Landowner Pacs more in with virtualisation

Better utilisation ends server sprawl, power and cooling costs.

NSW property development company PacLib Group has saved thousands in data centre costs by cutting its 16 servers down to three and deploying virtualisation.

The company is one of the largest in NSW, and provides contract planning, project management, construction and storage services to clients including Myers, Bing Lee and Fantastic Furniture. It employs more than 140 staff and handles some of the state's biggest civil works, including the North West Transport hub in Sydney which will require 80 additional vehicles to remove some 600 million cubic metres of dirt over four years.

PacLib Group IT manager David Furey oversees all IT and telco services including a mixed fleet of Windows XP desktops, laptops, thin clients and some 70 Windows Mobile devices. He is also responsible for temporary construction sites that are outfitted with IT gear, which can require maintenance for as little as a few months to up to 10 years.

Furey took the opportunity to update its server infrastructure and network gear during an office move late last year.

“We introduced [Microsoft] Hyper-V, consolidated the servers, rolled out [Microsoft] Exchange Server 2008 and did storage all at the same time because it made sense to get it done together,” Furey said.

“The aim of the project was to consolidate our severs, reduce maintenance and speed up configuration, but we found a lot of green benefits since we eliminated a rack, and are saving significant money in heating, cooling and smaller fees imposed on IT for floor space.

“At the same time, if we didn't have our systems in order and one server goes down, we would lose seven [virtual] machines – but we have lifted utilisation from 5 or 10 percent to above 60 percent,” he said.

He said the additional 'green' benefits — which save the equivalent CO2 emissions of eight cars — outweigh those stated in the business case “without including the time saved by my staff and the ease of use in a centralised system”.

Dell estimated the company would save $6000 a year in power costs. “We didn't go out looking for green benefits, but any financial controller would like to save money any way they can.”

Some 16 core application servers were moved into a Dell PowerEdge 2950 and 1950 server, each running Exchange Server 2008 and Hyper-V, and a 4TB EqualLogic PS5000X iSCSI storage array was introduced for high availability storage and VM backups to tape.

Furey tested the EqualLogic box for about a month before it was installed and joined the Microsoft Hyper-V beta program after it was deployed across the servers.

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