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VMware Powers Big Savings for UniSource Energy
VMware, Inc., the global leader in virtualization solutions from the desktop to the datacenter, today announced that UniSource Energy Corp. has deployed VMware's industry-leading virtualization and management suite, VMware Infrastructure 3, to help reduce capital and operating expenses, extend the life of a datacenter that had reached its original capacity, and reduce power consumption as part of its commitment to responsible environmental stewardship.

Through its subsidiaries, UniSource provides electricity and natural gas to more than 400,000 customers in Arizona. Recently, one of the company's largest subsidiaries, Tucson Electric Power (TEP), maxed out the capacity of its primary datacenter. The facility had no more space, cooling resources or power to support future growth. To address this urgent issue, TEP deployed the VMware platform and virtualized more than 90 percent of its application environment. Today, over 330 virtual machines are running on 53 physical hosts, extending the life of TEP's current datacenter indefinitely while significantly reducing hardware and maintenance costs.

"Capacity issues in the datacenter were the primary drivers of virtualization," said Chris Rima, supervisor of the Infrastructure Systems team at TEP. "The secondary drivers were financial. Lower capital costs for server builds, better resource utilization, less power per server instance; all of these factors positively impacted our bottom line. As a power company, we also recognize and value the environmental benefits of lower power consumption."

Among the applications that are currently running on the VMware platform are Blackberry Enterprise Server, GE PowerOn for outage management, IBM FileNet, IBM Maximo for asset and service management, Microsoft SharePoint 2007, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Hyperion Strategic Finance, Oracle PeopleSoft, and Symantec Enterprise Vault.

Rima emphasized the mission-critical nature of the virtualization environment, explaining, "Our power distribution personnel use the GE PowerOn outage management system to determine how power is routed. This system ensures that everyone is working from the same blueprint. Our dispatchers rely on the PowerOn system to send the field techs to the right location to restore power safely. And we rely on VMware to help keep these systems up and running at all times."

Virtualization is also providing TEP with invaluable backup and recovery benefits. Before going virtual, the backup and recovery process for the GE PowerOn outage management system was manual. It could take all night to backup data and move it to the disaster-recovery facility and three or four hours to complete a full failover. In the meantime, dispatchers would have to refer to physical maps instead of electronic data. Thanks to virtualization, the backup process is much simpler. Processes that used to take several hours to complete are now done automatically every 15 minutes so TEP is always prepared in case of an emergency.

"Virtualization has been a lifesaver," said Tony Edelbrock, senior systems administrator at TEP. "It has revolutionized the way we do things. Several of the backup processes were eliminated with the new architecture. The resources that had been used to do backups for several hours every night can now be applied to more strategic tasks."

Published Tuesday, May 19, 2009 6:44 AM by David Marshall
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