Palo Alto-based VMware Inc. announced this week that the Interior Health Authority (IHA) of British Columbia has standardized on VMware’s virtualization and management suite VMware Infrastructure 3 to improve manageability and performance of mission critical applications, and dramatically cut costs for the western Canadian government agency. Savings from consolidation and power and cooling costs are estimated to be in the millions over the long term.
IHA provides healthcare services to 750,000-pooohlus residents of British Columbia through a network of 183 hospitals and offices across the southeastern portion of the province.
IHA found itself adding an astounding 10 physical servers each week to keep pace with business demands over the past few years and the space requirements and costs made that pace unsustainable. IHA brought in VMware to gain control over its IT environment by reversing the physical server sprawl and providing a more efficient way to manage critical applications and data stores, VMware reported.
Kris Jmaeff, information system security specialist, IHA, stated in the release, “We wanted to get handle on our hardware requirements and, just as importantly, we wanted an application environment that could scale reliably…Over the long run, it should deliver millions in cost savings by slashing server procurement dramatically.”
By substituting VMware virtual machines (VM) for physical servers, IHA will avoid purchasing another 200 physical servers. The health authority is now running about 250 VMs in two datacenters that are fully redundant for disaster recovery, and all the VMs are managed centrally via VMware VirtualCenter.
About 95% of the virtualized applications are Windows-based, including Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server. They also virtualize Oracle databases and various custom applications for billing, scheduling and patient care.
The side effect of IHA virtualizing is that the organization is greener; the amount of power required to run and cool IHA’s data centers has been cut by nearly 85% using virtualization. Not only does this reduce carbon emissions by millions of tons, it has generated an annual power savings of over $70,000 for IHA, according to VMware.
Jmaeff said in the statement that IHA looked at other virtualization platforms, including Microsoft Hyper-V before choosing VMware. “VMware[s] platform could provide simplified and centralized management for all our VMs as well as the high availability, automation, and performance that we needed. And our decision has paid off with massive savings and big advances in IT resiliency. Now that we’ve abstracted the applications from the commodity hardware, we can relocate a VM in seconds if a box breaks. Users aren’t impacted. That’s invaluable in a healthcare environment.”
It’s obvious that VMware publicizes use cases like these, from hospitals where sensitive citizen data is kept and life saving technology is used, to dispell fears about virtualization performance and security. I think by now, in 2008, doubts about the performance of virtualization have been put to rest, though it seems security concerns still exist.