Kevin Dickens supervises the Platforms Planning, Testing and Integration department at Administaff.Dickens
applies an Administaff
philosophy of "Dream it, Develop it, Deliver it.""We find new technologies for the company, test them against our current business model to see if they fit, and if they're successful, we manage deployment," he
... -- Kevin Dickens, Platforms Supervisor, Administaff
When the number of Intel-architecture servers housed in the corporate offices started to outgrow the available space, Dickens
and team were tasked with creating a plan to consolidate resources.The first obvious target was a new project to upgrade the company's portal Web site."We support a large non-production environment for deploying new technology and updating code," says Dickens
."For every production environment, we need four pre-production machines: a lab server, a development server, a test server, and a staging server.We thought there would be immediate benefit if we could consolidate the non-production environment for our planned Portal rollout."
ESX Server Brings Immediate Relief at Lower CostDickens
ran a cost comparison of physical machines vs. virtual machines and determined there would be an immediate savings of $70,000 on hardware and maintenance costs by purchasing only four physical servers instead of sixteen.After their success using ESX Server on this project, the team has gone on to deploy VMware software in several other capacities, including various Web server environments and a production rollout of Citrix MetaFrame XPe hosting Administaff
's core application "Administaff Information Management System." Administaff
has realized a number benefits by using VMware ESX Server, including:
Increased server utilization: "The typical Intel server is too powerful for single applications, it's too underutilized," says Dickens
After successfully deploying the first four HP Proliant DL360 G3 servers with ESX Server licenses, Dickens
and the team began to look for other projects that could benefit from the use of virtualization technology.
"We've standardized on the HP Proliant DL360 and DL380 G3 servers, which allows us to deploy faster and manage the infrastructure easier," says Dickens
"We're also using VMware Workstation," says Dickens
."We have a group that's responsible for testing our client worksite employee Web site.We have to guarantee it will work with every client OS from Windows 95 to Windows XP, and with several different Netscape and Internet Explorer browser versions."The group tests the performance of some 40 different combinations of operating systems and browsers using virtual machine images downloaded from a server that houses such images for the testers' workstations.
"For new application and physical server deployments, we always look first at whether we can we put it on a virtual machine," says Dickens