languages
English

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