Virtualization Technology News and Information
NetApp and Microsoft Virtualization Solutions Help Customs and Freight Broker Improve IT Efficiency and Meet Business Growth
NetApp and Microsoft Corp. today announced that A & A Contract Customs Brokers Ltd., a fast-growing customs and freight broker, has achieved dramatic IT efficiency gains by using Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V technology and Microsoft System Center with NetApp® storage solutions.

A & A provides customs and freight forwarding expertise to a large base of international customers. By 2012, the company expects to grow at a rate of 20 percent per year by further expanding its services and opening an additional five branch offices. As A & A’s business continues to grow, so does its information technology environment and the need for more storage and servers. The acquisition of more servers and storage has led to increased IT costs and server and storage sprawl in the company’s data center. As a result, A & A needed to transform its IT infrastructure to meet its planned growth and business objectives.

“Our antiquated direct-attached storage system was not meeting our growth and management challenges,” said Dan Morris, systems engineer at A & A. “We were continually adding more disk drives as a short-term solution to scale storage capacity. And we desperately needed to consolidate our servers as well. While server virtualization alleviated part of our problem, we still experienced disk capacity issues that constrained our virtualized environment.”

A & A needed a more scalable server and storage architecture that would unlock the full potential of its virtualization environment. Therefore, the company consolidated its server and storage infrastructure based on an end-to-end virtualization solution with Microsoft Corp. and NetApp.

A & A consolidated multiple applications and significantly reduced its number of physical servers using Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V technology and Microsoft System Center. The consolidation project helped A & A:

  • Reduce the total number of servers required by nearly 60 percent to run Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and eight proprietary applications
  • Administer both physical and virtual assets using the Microsoft System Center suite of systems management tools
  • Improve overall system availability using the built-in clustering capabilities of Windows Server 2008 to automate the failover of servers

Combined with NetApp storage efficiency technologies such as deduplication and RAID-DP®, A & A was able to use less storage and better protect its valuable data to achieve the following benefits:

  • Reclaimed 70 percent of its storage capacity for Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V technology and backup data from System Center Data Protection Manager 2007
  • Deferred the purchase of additional storage for up to 24 months by freeing more than 25 percent of primary storage for reuse
  • Quadrupled retention times for disk-based backup data from one week to one month to significantly bolster data protection and recovery efforts

“It didn’t take long for Microsoft and NetApp to win me over,” continued Morris. “The Microsoft virtualization and systems management solution provided greater value operationally and reduced capital costs, while NetApp gave us the most storage at the best value. I’ve had such a great experience that I’ve begun recommending NetApp to other IT groups exploring server virtualization with Microsoft. I always tell people I see no reason why anyone would choose anything else but Microsoft and NetApp solutions for their IT infrastructure needs.”

“NetApp and Microsoft are delivering end-to-end virtualization solutions for IT consolidation, site recovery, and remote offices,” said Zane Adam, senior director of Virtualization Strategy and Management at Microsoft. “NetApp provides one of the best storage platforms to deliver integrated solutions in conjunction with Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V technology and Microsoft System Center. Together we’re giving our customers innovative ways to help reduce costs, and improve availability and efficiency.”

Customers such as A & A rely on NetApp’s complete set of storage efficiency technologies that are inherent in its Data ONTAP® operating system, including deduplication, thin provisioning, RAID-DP, and Snapshot™ technology, to improve storage efficiency and dramatically simplify data management of their virtual server environments. Customers that deploy NetApp with Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V technology can enhance protection of their data assets, buy less storage, and reduce their overall power, space, and cooling costs in their data centers.

“A & A is an excellent example of how our customers are reducing their storage requirements by 50–70 percent using our storage efficiency technologies,” said Patrick Rogers, vice president of Solutions Marketing at NetApp. “We understand the challenges our customers are facing to do more with less and reduce costs and unplanned downtime. Microsoft’s server virtualization platform gives customers a powerful solution to consolidate their IT infrastructure. Together, we’re helping customers maximize the value of their storage and servers in their virtualized environments. NetApp will even guarantee that customers will use less storage as part of our Virtualization Guarantee* Program.”

NetApp’s Virtualization Guarantee Program enables customers to take advantage of NetApp’s guarantee that they will use 50 percent less storage in their virtual environments with NetApp storage compared to traditional storage arrays. Alternatively, for customers that already own other select storage systems, NetApp will reduce redundant copies of their primary data by at least 35 percent with NetApp V-Series. For more information, visit

To learn more about NetApp and Microsoft’s virtualization solutions, visit them at the upcoming Microsoft TechEd conference in Los Angeles, May 11–15, 2009. Stop by the NetApp booth 417 to see a new Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V technology demonstration and learn more about NetApp storage and data management solutions for Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, and Microsoft SQL Server.

Published Thursday, May 07, 2009 10:22 AM by David Marshall
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