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VMware proof of concept shows big RHEL, app, management savings

TransUnion Interactive, a direct-to-consumer credit reporting bureau, is running a proof of concept (POC) project to determine if virtualization could deliver server and space reductions and better TCO than its current infrastructure.

I met Daniel Hahn, TranUnion Interactive (TI) associate director of technical services, today at the Blade Server Summit in Anaheim, Calif. He’s heading the POC project and described it during a user panel I moderated.

TI has too many servers that are costing too much money, Hahn said. Over 200 servers and operating system licenses. Of the latter, 80% were Red Hat Enterprise Linux and 20% Windows Server, with 15% of each of these OSes running in production.

“We’re not replacing any servers at this point. We’re taking two repurposed servers and putting virtualization software on them and chopping them up into virtual servers.”

The POC architecture was built on VMware Server 2.0, IBM 3455 servers, each with two dual-core Opteron CPUs at 1.8 GHz, 4GB of memory. RHEL Enterprise Server 3 is the host OS.

The POC team isn’t working with production servers yet, just Web and application servers. Databases, for instance, are not involved.

The results, so far, are dramatic.

“From a corporate standpoint, we’re saving 65% just on Red Hat licensing,” Hahn said. Also, there’s are substantial saving in price for TI’s two main apps, BEA and Resin.

TCO is yet to be determined, but Hahn has already seen systems management cost reductions of 30% in the POC project.

“We have a staff of people that has to physically reinstall servers constantly. We’ve reduced that to a couple of mouse clicks.”

Once this project is completed, Hahn is sure that a virtualization rollout will occur, probably using VMware ESX as the platform.

(Ironically, the POC project wasn’t done on blade servers. So, tell me your blades and virtualization stories, please, at

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