Server virtualization helps TBZ ensure 98% uptime

After server virtualization, CPU utilization at the jewelry house shot up from 4% to 70%, while uptime increased from 70% to 98%

One usually does not think of jewelry and server virtualization in the same sentence. But for Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri (TBZ), this highly unusual combination is what eased its business pains and provided major support for its future plans.

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TBZ operates in 15 locations across the country and employs 950 people. Kalpesh Dave, manager, IT, TBZ, says that though the jeweler had plenty of plans to ensure smooth business, "the virtualization of servers was not a planned decision for us, it was an impulsive one. Still, looking back now, I realize that we were facing a lot of problems."

Management of servers was one of the key problems TBZ was facing. The company was running around 35 servers, about 20 of which resided in a primary data center in Mumbai, while the rest were spread across various locations across India. This distributed architecture presented a sizable management challenge to TBZ's IT team which had to ensure that their critical databases and applications met the strict business requirements of availability and performance. Apart from this, the servers were eating in to the power and cooling costs. At this juncture, Network Techlab stepped in and suggested that they go in for server virtualization—a suggestion TBZ readily accepted.

VMware was the only vendor TBZ wanted to go for. Recalls Dave, "Network Techlab suggested we go for VMware, and we ourselves had trust in that name, so we did not even want to look at other players in the space." Thus, it was VMware all along for them.

The 35 servers have now been virtualized on four hosts, and TBZ is using a clustered approach. When it came to selecting the hardware for server virtualization, it selected the Dell Blade server with 64 GB RAM with a dual quad core processor. These servers are attached to EMC and Dell SAN storage. The database being used at the back end is Oracle. Key applications have been put on the virtualized setup. Majorly, all Symantec endpoint servers are running on it, along with a firewall. Apart from that, it is running Oracle ERP. Network Techlab was the implementation partner. The implementation was completed in one and half month without any major hurdle. The VMware solution at work is VMware vSphere 4 featuring VMware ESX 4, High Availability and VMware vCenter Server.

Talking about the benefits, Dave says there are many. First and foremost, its CPU utilization has shot up from a low of 3%- 4% to a high of 70%. "Uptime has become vital for the proper functioning of every business. For us, the server virtualization increased the uptime from a mere 70% to 98%, which is a big deal."

TBZ is now planning to take virtualization to its next logical step, that is, desktop virtualization. Explains Dave: "It is the most logical step for us to take. We are planning to implement desktop virtualization using only VMware. We intend to virtualize around 300 desktops. Beyond that, as we grow, we will think of what more to integrate, but right now I can say that the virtualization of servers is working for us."

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