Credit checker halves server count with virtualisation

Blades not chosen due to security concerns

Financial services firm Veda Advantage has halved the number of x86 servers with a consolidation and virtualisation project.

Veda Advantage infrastructure manager Ashley Sowter said the 12 month project began at the beginning of the year and is surprised why virtualisation wasn't adopted years ago.

“It does work well and is worth doing,” Sowter said.

So far some 80 servers have been turned off and a data centre in Sydney's CBD has been closed and the company wants to get to a “two data centre model” for DR.

For virtualisation, Veda went with VMWare, which Sowter had experience with in a previous role.

“Virtualisation is not sold as a cost saving, although that was part of it, it's sold more like a general technology refresh,” he said.

“Now all new servers will be virtual unless a physical one is justified. VMware has vastly superior functionality to Hyper-V and we need support that you don't get with a freewware product.”

Veda, formerly known as Baycorp Advantage, provides credit card checking and ID theft mitigation services, and has achieved server consolidation ratios of up to 20 virtual per one physical machine.

“We have about 420 users in Australia and New Zealand and our core systems are SQL Server databases, application servers, e-mail and the core transaction processing runs on the outsourced mainframe,” Sowter said.

The company is a new Dell customer for its x86 server infrastructure, but still has Unix systems from IBM and Sun.

Sowter said the project was approached to “tidy up” the infrastructure and while the initial idea was to outsource it, the cost was too prohibitive.

“My guys are cheaper and better than outsourcers,” he said.

Veda was also going to use blade servers for the consolidation, but went with traditional rack-mounted servers for security reasons.

“Blades are good and the reduction in cabling is appealing, but being in the financial services industry security is paramount,” Sowter said.

Vice president of software and solutions at Dell's enterprise product group Rick Becker said the industry has seen blades do “a number of good things”, but with the advent of virtualisation, their benefits over rack servers is “starting to get fuzzy”.

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