The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has over 18,000 employees stationed in more than 25 countries. Traveling and remote employees often require access to their corporate desktops, applications and data.
“Additionally, our users tend to move locations more frequently than the average corporation user, often working from home or another remote site. It became obvious to IT management that we needed a user virtualization solution that could not only eliminate roaming profiles but also deliver the same personal experience from any accessing device,” said Lee Eilers who is responsible for the virtual desktop environment at CDC.
The CDC turned to AppSense and its user virtualization solution. With AppSense, the user component of a desktop (or the user personality) is decoupled from the operating system and applications, managed independently and applied into a desktop as needed without scripting, group policies or use of roaming profiles.
Many organizations struggle once they hit a certain threshold of virtualization. Many achieve forty, fifty or even sixty percent of servers virtualized and then hit a wall.
Resources for Human Development (RHD), a national non-profit with 4,500 employees, hit the server virtualization wall at sixty percent. RHD realized that in order to go further they would need a new management solution, one that could handle sophisticated multi-tier applications, including payroll and medical billing. RHD didn’t have the confidence required to move forward with its virtualization initiative without real-time metrics.
RHD turned to Xangati and its Infrastructure Performance Management (IPM) solution. Xangati IPM extends the functionality of existing virtualization management suites to continuously track every VM and everything it communicates with, including applications, so that peak activity, instead of averages, can be seen. IPM provides over 150 metrics so that admins can see exactly what a VM is doing at any point in time.
With Xangati in place, RHD pushed ahead and achieved 98 percent virtualization in less than one quarter, largely due to the fact that admins now knew what was going on within their virtual environments.
The biggest benefit of virtualization, the one that has the business side of organizations salivating, is cost savings.
While Seattle Children’s Hospital turned to the Citrix-Wyse solution to improve workflows, the fact that they would also save money certainly helped move the project through various levels of approval. The hospital estimates that it saves $6 million in hardware, $1.2 million in staff time, and about $1 million a year in energy costs.
Virtualization is considered a much “greener” solution than traditional data center architectures, and it often pays for itself in energy savings alone. Insurance giant Conseco partnered with system integrator Logicalis to virtualize as much of its main data center as possible.
To date, the two have accomplished consolidation ratios of 65 virtual machines to one physical host running VMware vSphere 4. Conseco was able to eliminate 20 to 30 physical servers a month during the height of the implementation.
Conseco estimates that this level of consolidation has reduced the need to purchase the equivalent of about $400,000 in new hardware every year. Meanwhile, savings in energy costs alone amount to about $100,000 a year.
And that’s just the beginning. Many organizations will eliminate desktops. Others will have disaster recovery delivered pretty much as a check-mark feature, while others may eliminate office space since remote workers will be every bit as productive as on-site ones.
For now, though, especially in these troubled economic times, cost savings is still virtualization’s greatest strength.