Middle East Pakistan Warid Telecom International
Mobile Phone Operator Expands Mailbox to 10 Gigabytes with System Upgrade
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Pakistan


Business Needs

The Pakistan division of Warid Telecom International, based in Lahore with regional centers in Islamabad and Karachi, was launched in 2005. Since then the company's customer base has grown from 2.5 million to 18 million subscribers in 450 cities. As Warid Telecom grew, it looked for ways to streamline its IT infrastructure and to take better care of the environment and its customers.

In 2007, Warid Telecom started a "green" initiative that focused on its call centers. Six hundred of its 2,200 employees across Pakistan work in call centers located in Lahore and Karachi. The company knew that those numbers would only increase and wanted to minimize the impact on the environment.

"We expect a 20 percent drop in our annual capital expenditure and a 62 percent drop in operating expenses by cutting power, support, and hardware costs with our Hyper-V solution."

The company began its green initiative with small steps - switching off unused PCs and conserving paper. It then decided to stop buying workstations. Instead, Warid Telecom planned to use virtual desktops that would run on thin-client devices. The company wanted not only to improve energy efficiency, but also to ease management and improve availability. "Uptime is one of our biggest concerns, especially for our agents," says Javed Mushtaq, Chief Information Officer at Warid Telecom. "Server downtime can mean a lost opportunity to make a sale or provide service."

Solution

Warid Telecom began evaluating virtualization solutions from leading vendors. The company ultimately chose the Windows Server® 2008 operating system because it believed that the software's Hyper-V™ virtualization technology would be easier to manage and less costly to deploy.

When it learned that Windows Server 2008 R2 would be available, the company decided to become an early adopter to take advantage of new features such as Live Migration in Hyper-V and Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) in failover clustering. Warid Telecom could use Live Migration to move virtual servers and desktops between physical hosts without taking applications offline. CSV would improve fault tolerance and simplify storage management because multiple nodes in a failover cluster would be able to access the same logical unit number or disk on a storage area network.

The company conducted a proof of concept with Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and Hyper-V in March and April 2009. IT firms KalSoft and Jaffer Business Systems - each of which is a Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner in Pakistan - helped with software migration and hardware installation. In May, Warid Telecom started to implement the Hyper-V solution in a production environment on HP ProLiant DL580 G5 server computers. The servers include six-core Intel Xeon 7400 series processors and built-in Integrated Lights-Out 2 technology for remote management capabilities.

Warid Telecom also deployed virtual desktops by using Remote Desktop Services - formerly known as Terminal Services - and the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure delivery model in Windows Server 2008 R2. The virtual desktops deliver the Windows® XP Professional operating system, line-of-business applications, and Microsoft Office programs to 130 HP t5145 thin-client devices. Warid Telecom expects to replace 500 workstations with virtual desktops and thin-client devices by January 2010. The virtual desktops will run on server farms in the Lahore data center. "Purchasing the HP servers to use with Windows Server 2008 R2 meant easier management, fewer pieces of hardware to worry about, and less money spent," says Akram Saleemi, Senior Manager IT - eServices at Warid Telecom. "It was a pretty easy case to make."

Warid Telecom is using tools such as Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 to manage its virtual desktop infrastructure. It also uses the Live Migration feature to migrate virtual desktops between physical servers when it needs to perform maintenance. Next, the company plans to virtualize and consolidate its entire Windows Server–based infrastructure on Windows Server 2008 R2 by 2010. It will also upgrade its client operating systems to Windows 7.

Benefits

By deploying virtual desktops with Windows Server 2008 R2, Warid Telecom is realizing benefits such as improved availability, easier management, and reduced energy consumption and costs.

  • Improves uptime.Warid Telecom reports near-continuous uptime with its new solution. The company attributes the improvement to its high-availability failover cluster and to better desktop management. "We have had no downtime since deploying Windows Server 2008 R2," says Saad Moten, Manager IT - e-Services (Infrastructure) at Warid Telecom. "We have 99.9 percent uptime and optimal application performance as well. "
  • Cuts support time by 40 percent.In the past, Warid Telecom help-desk staff invested many hours maintaining workstations to ensure availability. But that has changed now that client desktops run on Hyper-V. "By centrally managing our Windows Server 2008 R2 virtual desktop infrastructure, we have reduced our support time by 40 percent," Mushtaq says. Saquib Ahmed, Administrator of VDI at Warid Telecom, adds, "As an administrator, I can do twice as many maintenance tasks from a single console without touching a client system or interrupting users."
  • Reduces power consumption by 80 percent. In addition to improving administration, the company is using Windows Server 2008 R2 with HP thin-client devices to succeed with its green initiative. "We will improve energy efficiency significantly by running virtual desktops on Hyper-V," says Moten. "We expect our virtual desktop infrastructure to use about 20 percent of the power consumed by workstations."
  • Reduces yearly operating expenses by 62 percent. Warid Telecom expects to recoup its investment within 18 months. "We will save $75,000 by eliminating workstations, and we anticipate other costs to decrease, too," says Mushtaq. "We expect a 20 percent drop in our annual capital expenditure and a 62 percent drop in operating expenses by cutting power, support, and hardware costs with our Hyper-V solution."

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 other Microsoft customer successes, please visit:
www.microsoft.com/WindowsServer2008R2

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

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft Pakistan opened its offices in 1999 with over 200 partners all over the country.MS Lebanon is Part of the NEPA subsidiary which comprises Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Pakistan, Tunisia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and the Palestinian authority. As the use of software and technology increases with the number of Lebanese companies and individuals depending on IT as part of their everyday life, the company is poised to thrive even more over the coming years.

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Microsoft Pakistan's Web site is: www.microsoft.com/pakistan

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