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Pernod Ricard Pacific

Working with AkurIT, Pernod Ricard Pacific consolidated its server infrastructure to virtual SUSE Linux Enterprise Server environments, and implemented PlateSpin Orchestrate to manage the new virtual infrastructure. A PlateSpin Forge appliance provides a dedicated disaster recovery option for up to 25 virtual servers.

Overview

Pernod Ricard Pacific (PRP), the regional entity of Pernod Ricard in the Pacific region, is a leading wine and spirits company employing over 2,000 people and generating a turnover of approximately AUD $1,2 billion. Influenced by a strong Australian and New Zealand wine heritage, Pernod Ricard Pacific has a dual role: brand owner with responsibility for winemaking, viticulture and marketing of four wine strategic brands and a large portfolio of local brands; distributor in the Pacific region for the entire wines and spirits portfolio of the Group.

Challenge

The new city-center office in Adelaide offered much less space for the data center. In the previous location, an entire office floor had been available, whereas the new location had only 30m2 of space and a maximum power input of 32kW. The company uses several business-critical ERP, business intelligence and CRM solutions, running on both Linux* and Microsoft Windows. These solutions have stringent governance requirements for high availability and disaster recovery, and there is also significant pressure on the IT function to provide test environments at short notice.

"We were facing greater demands from the business, and we needed to consider the constraints on power, space and cooling in the new data center," said Chris Rixon, Governance Manager for Business Information Services at Pernod Ricard Pacific. "We calculated that the additional servers required would push our power requirements to 58kW—almost double what was available."

Solution

Working with its IT services provider, AkurIT, PRP opted to move to a new virtualized infrastructure on IBM BladeCenter hardware, running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with built-in Xen virtualization. The Xen environment hosts guest instances of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Microsoft Windows Server. PRP and AkurIT deployed PlateSpin Orchestrate from Novell to manage the new virtualized infrastructure.

"PlateSpin Orchestrate offered all the functionality we needed, in a mature and cost-effective product," said Rixon. "This data center runs all the systems we depend on to bring in revenue or push out product—so reliability is absolutely vital. With Xen virtualization on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, managed by PlateSpin Orchestrate, we have a compact, flexible, efficient infrastructure that we can rely on."

PlateSpin Orchestrate manages the virtual server resources and controls how they are matched to the available physical computing resources. PRP is introducing policies to automatically move virtual workloads based on business rules. The solution will focus resources on transactional workloads during the day; at night, the transactional servers will automatically shrink, enabling virtual servers running backup and batch processing jobs to use more of the physical resources.

"PlateSpin Orchestrate presents the physical resources as a pool of computing power that we can parcel out as required to suit changing business requirements," said Rixon. "It was extremely difficult in the past to manage all the requests for test environments for the ERP, CRM and BI systems. With PlateSpin Orchestrate, the business users place their own requests, and the software automatically provisions new environments based on the available resources."

To protect business-critical virtual servers, PRP implemented PlateSpin Forge, a hardware appliance that provides out-of-the-box protection for up to 25 physical or virtual server workloads. PRP has set up its PlateSpin Forge to protect 22 virtual servers, and plans to set up automated failover in the event of unplanned downtime.

Results

By migrating existing physical servers to virtual machines on Xen, and provisioning new virtual servers instead of buying new hardware, PRP has eliminated or avoided buying a total of 50 servers. Instead of the projected 58kW, the company is operating all existing and new services inside the 32kW limit imposed by the new data center—and still has room for growth in terms of floorspace, power and cooling.

"The 50 servers that we've dropped or avoided buying represent about 25 percent of the total fleet in Australia: Xen virtualization on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has had a really major positive impact," said Rixon. "This is one of the best decisions we've made in IT: significantly cutting our costs while enabling greater efficiency and flexibility. Availability is also better, because we can temporarily move live services to a different server if we need to perform maintenance."

In addition to reducing hardware acquisition and maintenance costs, PRP has avoided the need to add an estimated two new employees to manage the equivalent physical infrastructure. Moreover, the increased utilization of the hardware resources means that the company can accomplish more useful work within a smaller power envelope—reducing operational costs and cutting the carbon footprint.

"With Xen virtualization on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, we are saving 625 tons of CO2 emissions-equivalent to planting 2,250 trees," said Rixon.

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