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Expanding Isotrak becomes blade runner

Lindsay Clark
Logistics support firm Isotrak, whose customers include Tesco and Royal Mail, has used blade servers to expand its computing capacity without enlarging its datacentres.

Practical difficulties and environmental regulations made it difficult for Isotrak to expand its datacentres in Milton Keynes and Reading, said Craig Sears-Black, marketing director at Isotrak.

By deploying Dell Poweredge blade servers Isotrak can cram up to 14 times the processing power into the space occupied by alternative server technologies, he said.

Isotrak, an application service provider, supplies its customers with real-time journey and delivery data and guarantees its clients 99.8% uptime.

"If you look at the projected growth of messaging throughput on the server units and the servers we need, then space was becoming a problem. The volume of data and transactions over a completely real-time application is peaky and the demand for message processing is difficult to profile," said Sears-Black.

Isotrak built its own application from the Microsoft .net framework using Microsoft's MSM Q messaging middleware.

It moved away from Oracle five years ago after deciding that Microsoft technology had better support for messaging and that Microsoft offered more favourable licensing terms.

With .net, Isotrak was able to build a load-balancing application on standard Dell-Intel technologies, which coped with peaks in demand and kept costs down, Sears-Black said.

The blade server's standard build also made it easier for IT staff to support and install, he added.

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