Publiceret: 6/16/2010
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Aena Spanish Airport Authority Reduces Server Estate and Power Use with Virtualisation

Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea (Aena) saw its data centres running out of space and energy bills increasing as the business developed. It wanted to virtualise its Windows Server environments and find an easy-to-manage, cost-effective solution for maximising availability. To show how it could achieve its goals, Microsoft and HP helped Aena create a solution based on Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and HP StorageWorks Cluster Extension XP Software for one of its environments. The pilot infrastructure consolidated servers and reduced power consumption—it was also easy to manage and could return services to normal in seconds in the event of an outage.

Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea (Aena) manages Spain’s 47 airports and is responsible for air traffic control. It also helps administer 27 airports in countries outside Spain—making it one of the world’s leading airport management companies. In recent
* We looked at a number of solutions, but Hyper-V provided the greatest value. *

Dr. Rubén Héctor Pinilla,
Data Centre and Server Manager, Barcelona Airport, Aena

times, Aena has faced a more challenging business climate due to a slowdown in the world economy and concerns about the environmental impact of air travel. Its response has been to increase performance and promote greater sustainability through measures such as more efficient air routes and energy-saving buildings.

Aena airports and traffic control facilities are a complex network of computer systems, which help manage everything from directing flights to baggage handling. The environment running the Windows Server operating system on HP hardware is one of the most important infrastructures behind the company’s day-to-day administration. Prompted by the drive for greater efficiency, the organisation reviewed the infrastructures and found that they were out-growing the data centres. It also saw that the servers were consuming increasing amounts of power, which conflicted with the company’s drive for greater sustainability.

Furthermore, it became clear that there was a need for an easy-to-manage, cost-effective solution to maximise the availability of the environments. Larger airports had secondary data centres, which replicated data from the main sites to ensure disaster recovery. Many of these were also part of metropolitan area networks, so they could provide failover facilities to each other in the event of service availability issues. However, these architectures weren’t financially viable enough for the smaller airports, and they often depended on solutions that relied heavily on manual intervention.

Aena wanted to reduce the number of servers, lower power consumption, and create a reference architecture for high availability. It asked Microsoft and HP to put forward a solution and they returned with a proposal that featured Hyper-V virtualisation technology and HP StorageWorks Cluster Extension XP Software. The Microsoft and HP technology helped Aena cut the number of physical hosts and ensured that the virtualised applications retained high uptime.

Microsoft, working with HP, helped Aena build a pilot infrastructure for a pre-production environment comprising two domains at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport. Apart from Hyper-V and HP Cluster Extension, it also featured Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2.

Dr. Rubén Héctor Pinilla, Data Centre and Server Manager for Barcelona Airport at Aena, says: “The first phase involved consolidating the number of physical hosts by virtualising servers.” At this point, the physical machines shared across the two domains were clustered for high availability using the failover clustering services in Windows Server 2008. System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 was also implemented, so IT personnel could migrate virtual machines easily between hosts and dynamically allocate storage.

Next, HP helped Aena to cluster the HP storage arrays at the domains—which were two kilometres apart—using HP StorageWorks Cluster Extension and fibre channel connections. It also implemented fully redundant switches to help Aena replicate stored data between the two sites in real time.

According to Dr. Juan Carlos Sanz de León, Microsoft Architecture and Planning Advisor at Aena, it was simple to virtualise the physical servers. He says: “Using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, it took no more than a couple of hours to convert a physical machine to a virtual machine.”

* The Microsoft solution has proved to be the best available in terms of price and performance. *

José Ramón Padilla,
IT Manager,

Héctor Pinilla says: “The pilot programme went smoothly because Microsoft and HP were quick to resolve any minor challenges that occurred.”

Aena can now consolidate servers and reduce power consumption across its Windows Server environments by replicating the same virtualised architecture at airports throughout Spain. Likewise, it has gained a single solution with which to maximise availability at airports, regardless of their size. The successful pilot programme also demonstrated the efficient collaboration between Microsoft and HP, and the tight integration between their solutions.
  • Consolidated Servers Reduce Power Consumption
    Aena can significantly reduce the number of servers in airport data centres to save space by virtualising its Microsoft environments with Hyper-V. The infrastructure set up for the pilot programme cut 16 physical machines from the existing environments, and, with fewer servers to power, Aena will be able to make its operations more environmentally friendly.
  • Cost-Effective Infrastructure Delivers Maximum Availability
    Hyper-V offered a more financially viable virtualisation solution than other technologies such as VMware because it came as part of the Windows Server 2008 operating system. Héctor Pinilla says: “We looked at a number of solutions, but Hyper-V provided the greatest value.” The pilot architecture also showed that it could quickly recover from an outage. “During tests, the infrastructure restored data in around 20 seconds,” comments Héctor Pinilla.
  • IT Maximises Performance with Simplified Management
    With System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, IT personnel gained a simple-to-use management solution to maximise the performance of its virtualised environment. Administrators can easily create new virtual machines using the Virtual Machine Manager library, and then fine tune the servers’ performance with the Intelligent Placement feature.
  • Aena Gains a Reference IT Architecture for Spanish Airports
    The organisation has developed an infrastructure that it can use to virtualise servers at other airports. In addition, Aena has established a solution to maximise availability that it can roll out across its operations. It expects to virtualise servers in the main administration environment at El Prat Airport and roll out the solution to other Spanish airports in the future. José Ramón Padilla, IT Manager from Indra working on behalf of the Aena Windows department, says: “We plan to virtualise servers in this way in Malaga, and afterwards possibly in Tenerife, Mallorca, and Alicante. The Microsoft solution has proved to be the best available in terms of price and performance.”

    Sanz de León says: “With a single provider for both the operating system and virtualisation technology, we gain a better level of technical support.”
  • Great Support from Microsoft and HP Ensures Success
    According to Ramón Padilla, the cooperation between Microsoft and HP was key to the success of the pilot infrastructure. He says: “It was clear from day one that we had the support of Microsoft and HP.” The project was delivered on time thanks to the collaboration between both parties. It also gave an important insight into the advantages of combining Microsoft and HP solutions.
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This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
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Organisations størrelse
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Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea (Aena) is responsible for air traffic control in Spain and manages the country’s 47 airports.


The organisation wanted to reduce server numbers and power consumption in its data centres and find a cost-effective solution for maximising availability.


With support from Microsoft and HP, it successfully created a high availability, virtualised infrastructure to deploy at all of its data centres.


  • Reduced servers and power use
  • High availability across systems
  • Simplified management for IT
  • Model architecture for all Spanish airports
  • Excellent collaboration between Microsoft and HP

Software & Services
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft Services
  • Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Services
  • Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2
  • ITAP Advisor
  • Microsoft Hyper-V



  • Cloud & Server Platform
  • Cost Containment
  • Environmental Sustainability