4-page Case Study - Posted 12/20/2013
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Greater Choice, Lower Cost Give Competitive Edge to Korean IaaS Leader
To stay competitive, leading cloud-infrastructure provider Hostway Korea needed to improve customer choice and lower costs. With a rapid deployment of Windows Server 2012 Datacenter, the firm expanded the range of platforms it could support—including
Linux-based platforms—and gave customers tools to manage them more easily. With new, 64-core virtual machines, Hostway has reduced like-for-like processing costs by 75%, while helping customers scale faster and expand more quickly.
Hostway Korea is a leading cloud-services company, providing infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) on virtualised Windows and Linux platforms. In 2011 the firm became the first company in Korea to offer IaaS on a pay-per-user basis. This service, called FlexCloud,
was based on Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.
Competition and innovation in IaaS are intense: Hostway Korea needs to continually find new ways to help customers use public and private cloud technologies, while keeping costs low. During 2012, rapid scalability became a key customer demand. “We often
see customers who start their business with one or two virtual machines, but they grow so rapidly they need tens or hundreds in no time,” says Lee Dong-ho, Hostway Korea. “However, limits on the computing power and memory available to each guest operating
system meant we struggled to provide a highly-scalable service for fast-growing customers.
Hostway Korea also wanted to ensure customers had maximum choice over the technologies they used on their cloud platforms. While customers could deploy Linux guest systems on the virtualised Windows Server 2008 environment, for example, they had to install
additional integration services.
“The customer demand for emerging technologies–proprietary or open source–is quite high,” says Lee. “We needed to respond to customer requests to rapidly change their system configurations in the cloud, including adapting web platforms for mobile services.
At the same time, we did not want to abandon the investment we had made in Windows skills.”
In early 2012, Lee compared the latest versions of three virtualisation technologies: VMware, Citrix Xen Server, and the updated Microsoft Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 Datacenter.
Windows Server 2012 was a compelling option because it would help Hostway provide a more scalable service at a lower cost. “When we analysed cost-per-virtual machine, it was clear that Hyper-V gave us more computing power for the same amount of physical
hardware, as compared to VMware or Xen,” says Lee.
Windows Server was also attractive because new Hyper-V features increased capacity. “With the newer version, the number of cores Hostway could assign to one virtual machine rose from 4 to 64,” says Lee. “This meant we could configure 8,000 virtual machines
on one physical machine, drastically improving efficiency and scalability.”
“Another benefit is that storage is cheaper with Hyper-V in Windows 2012,” Lee adds. “This is because there is a new a VHDX virtual hard disk format with disk capacity of up to 64 terabytes. The new version also includes licences for guest versions of the
Windows operating system, which increases flexibility for customers.”
Deploying Linux-based systems on a Hostway cloud would also become easier for customers, with integration services drivers built in to Windows Server 2012. Hostway would also be able to support two highly popular open source technologies: Red Hat Enterprise
Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
To make sure Hyper-V could do everything Hostway wanted, Lee participated in the Windows Server 2012 Rapid Deployment Program. This revealed more key features to help Hostway expand customer choice.
“The PowerShell task-automation framework has a more powerful, web-standard management interface,” says Lee. “This means that customer operators don’t need to develop their own workflow and automation tools to simultaneously manage hundreds of servers.”
With its FlexCloud service powered by Windows Server Hyper-V 2012, Hostway can provide customers with greater choice and better service. Costs are lower and clouds are easier to configure for customers.
Greater customer choice
Hostway is now in a better position to help new customers make a swift, uninterrupted transition to the cloud. “The technical capabilities within Windows Server 2012 make it far easier to support Linux and other heterogeneous systems,” says Lee.
“The latest version of Hyper-V really is open to emerging technologies,” he adds. “This is critical, because it helps us satisfy the demand for diversity. Now, most customers can easily use their preferred technologies on a Windows cloud platform. As a result,
customer perception about the Windows platform is very positive.”
Reduced costs, greater competitiveness
Hostway is now able to compete more aggressively. “The number of node clusters we can create from one physical machine has quadrupled, while infrastructure, switching, space and power costs have stayed the same,” says Lee. “As a result, our cost-per-virtual
machine has dropped by three-quarters. With lower costs, we can compete more aggressively on price.”
“With 64-core virtual environments, we can also provide a more responsive service to fast-growing customers who want rapid scalability,” he adds. “In a competitive market, this helps us build our business, and outpace our competitors.”
As the company expands, Lee can be sure he gets the technical assistance he needs. “During the rapid deployment, Microsoft Technical Account Managers gave us exceptional support,” says Lee. “It proved so valuable we signed a Microsoft Premier Support contract,
which means Microsoft engineers will work on-site with our engineers. With world-class Windows Server 2012 experts available twenty-four–seven, we have the assurance we need to build Korea’s premier hosting business.”
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