A number of progressive enterprises are seeing the promise of virtualization delivered, as new technology cuts down the complications and costs of virtualized environments.
Over the past decade, virtualization has effectively transformed the data centre, with IT departments achieving greater resource utilisation, responding more quickly to changes, and supporting private clouds.
The transition has created many new problems regarding cost, complexity, resource constraints and security concerns; but these problems can now be overcome as newer and more sophisticated solutions come into the market.
One success story is NetApp, a manufacturer headquartered in California, U.S. that creates innovative storage and data management solutions for more than 12,000 customers and 87,000 storage platforms worldwide.
As part of NetApp’s commitment to ongoing innovation and quality control, its engineers conduct stress tests on new storage hardware and software products in a test environment, reproducing the conditions in demanding customer environments.
“We test against conditions that meet or exceed extreme performance conditions in enterprise data centres,” says Brad Flanary, manager of Engineering Support Systems for NetApp.
NetApp’s challenge was to deliver on-demand server and storage resources for testing extreme workloads, accelerate test-bed setup and minimise data centre requirements. With an updated virtualization system and platform, NetApp greatly minimised IT resource requirements by reducing 168 management points for servers to just two, deployed 10,000 virtual machines in under an hour and reduced cabling by 78%. Server consolidation also reduced data centre space, power, and cooling costs.
“[The new solution] met our requirements for the shared lab infrastructure because of its high performance, built-in virtualization, and the single point of management for all servers,” adds Flanary. “We estimate that we’ve been able to achieve 100 times the capacity within the same cost structure as the original shared-test environment.”
London, UK financial services firm Winterflood Securities is also starting to see greater efficiency and improved business operations by deploying a new system expected to give them a large competitive edge.
Winterflood's data volumes have increased exponentially since the advent of the 2007 Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) in Europe. With the continued profusion of market data, Winterflood routinely process up to 250 million market data updates a day, leaving a clear need to expand upon its existing data-processing capabilities and maximise business opportunities.
“Our strategy was to research and introduce a platform that allowed for quicker implementation times while providing greater scalability, performance and reliability,” says Philip Yarrow, director of electronic trading for Winterflood.
The results were tighter integration of servers, networks, and storage systems, helping to deliver new improvements in performance and cost efficiency, with capital expenditure predicted to lower as much as 20%, along with a 30% reduction in operational expenditure.
They were also able to decreases risk across the firm’s IT-based operations by making it easier to balance workloads, increase availability, and implement disaster recovery strategies.
Globally recognised as the provider of choice for a number of organisations, Cisco believes there is a large necessity for newer, better solutions to deliver the full benefits of virtualization, with its own new unified solution, which is growing in popularity around the globe.
“Cisco developed Cisco Unified Computing Solution to meet the demands of virtualized environments, which need to excel both today and into the future,” said a Cisco spokesperson.
“We aim to simplify management for rapid deployment of physical and virtual machines, and for the first time equate physical and virtual networking to provide increased visibility, flexibility and control.”
These advancements are enabling providers to deliver on the promise of virtualization, including simplification, cost reduction, enhanced performance of virtualized environments, and heightened flexibility and responsiveness –effectively solving the problems that virtualization can create.