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Virtual server environment gives University of Winnipeg a reliable application platform

  • 11,000

    students

  • 800

    faculty & staff

  • 400

    courses

The University of Winnipeg is consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 universities in Canada. U of W offers undergraduate degrees in the arts & sciences, business, education, and theology.

highlights
  • Reliable, dynamic virtualized server environment to host the university’s critical business systems
  • Ability to quickly and easily provision new servers for users – in minutes, not weeks
  • Reduced datacentre space, power, and cooling requirements
photo: Virtual server environment gives University of Winnipeg a reliable application platform
Compugen leveraged its virtualization and datacentre design experience to help us create a stable, high-availability server environment for our production applications and critical business processes

David Bell

Director of Technology Infrastructure, University of Winnipeg

Challenge

The U of W IT team was experiencing increasing difficulty managing its server farm, consisting of 70 rack-mounted servers varying in age from five to nine years. Not only did older systems need constant patching and upgrading, but hardware failures were happening more frequently, affecting the overall stability of the environment, and replacement parts were getting more difficult to find. “As machines dribbled off warranty over the course of each year, we faced the unpleasant and time-consuming task of replacing them,” said David Bell, Director of Technology Infrastructure. 

Solution

Together, Compugen and U of W designed a new VMware virtual infrastructure, hosted on the Cisco UCS platform paired with a NetApp SAN, yielding a reliable and dynamic virtualized server environment on which to host the university’s critical business systems. Compugen migrated the first 12 physical servers into VMware virtual machines, while mentoring U of W IT staff so they could virtualize the remaining servers themselves. Four UCS blade servers were used to provision 55 virtual production servers and approximately 35 more virtual servers were configured as ‘clones’ “We engaged Compugen to implement these new technologies properly and integrate them with our storage and backup environment because of their extensive VMware expertise and virtualization project experience and because they were one of the few UCS-certified and experienced Cisco partners in this area,” said Bell.

Results

The joint effort yielded a reliable and dynamic virtualized server environment that enabled the U of W IT team to quickly and easily provision new servers for users in a matter of minutes, instead of weeks, and still have more capacity if needed. In addition, application performance has greatly improved, resolving problems previously experienced with backend systems. “Overall, it has been a very good experience working with Compugen and we were very happy with the results and with Compugen mentoring us to be able to continue the virtualization process on our own,” said Bell.

Partners involved
  • logo: Cisco
  • logo: VMware
  • logo: NetApp