New Charter Housing Trust Group has transformed its technology infrastructure by moving from numerous physical servers to just a few virtual servers.
New Charter’s decision to virtualise its infrastructure was prompted by the need to upgrade its ageing servers, many of of which dated from 2000 following a stock transfer from Tameside Council in Manchester. Critical data was spread over many systems while data management and backup took up too much staff time, and disaster recovery was only available for specific business-critical systems.
John Westwood, IS infrastructure manager, New Charter, said, “We felt virtualisation promised dramatic consolidation of server hardware while providing a flexible response to varying workloads.”
After a tendering process, a partnership of Softcat and Hewlett Packard was chosen. New Charter’s IT infrastructure has now been transformed from 32 physical servers with limited business continuity capability to a manageable array of nine VMware servers which easily support up to 70 per cent of the server infrastructure.
The set-up consists of 22 virtual servers running on five physical VMware servers connected to the HP EVA 4000 system. An HP StorageWorks tape library is used for data backup. This is copied at a separate DR site using four physical VMware servers and an older HP system from New Charter’s existing hardware.
John Westwood said, “Virtualisation gave us a low-risk, incremental approach to migrating services. Installing the new hardware was done with no lost working time, and I’m sure most of our 780 employees and 25,000 customers had no idea that we had upgraded.”