Financial firm pumps up VM density, lowers power consumption

Finance firm Demica increased its number of VMs per unit without increasing its space and energy consumption, with the help of virtualisation consultancy 360IS.

Demica, an asset-based lending company that supports struggling banks and corporations, is making hay in the current climate and needed to rethink its virtualisation strategy to support growth.

The company has a data warehouse hosted in a London data centre that processes business transactions around the world.

The recent boost in clients meant the company needed a better method of provisioning new accounts, in additional to the fact that Demica's server estate was due for renewal.

Prior to 2008, each of Demica's customers had its own dedicated server, which had led to server sprawl. It found help from virtualisation reseller 360IS, which reduced 50 physical servers to two physical servers for production and two for disaster recovery.

Chris McGrory, the technical director at Demica, said the firm previously bought a new kit to match each new client's data requirement.

"Buying kit this way meant the environment never truly matched the reality -- we would have to either oversize or undersize the kit. This worked for us up until a point, but with the recession, business is growing for us. We now take on about one to five clients a year, and each takes several months to provision," he said.

High density of VMs for low power and space
360IS chose a product from Virtual Machine Company as it provided Demica with twice as many VMs for half the size and half the power. According to McGrory, the new implementation has allowed Demica to drop an estimated 10 Amps of power usage -- in 2008, the company used 24 Amps.

"We had dead machines piling up in the corner, as we didn't need them anymore. We saved approximately £1,000 to £2,000 a year for every server we got rid of," he added.

The company also claims to have cut 80% of its operating costs since the installation last year, although declined to break out actual savings both on this and the number of VMs that were achieved per unit of power

Rob Gilson, sales director at 360IS, said the trick to virtualisation success is to work out an effective computing power-to-memory ratio.

"When you add more memory, the price shoots up," he said. "Demica was on the lookout for the right density and memory per platform, but on a budget. The Virtual Machine Company's solution is a home-grown product, which is customised for an even ratio of memory to CPU, so you get better value for money."

Inside the Virtual Machine Company's appliances is a 2U solid state diskless appliance, a Virtual Estate Manager for performance monitoring and capacity planning, and its hypervisor ready for either Citrix XenServer or VMware. Demica is using Citrix XenServer.

Kayleigh Bateman is the site editor for

Read more on Server virtualisation platforms and management