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VMware's Virtualization Helps World's Top Universities Cut Costs and Go Green

Leading Universities Rely on VMware to Reduce Costs and Carbon Emissions, Improve Application Availability and Performance

VMware announced that the top universities from the Times-QS World University Rankings have deployed VMware virtualization solutions to reduce capital and operating costs, increase application and system uptime, decrease power consumption and improve disaster preparedness.

Harvard, which is number one on the list of 100, and Cambridge, which is tied for the second spot, head the list of prestigious schools that have deployed VMware solutions.  Other renowned universities from the Times-QS list that are VMware customers include Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Purdue, the University of Maryland, the University of Auckland, and the University of California campuses at Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego. These schools and hundreds more around the world are running mission-critical enterprise applications, database systems, and education-specific solutions such as CollegeNET and the Blackboard Academic Suite in VMware virtualized environments.

Bowdoin College Prepares for Disaster Recovery
In a particularly innovative use of VMware Infrastructure, Bowdoin College in Maine has partnered with Los Angeles-based Loyola Marymount University to build a co-located datacenter for cross-country disaster recovery. Together, the schools have achieved higher availability, better load balancing, and enhanced fault tolerance with more than 70 percent of their environment virtualized. They are saving $15,000 in annual server maintenance and have avoided $500,000 in hardware costs. They are running over 100 virtual machines.

“If you are using VMware technology in production, you are two-thirds of the way to a robust disaster-recovery plan before you even begin to design it,” said Tim Antonowicz, senior systems engineer at Bowdoin. “You get portable servers with flexible hardware requirements and ease of management. Capabilities in VMware Infrastructure 3, like Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and High Availability (HA), for instance, let you take advantage of resource pools and dynamically move virtual machines as needs change. Bowdoin has a VMware-first policy for any new system — not only because of the disaster-recovery benefits of VMware virtualization, but also because of the other cost savings and efficiencies that VMware software enables.”

Ohio State is an Early Adopter
Ohio State University has been a VMware customer since 2003 when the College of Humanities needed to upgrade its IT infrastructure and found there was not enough room to expand. After deploying the VMware platform, the College was able to meet its upgrade needs with 54 virtual machines running on three host servers. The College was able to avoid $160,000 in hardware costs and cut server provisioning from three weeks to five minutes, while enabling the IT staff to manage its virtual machines from a single console.

“Before the upgrade, we lacked the physical space, cooling and power needed,” said Tim Smith, director of Information Systems for the College of Humanities. “We had some PC-class hardware with no failover disks, no secondary power and no SAN connectivity. We wanted to grow, but didn’t have the resources. The VMware virtual machines worked great. They stayed up and worked well. Believe the buzz about VMware virtualization. It works! It gives us the ability to add new servers without even thinking about the hardware costs. It allows my staff to think more creatively.”

Sheffield Hallam University Uses Virtualization to Manage Growth
Sheffield Hallam is one of the UK’s most innovative and progressive universities. The school has more than 28,000 students and over 3,000 staff. The university has an ambitious growth strategy, which includes capital investment of over £140 million during the next decade. Sheffield Hallam counts multi-national companies, government agencies and local businesses as partners or clients for its research. The university required a number of new IT services to support these partners and its vibrant student body. This led to the number of servers in the school’s data center doubling within twelve months.

"With the server farm growing towards capacity, we knew a completely new strategy was required and that moving to a virtual infrastructure would be the most effective solution,” said Dave Thornley, IT Service Support Manager at Sheffield Hallam. “During the testing process, the VMware technology proved itself time and time again and is revolutionizing the way we deliver services.  To date, we have created 170 virtual machines. We’ve saved £350,000 thus far, including £43,000 on power bills alone. We’re more flexible and responsive in the delivery of IT services. We’ve created a full business continuity and disaster recovery program based on VMware. And, we’re reducing CO2 emissions by 269 tons each year.”

VMware Focus on Higher Education
The higher education market was one of the first sectors to recognize the compelling benefits of virtualization, such as hardware consolidation, resource aggregation and increased automation. These benefits make virtualization ideal for colleges and universities that want to control costs, improve availability and resiliency, and optimize the efficiency of smaller IT staffs serving the needs of multiple groups. Regardless of the size of the organization, VMware’s Acceleration Kits, as well as free VMware Server help new users explore and deploy virtualization.

The education sector continues to be a high priority for VMware, with 900 universities and colleges in its customer roster, including Curtin University of Technology, Dominican University of California, Faith Baptist Bible College, Georgian College, Hackensack University Medical, Hull College, Indiana University, Manukau Institute of Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Ryerson. To best serve the needs of this sector, VMware has created an online community, staffed with IT professionals from higher education facilities, to answer questions and foster communication about overall IT best practices for their peers. In addition to these experts, this community includes dozens of case studies to help understand how others have made VMware a critical element in their infrastructure.

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