Case Study: Server Virtualisation and Consolidation for Software Development Team at Hewlett Packard



Hewlett Packard’s Christchurch-based software-development team needed to consolidate over twenty aging servers to save space and energy use in the data centre, to reduce support and maintenance costs, and to improve the flexibility and responsiveness of their environment for application development.


Work within budgetary constraints to provide a virtual server solution to allow current hardware to be retired. Migrate all existing physical servers to the new solution. Ensure as little disruption to business as possible.


We designed an environment and scoped the solution to utilise two existing physical servers running VMware with a Storage Area Network with enough capacity to replace the processing, memory, and disk space requirements of twenty physical servers. We completed a project plan and required parts listing.

We then installed the maximum amount of RAM, processors, four-port network cards, and two-port fibre channel cards into the existing servers. These servers were then connected to a new HP fibre channel SAN with 8TB of storage capacity. We updated all firmware on servers and then installed VMWare ESX 3.5. VMotion was also enabled to allow instant movement of a running virtual machine from one physical host server to another. Once the servers and SAN were configured, they were installed into racks in the data centre and attached to the existing network through managed switches allowing network teaming.

Initial testing was carried out on temporary virtual servers to confirm performance was as expected. The existing physical servers were then migrated into the virtual environment over three weeks. Up to four servers were moved simultaneously without disruption to the network during this time. Virtualised servers included Redhat Linux, Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008.

When virtualisation was complete, all servers were optimised to run in a virtual environment, and monitoring was conducted for several weeks to resolve and minimise any performance issues. Templates were created for commonly created servers to improve deployment time for future virtual servers.

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