By implementing Novell ZENworks Orchestrator to simplify and automate the management of its virtualised server environments, NEXTO has reduced operational costs while increasing the flexibility of its services. The Novell solution enables very fast provisioning of new virtual SUSE Linux Enterprise Server images, and gives NEXTO's clients direct control over the capacity and cost of their virtual servers.
NEXTO is one of France's leading systems integrators and IT service providers. The company, which has grown 100 percent in each of the last three years, specialises in open source software and high-availability infrastructure solutions based on Linux*. NEXTO works with a number of tier-one technology vendors, including Novell, Microsoft*, IBM*, Oracle* and SAP*, and is a Novell PartnerNet Linux Specialist Gold Solution Provider..
NEXTO works with companies of all sizes, and wanted to make its hosting infrastructure more capable of responding to their varied needs. Equally, NEXTO's clients wanted to ensure that their IT landscapes could respond more rapidly to changing business requirements.
"Our clients want IT to evolve at the same speed as the business," said Frédéric Dumartin, Founder and General Director of NEXTO. "NEXTO was already providing virtualised computing resources to these clients, and we wanted to go a step further. The challenge <"was to enable the automated provisioning of computing resources to reflect our clients' changing strategic priorities."
In addition to automating and streamlining the provisioning processes, NEXTO wanted to give its clients direct control over their virtualised computing resources, so that they would be able to increase capacity or processing power to manage peaks on demand. Novell solution
NEXTO had already standardised its hosting environment on IBM BladeCenter hardware running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with integrated Xen* virtualisation technology. By implementing Novell ZENworks Orchestrator, NEXTO has largely automated the provisioning of virtual servers and the allocation of physical computing resources to them.
NEXTO pre-configures operating system images - both SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Microsoft Windows - for various requirements and stores them on the IBM SAN. Novell ZENworks Orchestrator can then automatically create a new virtual server on one or more physical blade servers, boot from the appropriate server image, and meet a client's business requirement for a new Web or application server within minutes.
"With Novell ZENworks Orchestrator dynamically and seamlessly allocating physical resources to virtual servers, we have transformed the hosting environment into a set of interchangeable building blocks," said Dumartin. "Our clients get significantly increased flexibility and speed of response, while the sharing of physical assets delivers lower total cost of ownership. The NEXTO hosting solution effectively means that each client gets a much more powerful system for a given cost."
Novell ZENworks Orchestrator can automatically scale up and down the physical resources available to each client's virtual servers as workload rises and falls. Equally, if a particular client's requirements suddenly peak - for example, during a month-end accounting exercise - the Novell solution can assign more resources on demand without requiring the client to invest in the higher capacity on a permanent basis.
NEXTO clients can access a secure Web portal linking them to Novell ZENworks Orchestrator, which enables them to increase or decrease the physical resources allocated to their virtual servers at any time. The solution also enables them to fire up new virtual servers at will, providing a completely flexible application hosting platform that can respond rapidly to emerging business requirements.
By virtualising its hosted servers using Xen on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, NEXTO has increased flexibility and reduced time-to-market for its clients while simultaneously cutting costs. The ease of clustering virtual servers enables the company to offer very high availability without the cost of maintaining redundant physical servers.
Virtualisation enables NEXTO to make more effective use of its server hardware, so the company can serve a large pool of clients without needing to invest in a correspondingly large blade server infrastructure.
"SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with built-in Xen virtualisation has reduced our software management costs by more than 50 percent, and we are also saving on server hardware," said Dumartin. "Moreover, Novell ZENworks Orchestrator reduces our running costs and carbon footprint by automatically shrinking virtual servers and turning off unused physical servers overnight. When business activity picks up the following morning, Novell ZENworks Orchestrator automatically resizes the virtual servers and redeploys the appropriate physical resources."
NEXTO's clients can directly manage their own virtual servers through Novell ZENworks Orchestrator, adding or removing CPUs, memory and disk capacity as business requirements change. This enables them to respond flexibly without the capital cost of permanent hardware upgrades.
"The Novell solution helps us ensure that technology is no longer a constraint on our clients' business activities, but rather a factor that can drive their strategic development," said Dumartin. "In particular, Novell ZENworks Orchestrator eliminates the potential complexities of virtualisation, making it an everyday element of the infrastructure."