Melbourne IT improves services with virtualisation

Saturday, 14 February, 2009

WebCentral — a key brand of leading global domain name and online services provider, Melbourne IT — has deployed virtualisation technology to provide ‘on demand’ services to its customers.

This helps WebCentral enhance the value of its offering to customers, as well as allow the rapid provisioning of new services and improved management of existing services.

The deployment features virtualisation technology from VMware and runs across three of Melbourne IT’s data centres.

The virtual environment relies on a combination of ESX 3.5 and ESXi 3.5 installable servers. The 653 virtual servers in production are hosted on 36 IBM LS41 blade servers and 13 IBM HS21XM blade servers.

After undertaking an initial pilot of virtualisation in 2006, WebCentral now has the capacity to operate 653 virtual machines across 49 blade servers, sitting in four racks.

“We have also displaced a large amount of our physical computer hardware in favour of using VMware virtual infrastructure to manage some of our key IT services and systems,” says Glenn Gore, chief architect at Melbourne IT.

“It quickly became obvious after our initial trials that virtualisation could deliver economies of scale and efficiencies while meeting the higher performance and availability requirements of our larger corporate customers.”

Gore says the deployment has enabled the company to offer higher standards of service, flexibility and availability to its customers.

One of WebCentral’s customers is digital services specialist Hyro Limited. Through their partnership with WebCentral, Hyro Limited has been able to take advantage of the virtualisation technology.

“Like many organisations, we too wanted to tap into the economies of scale and efficiencies that a virtualised solution can deliver,” Michael Hodder, director of alliances at Hyro, says. “WebCentral recently deployed a solution for us in 10 days that could handle two million unique visitors per day.”

WebCentral’s Managed Campaign Services product provides Hyro’s clients with multi-channel, reliable, scalable and flexible solutions for managing online campaigns.

But the virtualisation technology’s benefits go beyond improving WebCentral’s offerings. Gore says: “In addition to the performance and scalability benefits that our clients demand, our virtualisation implementation has also helped us to markedly reduce our energy consumption.”

The technology has eliminated server hardware across WebCentral’s IT network, reduced power and cooling costs and reduced the number of racks required in the data centre by 20, improving space efficiency. The company was able to eliminate 1200 spinning disk drives and removed five tonnes of IT equipment.

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