Server virtualization technology: A pleasant surprise for Godrej

In this case study, Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) shares cost and energy benefits from its server virtualization technology rollout.

With its established products ranging from soaps to hair colors, Godrej is a household name in India, and a leading fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company. Recently, Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) adopted server virtualization architecture to optimize its server usage. Power savings and cost reduction were the prime drivers behind this initiative.

Earlier, GCPL needed 32 servers to manage its operations. With reduction of energy and cooling costs becoming imperative, GCPL evaluated server virtualization software from VMware and Microsoft. “Choosing Hyper-V proved cost effective, as we are Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers. Our enterprise system is on the Microsoft platform, and Hyper-V met our high up-time and other server virtualization software needs,” says Dinesh Chandra Gupta, the deputy. general manager of IT at GCPL.

Target: Server consolidation

According to Gupta, the server virtualization project did not face any roadblocks and the implementation went off smoothly. Hyper-V provided GCPL with the System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008 Beta, which supports smooth P2V and V2V migration.

The sizing of virtual machines was done as per the CPU and RAM requirements of GCPL’s applications. Dell was the implementation partner.  

Server management is outsourced to an HP team governed by a service level agreement. GCPL also received a five-year on-site support agreement for the hardware and operating system.

GCPL now runs eight applications from two physical servers, instead of the eight servers required earlier. These servers are physically located at the GCPL head office in Vikhroli, Mumbai. The non-critical applications that run on GCPL’s virtualized servers are listed below:

  • Antivirus software – McAfee
  • IT helpdesk application
  • Patch management application - Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)
  • BlackBerry Enterprise Server
  • File transfer protocol (FTP) server
  • Project server
  • File server

Gains all the way

Two key benefits derived from server virtualization architecture were reduced costs and lower power consumption. The table below contrasts the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the old and new systems.



New server

(Dell PowerEdge 2990, 8 GB RAM)

Previous server

(DL 380 G5  2 GHz , 2 GB RAM )

Hardware cost - Virtualization and average manufacturing cost (Five year server  refresh policy) Rs. 71680 Rs. 80000
Implementation of Hyper-V virtualization software / services cost(inclusive of  taxes) Rs. 66180 0
License cost of SCVMM Rs. 100000 0
Operating system licenses Reused (Each windows 2008 server supports four virtual machines at no added cost) Rs. 296000
Final  price Rs. 237860 Rs. 376000
Difference   Rs. 138140
TCO in immediate term reduced  by   36.74%


Power savings mode

GCPL’s new servers need approximately 1200 watts of power per hour, as against 4800 watts per hour for the eight old servers. Power consumption is now one-fourth of what it used to be, before introduction of server virtualization technology.

Better server utilization also leads to power savings. “We deployed the applications such that total server utilization is between 60 and 70%. Overall, this initiative helped reduce costs by lowering power and cooling requirements,” says Gupta.

Other benefits from server virtualization software

  • Utilization of human and server resources has increased from 5% to 50%. With server virtualization software, the number of servers in use has gone down — so has the number of agents managing these servers.
  • Rapid provisioning of servers for new projects/applications is possible with server virtualization architecture. Earlier, it took GCPL three weeks to place the order, get the servers, and set them up. Now it takes only minutes.
  • Redundancy within the system has been ensured by setting aside hot swap drives with redundant array of independent disks (RAID) and a raid progression system (RPS), which give maximum uptime and business continuities.
  • A reliable and modularly-scalable solution has been achieved, in which virtual and physical resources can be altered on demand, along with better server provisioning. “Earlier, if we required, say, test servers with 2GB RAM and a 150 GB hard disk, we had to first seek approval. Now the administrator can allocate CPU and server space on the fly within minutes,” says Gupta.

Next stop

According to Gupta, GCPL has plans to virtualize critical applications such as SAP, intranet applications, and email. “We are strongly considering server consolidation, before taking virtualization technology to critical applications,” he says.


Read more on Server virtualisation platforms and management