Kordia pushes virtualisation envelope

Kordia virtualises its Citrix and SQL environments

A four year virtualisation journey is taking network infrastructure company Kordia places many would fear to go.

The company successfully virtualised its Citrix and SQL environments two years ago and is now rolling out trans-Tasman applications, including a new CRM system.

Stephen Beckwith, Kordia’s IS infrastructure manager, says Citrix and SQL are two systems most people advise against virtualising, but he says Kordia has succeeeded in doing so.

“You just have to be careful how you do it,” he says.

Beckwith says operating system kernel limitations mean it would normally not be possible to have more than eight or nine users on a virtualised Citrix server. Using virtualisation, he says, you can “stand up”, say, four servers on a box, giving you 32 users or more.

Around the same time, Kordia rolled out SAP to 800 users trans-Tasman and is now deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM, to go live before the end of the year.

Running SQL over VMware allows Kordia to keep a server running while performing hardware maintenance, he says. Maintenance was one of the major drivers of deploying the technology along with improved speed of deployment.

One key to successful virtualisation is matching it with the right storage environment, Beckwith says. Kordia opted for EMC because it allowed quality of service capabilities, including the ability to allocate I/O resources to particular applications at particular times.

So, for instance, in the evening I/O can be allocated to backup rather than to Exchange, he says.

VMware has also found a home on the desktop, allowing Kordia to run DOS and Win95 microwave dish applications that are pushing 20 years old, Beckwith says.

Beckwith says in the case of the CRM project, virtualisation is cutting costs, through the use of less hardware and boosting deployment time. Servers can be set up in hours rather than having to be bought, shipped and commissioned.

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