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Announcing the Journey to Your Cloud Makeover Contest Winner

Last August, VMware and Dell partnered in the Journey to Your Cloud Makeover contest to provide a $100,000 technology makeover to one deserving small or midsized business. Applicants submitted a 2-minute video explaining how they were currently using VMware vSphere, how it had helped them and how they could benefit from further virtualization. After reviewing the numerous great entries, one stood out above the rest. Today we are happy to announce PBS Engineering and Environmental Inc. as the winner of the cloud makeover contest.

Founded in 1982, PBS specializes in capturing and hosting engineering and environmental data, working with schools and large companies such as Intel and Kaiser Permanente. Five years ago, IT Manager Todd Leavitt began virtualizing the PBS data center, which was then a mix of 30 to 35 servers and desktop class PCs.   After virtualizing onto five Dell 64-bit servers with VMware vSphere 3.5,  using all of the extra capacity and also helping to keep the IT room cool, Todd was immediately impressed, “It just ran. It didn’t need to be rebooted. It ran Windows flawlessly.”

Within two years, PBS added additional hardware and was 100% virtualized – even building a new data center running VMware. “There have been times, between VMware and Dell, that I hadn’t rebooted a couple servers for a year,” said Todd. “In 2011 and 2012, we had 99.99% uptime. The only time we maybe had an outage was when our provider took our service down in the middle of the night.”

PBS realized the true value of virtualization when the fire suppression system inadvertently discharged. The entire data center was doused in a greasy, potassium-based fire retardant that ruined the fans and short-circuited the motherboards on much of the hardware. With every piece of equipment failed or failing, VMware High Availability took over, resulting in zero down time.


“Several Dell servers lived through it and stayed up for months before they finally gave out. VMware High Availability ran flawlessly the whole time and kept everything up and running,” said Todd. “I think that the fact we averted disaster is the perfect example of what VMware and Dell can do for a small or medium business, and how easy and cost-effective it is with existing and future equipment to have these major uptimes and complete security.”

As they looked to plan for the future, this experience and the long-term business goals convinced both Todd and PBS CEO Ron Petti they needed to virtualize even further. This keen understanding of the benefits of virtualization stood out to the judges. “What set PBS apart from the rest of the contestants was their clear understanding of how virtualization is transforming their business, and their excitement to deploy the technology they know will propel them to new heights,” said one of the judges.

Prior to the contest, PBS leveraged a legacy approach that was able to service its workloads, but didn’t take full advantage of the vSphere virtualization stack. Now with a 3-2-1 with EqualLogic storage and Dell plugins, both the hardware and virtualization layers are integrated seamlessly. This will ensure that datacenter best practices are consistent – making deployment, management, and monitoring of virtual machines an easier operation. In addition, PBS can take full advantage of the built-in snapshot, replication, and virtual networking capabilities afforded by EqualLogic, which will guarantee protection.

The $100,000 in hardware, software and service will help PBS reach its goals as the business grows. “We have to maintain uptimes, and we have to advertise uptimes for these new, big companies across the country that we hope to do business with and that are going to start using our web-hosting 24/7,” said Todd. The PBS team is excited to build out its existing infrastructure and create an even more robust site recovery management plan. Plus, everyone is equally excited about the smaller environmental footprint that comes with server virtualization.

We congratulate PBS Engineering and Environmental Inc. on its success, and we’re excited to help with the makeover. Be sure to check back often as we follow PBS throughout the makeover process in the “Journal of the Journey” blog series. We also encourage you to learn how VMware products and solutions can help your business solve real-world problems with our free eBook.

Do you have your own story about how virtualization has helped your business? Sound off in the comments below. Interested in learning how virtualization can help you take your business to the next level? Contact a VMware sales representative today at 1-800-964-8559.

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