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Second in a Series: Following One Company’s VMware-Dell Makeover – Implementing Virtualization, Disaster Recovery and Management Solutions

A few weeks ago, we announced the winner of the $100,000 VMware/Dell Journey to Your Cloud Makeover contest. This is part two in our ongoing series chronicling the IT transformation of our winner, PBS Engineering and Environmental Inc.

Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, PBS specializes in capturing and hosting engineering and environmental data for schools, hospitals and other large companies. From early conversations, it was clear to John Prann, Service Solution Executive at Dell, that preventing data loss was PBS’s highest priority. He explained, “Through our initial discussions, we found that PBS had a very good grasp of the VMware technology. From a professional services standpoint, we had to decide how to fill in some of the gaps and then build an engagement around that.”

While PBS was initially looking at daily data replication for its disaster recovery ­facility in Vancouver, Washington, over the course of the conversation with John, the PBS IT team decided to use vCenter Site Recovery Manager instead, in order to gain the needed benefits of automation and simplicity. Doug Stephenson, Service Solution Executive at Dell, described the differences, “With replication, you have devices at two different locations holding the same data, and if something were to happen at one location, you manually flip some switches to direct users to the other location. With SRM, the replication is tightly integrated into an automated failover plan, which can be tested and verified prior to failover.”

SRM’s high availability and near-zero downtime are also added benefits. Doug continued, “This solution delivers business continuity and high availability. In the past at PBS, something might go wrong while someone was off work. Now, if there was to be an issue with a server, either virtual or even physical, everything would just automatically failover to another box and stay running. So now people can enjoy their time off.”

Creating this seamless disaster protection involves utilizing the combination of the Dell EqualLogic SAN and VMware vSphere with the vCenter Operations Management Suite. Doug explained how EqualLogic brings high availability and added peace of mind to uplift the IT environment and infrastructure at PBS, “All files and virtual server files are stored on the EqualLogic array, so if a virtual server or a physical host fails, those virtual machines will start up on one of the other physical boxes and still know exactly where those files are.”

The vCenter Operations Management Suite adds the ability to view the flow diagram of the entire IT infrastructure from a single screen, so PBS can see what’s happening with its IT operations in multiple locations, and manage all of its virtual servers and resources. From hard drive space to the amount of memory to the number of processors, vCenter Operations Management Suite will allow PBS to monitor its entire infrastructure and provide advanced analytics and capacity management for each datacenter, cluster, host and virtual server as needed.

The other benefit of vCenter Operations Management Suite for PBS is the addition of VMware’s vSphere Enterprise Plus to the disaster recovery facility. Enterprise Plus allows for multiple hosts, as well as high availability and load balancing, providing an integrated infrastructure with vCenter Operations Management. Doug described the advantages, “If a particular server gets much busier and uses a lot more resources than it’s intended to, then the Distributed Resources Scheduler (DRS) will offload that virtual server to another host that is not getting hit as hard. And it does it all automatically, behind the scenes, without anyone having to manually make that move.”

The transformation project timeline includes PBS racking and stacking the new servers and gear at the disaster recovery facility. Then the VMware/Dell team will implement the servers and SANs, and test to confirm the Protection Groups and Recovery Plans  work smoothly and the failover runs properly for SRM. Implementation will be complete by the end of March, so make sure to check back to see how things are progressing.

Are you debating between replication and SRM for your business? Would you like to share your experience with virtualization? Sound off in the comments below. If you’re interested in learning more, contact a VMware sales representative at 1-800-964-8559.


See previous posts in this series:

Announcing the Journey to Your Cloud Makeover Contest Winner

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