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Field Memo: PlateSpin Orchestrate Success Story – Tenzing



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June 3, 2009 4:48 pm

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By using PlateSpin® Orchestrate to manage both Microsoft Windows and Linux environments, Tenzing has created a new cloud computing platform for a new market of customers.
About Tenzing

Tenzing is a managed hosting company with an award-winning approach to hosting business-critical Internet applications. A private company with 60+ employees, Tenzing has customer service centers in Kelowna, BC and Toronto, Ontario and datacenters in Canada’s primary NAPs: 151 Front, Toronto and the Harbour Centre, Vancouver.
Challenge

As a managed hosting company, Tenzing manages the complex business requirements of hundreds of different clients. To provide efficient services and support, the company needs to make the best use of its data center resources. Automating workload management across physical and virtual machines would not only increase efficiency and improve performance, but also reduce costs for both Tenzing and its customers.

Many of Tenzing’s clients have both Microsoft Windows and Linux environments and require virtualization technologies that work seamlessly on both platforms. Tenzing needed a single data center management solution that was flexible enough to natively manage all industry-leading hypervisors, including VMware, Xen and Microsoft Hyper-V.
Novell Solution

Tenzing evaluated several workload management solutions including VMware and Citrix, before selecting PlateSpin Orchestrate from Novell to power its new cloud computing platform.

“We needed a workload management solution that is hypervisor agnostic,” said Kelly Beardmore, CTO at Tenzing. “PlateSpin Orchestrate is the only solution we evaluated that does not lock us in to a single virtualization technology, giving us the maximum flexibility to meet the individual needs our diverse customer base. We also found that PlateSpin Orchestrate was very extensible and easy to customize.”

Using PlateSpin Orchestrate, Tenzing can manage client workloads efficiently across physical and virtual machines. The company can effectively leverage all hypervisor technologies, regardless of vendor, and manage everything from a central, unified interface. With a centralized view of its data center, Tenzing can create policies specific to a customer’s business environment. For example, if a customer has a significant outage, policies automatically direct the workload to another machine, with no user disruption.

“We need a flexible policy engine and the ability to set high-level policies for our clients, regardless of the technology underneath,” said Beardmore. “PlateSpin Orchestrate is the brain of our data center and allows us to manage workloads effectively so that everything works in concert. We can tailor policies for hundreds of customers.”

PlateSpin Orchestrate offers high levels of automation, allowing Tenzing to quickly provision new servers using images and predefined templates. Such automation has dramatically improved speed of delivery – the company can now deliver solutions to customers in 15 minutes, a process that used to take up to 24 hours. PlateSpin Orchestrate will also automate the way customers place orders as they will be able to elastically scale their network, storage, and processing resources on-demand through a Web-based portal.

“With PlateSpin Orchestrate, we do the initial install of the operating system and application framework for our customers, then they configure it and we template it,” said Beardmore. “If there is a problem, we have the template ready which greatly reduces our support costs.”

PlateSpin Orchestrate provides Tenzing with the flexibility to balance the right amount of computing resources for each customer. Such flexibility also allows the company to prevent any business disruption in the event of a workload failure. Customers can be confident that they can scale workloads on demand in both their Windows and Linux environments.

“With PlateSpin Orchestrate, we’ve been able to bring a cloud computing platform to the market, which is an important place to be right now,” said Beardmore, “We can be much more flexible than our competitors with the ability to provide native support for Windows and Linux, using any hypervisor technology.”
Results

PlateSpin Orchestrate gives Tenzing a single workload management tool to natively manage Windows, Linux and VMware environments, enabling the company to create a cloud computing platform to reach a new market. The flexibility of the solution allows the company to effectively support the individual needs of its diverse customer base.

Automation has dramatically improved data center efficiency, while reducing man hours by 50 percent. The company can now deliver services to its customers 95 percent faster. Greater efficiency has also reduced capital expenditures per customer deployment by 20 percent, and support costs by 25 percent. With flexible, monthly licensing agreements from Novell, the company can pass along savings to its customers with cost-effective options.

“Without Novell, we would be tied to specific technologies—whether Microsoft, Xen, or VMware—and would be forced to manage each environment separately,” said Beardmore. “PlateSpin Orchestrate gives us a major competitive advantage as we can provide customers with a much more flexible offering as there is no need to require customers to use one solution over another.”

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Enjoy,

The Data Center Enablement Team

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