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Outsourcing contracts can slow VM test and development

Do you know what the biggest challenge is in determining how to run test and development on virtual machines for major companys is? Read how one company overcame this problem.

Automotive parts supplier Delphi Corp., headquartered in Troy, Mich., hit a few roadblocks when setting up test and development in a virtual environment. Eventually, though, the company found a way to reap the benefits from this new architecture.

Delphi's biggest challenge wasn't in determining how to run test and development on virtual machines (VMs) or whether or not the technology would work. Instead, the difficulty was in getting its outsourcing partners on board to support it.

"Technology is always the easiest part," said Edward Mutz, principal IT architect, network and platforms at Delphi. "It's the political and contractual issues that hold up progress."

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The automotive parts company has three IT outsourcing partners. CSC, a systems integration and outsourcing company headquartered in Falls Church, Va., manages 4,000 applications, 1,200 of which are classified as "mission critical." HP hosts Delphi's server operation, approximately 3,500 systems; and EDS, a Plano, Texas-based technology service provider, manages all of the company's desktops.

CSC's contract with Delphi required four servers per application: one for production, one for development, a third server for testing, plus a database server. Virtualization has turned this picture on its head.

In a virtual environment, it's possible to set up a VM in a matter of minutes, tweak the application as needed and then shut down the VM once that's done. "We no longer needed 300 development servers sitting around doing nothing," Mutz said.

Delphi's contract with CSC, however, was based on physical machine management. Although it was a battle to get CSC to renegotiate the contract to support test and development on VMs, the company eventually agreed.

Delphi now has 200 production applications running on VMs. Those VMs also run the test and development environment, as needed. Fewer physical machines meant fewer full-time staff members were required to manage the smaller environment. Thus, Delphi was able save money in its CSC contract.

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