Adelaide’s City of West Torrens goes virtual

Staff Writer on
Adelaide’s City of West Torrens goes virtual

Australian IT architecture design and integration company, Technical Architecture Solutions (TAS), is in talks with Adelaide’s City of West Torrens to work on virtual desktops for the council.

TAS completed a virtualised server environment for the council in January this year.

Tony Wilkinson, sales consultant at TAS said after winding down the virtual server project for City of West Torrens over Christmas 2007 and January 2008, TAS would also look at making further improvements relating to environmental impact in the next couple of months and work on virtual desktops for the council.

“Back in November 2007 TAS was contracted to plan and implement a virtualised server environment. TAS formulated a two-stage plan that included virtualising a number of servers then replicating these to a second physical site to provide full disaster recovery capabilities. In all, 24 of the 26 physical servers would be virtualised and consolidated on three or four physical servers,” he said.

Within a month, Council and TAS converted 15 physical servers into virtual machines, running on top of the VMware ESX Server hypervisor on four IBM X3650 servers, each with two dual-core 3GHz CPUs and 16GB of RAM. PlateSpin PowerRecon was used during capacity planning, while VMware Converter and PlateSpin PowerConvert facilitated the virtualisation of Council’s application environment by converting existing servers into virtual server images, said Wilkinson.

“Virtualising the data centre environment freed up 24 physical servers, some of which have been reused to construct the disaster recovery capability,” he said. “To ensure continuous availability, virtual machines can be mirrored daily between the primary and backup data centres over a dedicated fibre-optic connection. Council’s application environment can be switched easily to the redundant site or to any other third-party facility capable of receiving the virtual machine files.”

According the Council’s manager information services, Chris James, rather than build disaster recovery over its old server environment, it made sense to virtualise and then develop disaster recovery over its Virtual Centre. The need to upgrade the council’s disaster plan was prompted when fire devastated a neighbouring council office.

“It’s a lot smaller footprint; deploying new servers is now a drag-and-drop exercise, entire virtual machines can be backed up, and restoring systems can happen in minutes rather than days or weeks,” James said.
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