IT Efficiency Levels Soar at Birmingham Airport

London - 22 March 2011

Centralis delivers vSphere 4 and NetApp-based system to improve resilience and increase efficiency.

Birmingham Airport, the UK’s second biggest airport outside of London, has recently completed the virtualisation of its physical server estate as part of an effort to reduce energy consumption, improve performance and resiliency. The upgrade of its server technology was carried out by Centralis, an independent application and desktop delivery specialist, and has allowed the airport to reduce its energy consumption by 40 per cent.

Following an initial assessment, Centralis was able to migrate the airport’s two data centres to the new virtual infrastructure over the course of three months without any interruption to internal SLAs. The solution used by Centralis is based on VMware’s vSphere 4 and NetApp storage, with more than 40 Microsoft Windows servers virtualised and spread across six vSphere ESX hosts, using VMware’s Site Recovery Manager to manage disaster recovery.

“The main business driver behind the project was one of server replacement, but the possibility of replacing a large number of physical servers caused us to look at more modern technology such as server virtualisation,” says Wayne Smith, head of Information Services, Birmingham Airport. “The virtualisation project with Centralis was one of the first major projects we have conducted that has not only significantly improved the way in which IT services are delivered across Birmingham Airport, but which has also benefited the IS department internally.”

“With all the comments around travel disruption and failure by airports to plan, it’s good to work with a customer with such a good grasp of the benefits of business continuity and capacity planning,” said Rob Greenslade, sales and marketing director, Centralis. “Working to improve both the operational capability and the underlying infrastructure has meant establishing a close working relationship with the customer’s team and as many of us use the airport regularly for work and leisure it has been a project we have taken a great deal of pride in.”

“Like any major project, the planning and analysis have been critical to getting things right and methodology and project management have been critical to delivery. The team at Birmingham Airport were clear on the benefits of virtualisation and also the value of a phased approach with clearly defined success criteria. We’re delighted to have played our part in increasing the operational capacity of this very important UK airport” concluded Rob.

The project has provided the airport with an estimated 20 per cent increase in computing capacity, allowing it to comfortably meet its computing needs for the next three years. The scalable nature of the new systems mean that Birmingham Airport will be able to make increasing use of virtualisation and the cloud to ensure its computing resources are able to meet its growing needs.

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