Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), a Xerox subsidiary, is in the highly competitive business of providing hosted services to enterprise customers worldwide. To deliver even better service, the company is moving customers to a mission-critical Microsoft platform that includes Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with Hyper-V virtualization technology and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. The new platform has lowered operational costs, enhanced performance, and increased data availability.Business Needs
Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) is a fully owned subsidiary of Xerox that provides a range of business and IT services and solutions to enterprise customers. The company has offerings as diverse as human resources management, IT outsourcing, document and data management, and accounting. Its global customer base represents virtually every large industry and includes major organizations in the public sector.
||With the Microsoft mission-critical platform, if we have any hardware problems, downtime is almost nonexistent. Using the Microsoft virtualized environment, it’s quick and easy to move data.
Senior PeopleSoft System Administrator
ACS also has created many industry-specific solutions, such as software used by colleges and universities to run their operations, and a solution for trucking firms that allows vehicles to move more quickly through highway weighing stations.
One large business unit within ACS is its Application Management Services division, which runs data centers and manages related mission-critical applications and databases on behalf of large enterprises. Two of the most common solutions operated by Application Management Services are the Oracle offerings JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, an integrated software suite for enterprise resource planning, and PeopleSoft Enterprise, a suite of applications used for an array of functions such as accounting, human resources, and customer relationship management.
To maintain its competitive advantage, ACS is constantly seeking technologies that can help it enhance its service with high performance and availability of applications and data at the lowest possible cost. Beginning in mid-2008, ACS started taking advantage of virtualization technologies that simulate the functionality of hardware but at a fraction of the cost. As virtualization technology matured, ACS started evaluating various products that could provide the performance metrics required for customers’ enterprise needs at the lowest possible price.Solution
In 2009, ACS began implementing a hosted mission-critical platform based on Microsoft products, which include the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise operating system and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise data management software. A key part of this deployment is Hyper-V virtualization technology, a component of Windows Server 2008 R2.
Hyper-V provides ACS with the extensive enterprise functions of Windows Server while delivering the ability to create dynamic virtual data centers. Hyper-V virtualizes the system resources of a physical server, so that ACS can create virtualized environments to run its customers’ applications and data. With the technology, ACS administrators can move a virtual machine from one physical host to another without any interruption of service. Hyper-V also supports up to 64 logical processors in a host processor pool, delivering greater virtual-machine density per physical server while giving more flexibility in assigning CPU resources to specific virtual machines.
ACS started running applications and data on the Microsoft platform for its first customer in late 2009. By mid-2010, the company had six enterprise customers on the new platform. “As we do renewals for our customers, the Microsoft platform with Windows Server, Hyper-V, and SQL Server is the one we are migrating to,” says William Stevenson, Senior PeopleSoft System Administrator for ACS.Benefits
By moving its hosting services to a Microsoft platform, the ACS Application Management Services division is able to run a highly competitive operation. The solution has provided both cost savings and improved performance for ACS and its customers. The Microsoft platform has also delivered greater data availability and a more streamlined IT architecture.
ACS began seeing immediate cost savings after deploying the Microsoft products. The cost savings also benefit ACS customers—one, in fact, cut its hardware expense by 50 percent by moving to the Microsoft platform. “The customer was quoted $375,000 for an IBM System i hardware and operating system combination to support its growing enterprise,” says Paul Shearer, Oracle Practice Team Lead for ACS. “That compared to a cost of less than $180,000 for a Windows Server solution and the cost-effective hardware used to run it.”
ACS corporate operations have benefited from the deployment of the Microsoft platform, particularly with the performance of its JD Edwards software.
The Microsoft platform helps provide enhanced availability for data and applications, a core part of the service level agreements (SLAs) that ACS has with customers. “Uptime is very high with the Microsoft platform,” says Stevenson. He cites one customer that has an SLA guaranteeing 99.999 percent availability. “We converted the customer to a Hyper-V cluster, taking it from 120 physical servers down to 10. Previously, if any boxes went down, the business went down, potentially costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. With the Microsoft mission-critical platform, if we have any hardware problems, downtime is almost nonexistent. Using the Microsoft virtualized environment, it’s quick and easy to move data to wherever it needs to go.” This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.