Best of VMworld Europe 2013 User Awards: Winners

The Best of VMworld Europe 2013 User Awards have been announced at a ceremony VMworld Europe in Barcelona. See who made the top spots

Four European IT projects have won the Best of VMworld Europe 2013 user awards, along with one honorable mention, at the VMworld Europe 2013 event in Barcelona.

The judges of the fourth annual Best of VMworld Europe awards assessed the entries and selected the winners based on overall innovation, systems performance improvement, cost reduction, easing the management burden, new use in the marketplace and improved efficiencies and business processes.

The awards, hosted by Computer Weekly and, covered virtualisation and server consolidation, desktop virtualisation, disaster recovery and a private cloud computing project, as well as a best of show winner.

Unveiled at a ceremony at VMworld Europe 2013, the winners are as follows:

Best desktop virtualisation winner: National House-Building Council (entered by Nvidia)

With 1,100 workspaces across the UK and a variety of connection methods, the National House-Building Council’s (NHBC) IT service desk was called upon frequently, which led to the need for a solid, working, virtualised solution.

Phoenix Software integrated Nvidia’s innovative Grid technology so remote users could experience a highly responsive Windows environment and a rich multimedia experience, with fast access to critical applications across the NHBC network.

Productivity increased and users had smooth and easy access from anywhere, on any device. Increasing the performance and user experience helped homeworkers become more efficient and faster at producing quality work. 

A more managed process enabled the IT department to support different user types and departments much more efficiently.

Judges' comments: “This project illustrates that even high-performance workstation computing can be virtualised, in this case by using a GPU.”

Best private cloud winner: Salford City Council (entered by ANS Group)

The council’s review of its old distributive IT infrastructure found a number of security and compliance issues, and discovered that resources were being wasted due to duplicate efforts. 

It selected a private cloud service from ANS Group, which integrated storage, networking and virtualisation products.

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The cloud helped it meet security and compliance requirements, and allowed IT staff to focus on strategic projects rather than mundane IT activities.

But most importantly, the private cloud implementation gave it a next-gen infrastructure which is highly virtualised, robust and able to cope with disaster recovery.

The council has also reduced its energy bill by more than 50% over the past four years by implementing the private cloud.

Judges' comments: “They not only met objectives of overcoming compliance challenges, but improved the IT infrastructure, cut costs, and even managed to support local businesses – extending cloud’s benefits beyond its own use.”

Best virtualisation and server consolidation project winner: Sega Europe

During a server consolidation project, Sega's VMware vSphere environment grew, so backing up virtual machines (VMs) became time-consuming. The legacy backup tool did not have the features it needed to back up 400+ VMs.

Consulting partner System Professional recommended Veeam Backup & Replication. With Veeam, backup speed and reliability improved immensely, saving time because there is no longer a requirement for staff to watch over backups.

Backups completed within the backup window are automatically verified for recoverability, giving peace of mind and more time to focus on datacentre priorities. Savings have been made in backup storage because of Veeam’s built-in deduplication.

Judges' comments: “A really great story of a company that is obviously passionately innovative about its environment, taking action to save countless hours and put them back into making the business more productive.”

Best virtualisation for disaster recovery project winner: Midverk (entered by Veeam) - also winner of the Best of Show award

Midverk’s IT team left the office on the Friday evening with the 70 virtual machines that run 90% of applications in its IT infrastructure fully operational. There was a party going on in another part of the building, but that wasn’t unusual.

At 5am on Saturday morning, the team received a call informing them that the electricity had failed in the datacentre.

When the team arrived, they saw beer and vomit outside the datacentre. Someone from the party had used a restroom on the same floor and ripped out the light, which short-circuited the whole floor. 

When the electricity came on, the uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) were down. One of the storage area network (SAN) arrays that held important software development data was corrupt.

The team downloaded Veeam Backup & Replication with a trial key, installed it quickly, and three hours later the VMware vSphere environment was back up and running.

Judges' comments: “Veeam’s user interface was so straightforward that Midverk didn’t have to read the user guide, which saved precious time during the crisis.”

Honourable mention: Fehmarnbelt Tunnel (entered by DataCore)

This case study outlined support for the forthcoming €5.5bn construction of the 18km underwater tunnel, due for completion in 2021.

The IT team adopted DataCore’s SANsymphony-V and Fusion-io flash memory to speed auto tiering of data and critical applications.

As a result it has ensured high speeds for its critical Microsoft SQL database and mail applications and safeguarded the project’s future growth flexibility to handle increased traffic and avoid hardware supplier lock-in with software-defined storage.

Judges' comments: “A huge project which couldn’t go unrecognised for how it has assured its own future growth and success. The project’s end result will be one hell of a case study.”

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