From 12 servers down to 2: UK company thrives on new cloud infrastructure

“When one of our mission-critical servers started failing on a weekly basis, we knew we had to adopt a new approach.” ~ VMware case study.

You know what happens next, right?  In this case, a leading UK farming business elected to use cloud infrastructure from VMware to solve the thorny issue.

“Virtualizing our server estate seemed like a no-brainer. We were keen to make our IT environment fit for the 21st century and build a solid and reliable foundation for new technology, including cloud computing,” said Richard Hanson, Group IT Manager, JSR.

Operating as one of the largest family-owned farming companies in the UK, JSR has a presence in over 13 countries including Russia and China.

As it grew, so did the problems. Established in 1958 it found itself hamstrung by a complex, slow-moving IT infrastructure that included aging servers and endless maintenance issues related to software that was growing outdated and could not be realistically supported.

It had over 12 physical servers aged somewhere between 4 to 13 years of age.

After vetoing Microsoft Hyper-V, which it considered too costly, complex and unsuitable for its size and disposition, it elected to run VMware, which included an impressive set of management tools found under the vSphere utility.

The new infrastructure now consists of 2 physical hosts, on which it runs 14 virtual servers.  The ability to consolidate several physical servers into one, is one of the defining characteristics of cloud computing which is revolutionizing web hosting packages for overburdened IT teams.

“We are now 100 per cent virtualized, including all mission-critical applications, and any new technology we implement must be able to run on VMware, or else we won’t consider it,” said Hanson.

“We were pleasantly surprised to see that when the system was deployed, users experienced no change or disruptions in their IT use and it only took just over three weeks to complete. In the past it would have taken that long just to commission one physical server, let alone completely revamp the entire IT infrastructure!”

The JSR Group expects to save £30,000 over two years as result and an additional £10,000 in energy bills alone for 2012.  They are also pursuing zero downtime and expect £7,000 in annual savings in hardware and maintenance support.


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