Virtualization helps PVM improve hardware utilization by 70 percent

by Ayushman Baruah, InformationWeek, April 25, 2011

Server virtualization freed server capacity to support long-term growth, minimized maintenance tasks and enabled resources to be allocated to applications as per requirement

Perfetti Van Melle (PVM) India has been one of the significant beneficiaries of virtualization technologies. PVM India, a leading global producer of candies and gum, is the third-largest confectionery manufacturer in the world.

PVM India operated 18 tower servers across several locations to support eight large sites and 34 smaller sites throughout the country. These servers consumed huge amounts of power and the company’s IT team had to travel extensively to ensure each machine was updated, patched or fixed as the need arose. In addition, this physical infrastructure was not scalable enough to meet the long-term business objectives and consumed valuable real estate. The business also required extensive bandwidth to meet its data replication requirements.

The challenge was to build a cost-effective, dynamic infrastructure to replace distributed physical servers that were expensive and inefficient to manage, consumed large amounts of power, and lacked the scalability to meet
long term goals.

The virtual benefit

In 2007, PVM India opted to deploy virtualization to resolve these issues,
prompted largely by an evaluation of new blade servers. By selecting HP’s

16-blade chassis, the company gave itself the scalability to support future growth.

Thereafter, HP deployed a virtualized infrastructure based on VMware
vSphere4 linked by fiber channel to a storage area network into its primary

data center. The organization is now running 45 virtual machines on eight blade servers, with capacity to add another eight servers in the future. This infrastructure is running a 550-user Microsoft Exchange Server email system, a 250-user Microsoft Office SharePoint Server collaboration system and two business applications.

"By migrating from a distributed architecture to a single site, we have reduced the cost of running our email platform by 60 percent "

- Basant Chaturvedi, Controller IT, PVM India


“Our email and DCMS applications are particularly critical to the business
and we have had no unplanned downtime since we deployed VMware three-and a-half years ago,” said Basant Chaturvedi, Controller IT, PVM India. “By migrating this system from a distributed architecture to a single site where we can manage it more easily, by reducing the number of physical servers and lowering our licensing costs, we have reduced the cost of running our email platform alone by 60 percent.”

How does virtualization impact the storage needs? “PVM India may have
consolidated storage requirements for their servers under external storage
arrays. VMware ensures that when they virtualize these workloads, associated
storage requirements are also reduced. This is done using technologies like
virtual provisioning which is part of the VMware hypervisor. Typically, savings of 30 percent are achieved on the storage front,” said Seema Ambastha, Director-Technology, VMware India.

With virtual server creation just a mouse click away, it increases the chances of server sprawl resulting in wasting of resources like storage and memory. Virtual machine sprawl can be avoided if an organization defines strict controlled deployment policies for the virtual environment, more disciplined provisioning of the resources, optimization and feedback control in virtual environment and controlled change management. In this case, this wasn’t a challenge. “It was controlled with VMware’s suite of management products like VCD, Lab Manager and Configuration Manager (for provisioning), CapIQ (for optimization
and feedback) and ConfigControl (for change management),” said Ambastha.

PVM witnessed significant results post deployment of virtualization. It reduced
power and cooling costs by USD 128,772 per year. The net server  procurement costs were cut by USD 160,000. It achieved a server consolidation ratio of 8:1 and increased hardware resource utilization to 70 percent.

About Author

Ayushman Baruah

Principal Correspondent

Ayushman Baruah is a Principal Correspondent with InformationWeek India and based in Bangalore - the IT capital of India. He reports on emerging technologies such as cloud, mobility, social media and big data and has covered many tech events, conferences and summits both at the national and international level. Driven by his interest, he also closely monitors and writes on IT services which thereby shape and shake market trends. Besides, Ayushman is a firm believer that good journalism is good business.     

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