Online bike store Chain Reaction Cycles (CRC) has chosen PC manufacturer Dell to implement its new VMware virtual environment to cut costs and deliver a more stable service to its customers.
The new consolidated environment replaces 18 Microsoft Windows servers and provides additional capacity equivalent to 20 more physical servers.
Paddy Devine, ICT infrastructure manager at CRC, said that new, easily scalable, fast-to-deploy servers were necessary owing to the company's continued growth. He explained that its IT infrastructure was constantly being pushed to the limit.
"If there was a problem with one application on a server, it would require a reboot. This would mean the server would take down three or four other applications as well," he said.
Devine said that the move to a virtual environment meant greater resiliency from a technology standpoint, and therefore greater stability for the end user.
"The virtual environment has a lot of resiliency. You can build up resiliency in a physical server but if that server goes down then the services also go down.
"With VMware, you get to automatically reallocate the number of servers or the number of nodes you have in your virtual estate. So it can switch from one VMware server to another. This means that the user experience is more stable," he said.
Devine added that the virtual environment will also benefit the company through added flexibility and agility.
"If the company has new requirements the hardware means we can deliver a virtual server within minutes. This is instead of going through a third-party provider to purchase a physical server and install it, which would take more time," he said.
Ninety per cent of the migration process from physical to virtual servers took seven months to complete, with the project starting at the end of 2010.
The process was slow because of CRC's initial concerns around moving to a virtual environment, which led to the less critical servers being moved first.
Devine said that the company will never be 100 per cent virtual, however, as its backup servers will remain physical, while some of its application servers are not compatible with the VMware environment and therefore cannot be switched over.
CRC's IT staff received a week's on-the-job training on the new infrastructure from a Dell technician.
CRC said that Dell was chosen to implement the new infrastructure because the two firms already had a successful relationship.