VMware Finds Home on Campus in Disaster Recovery Planning

Three colleges--Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME; Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; and Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom--have gone public with their use of virtualization software from VMware to manage growth and prepare for disaster recovery.

Bowdoin has partnered with Loyola Marymount U to build a co-located datacenter for cross-country disaster recovery. Together, the schools have achieved higher availability, better load balancing, and enhanced fault tolerance with more than 70 percent of their environment virtualized. In a statement they said they're saving $15,000 in annual server maintenance and have avoided $500,000 in hardware costs. They're running 100 virtual machines.

"If you are using VMware technology in production, you are two-thirds of the way to a robust disaster-recovery plan before you even begin to design it," said Tim Antonowicz, senior systems engineer at Bowdoin. "You get portable servers with flexible hardware requirements and ease of management. Capabilities in VMware Infrastructure 3, like Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and High Availability (HA), for instance, let you take advantage of resource pools and dynamically move virtual machines as needs change. Bowdoin has a VMware-first policy for any new system--not only because of the disaster-recovery benefits of VMware virtualization, but also because of the other cost savings and efficiencies that VMware software enables."

Sheffield Hallam, with 31,000 students and staff, has an ambitious growth strategy, which includes capital investment of £140 million during the next decade. The school has multi-national companies, government agencies and local businesses as partners or clients for its research. The university required a number of new IT services to support its community of users, which led to a doubling of servers over the course of a year in the school's data center.

"With the server farm growing towards capacity, we knew a completely new strategy was required and that moving to a virtual infrastructure would be the most effective solution," said Dave Thornley, IT service support manager. "During the testing process, the VMware technology proved itself time and time again and is revolutionizing the way we deliver services. To date, we have created 170 virtual machines. We've saved £350,000 thus far, including £43,000 on power bills alone. We're more flexible and responsive in the delivery of IT services. We've created a full business continuity and disaster recovery program based on VMware. And, we're reducing CO2 emissions by 269 tons each year."

VMware said that 900 universities and colleges have VMware deployments, including Harvard and Ohio State University.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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