IT consolidation move forecast to save Maxol close to US$150,000

16 Feb 2009

The move to virtualisation server technology will save fuel player Maxol Ireland in excess of US$47,000 in electricity costs and US$94,000 in hardware costs, as well as a forecast 80pc reduction in server running costs over the next three years.

Maxol estimates that it will save significant costs using Microsoft’s virtualisation technology for server consolidation. Instead of buying three new servers a year, Maxol won’t have to buy any new servers for four more years. At US$9,400 per server, that’s a saving of US$94,000 in hardware alone.

In addition, there will be an estimated reduction of US$47,000 in energy costs over the next three years. Maxol has not only managed to reduce real-cost savings, but also reduce its carbon footprint, making it a more ‘green’ oil company.

“Companies like Maxol and Nissan, as well as institutions such as University College Cork, are examining the role IT has in today’s challenging economic climate,” said Bill O’Brien, business manager, Server & Tools, Microsoft Ireland.

“As early adopters of virtualisation, these companies are already seeing significant cost savings in hardware and energy, while finding that their IT professionals are better able to use their time, increasing productivity and creating innovative solutions for their organisation, and not spending unproductive time servicing sprawling server rooms,” O’Brien said.

By running multiple virtual machines on fewer physical servers, Microsoft customers are drastically cutting hardware requirements and easing server management.

Stephen McCormack, group IT manager at Maxol, said: “We’re always looking for efficiencies to cut costs and reduce our operational overhead, while providing excellent IT services.”

Maxol used the Windows Server 2008 Enterprise operating system featuring Hyper-V virtualisation technology to consolidate 22 servers to just six servers, an 80pc reduction.

In early 2007, Maxol evaluated the latest virtualisation offerings, which looked interesting but were extremely expensive. Maxol met with Microsoft and learned about the Hyper-V virtualisation technology that is part of Windows Server 2008 operating system.

According to Nicholas Merton, systems administrator at Maxol: “Hyper-V did everything we needed and was far more cost-effective than alternative virtualisation technologies, which cost about US$6,300 more per server than Hyper-V.”

Server utilisation has jumped to 30pc, and server management is easier using Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008. Maxol’s IT staff used to spend 60pc of their time on routine server management tasks. Now, their time can be spent more productively, developing and innovating solutions that will further benefit Maxol and its customers.

The cost of running IT systems has increased as electrical power, cooling and physical space has become constrained. In his 2008 refereed journal article, ‘Worldside electricity used in data centres’, Jonathan Koomey PhD of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stanford University concluded that total data centre power was about 1.5pc of all US electricity use in 2005, with 80pc of that amount going towards powering and cooling servers. 

A separate report by Gartner Inc stated that “the effective use of virtualisation can reduce server energy consumption by up to 82pc and floor space by 85pc.”

By John Kennedy