Brand Felt Ltd. has been manufacturing felt as a family-owned business since 1959. There, a two-person IT department manages about 50 users, as well as web servers and an e-commerce site. Recently, the company’s main SQL server was reaching the end of its lifecycle and it was time for some upgrades.
The company consulted with their server vendor Dell on what to do next. The computer maker’s consultants recommended trying to reduce costs by going over to virtualization.
After looking over options, the decision was made to buy purchase servers running VMWare vSphere Essentials Plus.
The new servers were supplied by Dell and the PC manufacturer also offered some assistance designing the architecture.
According to Brand Felt Ltd. network administrator Mike Paquette, there were immediately cost savings from the purchase alone. Before virtualizing the environment, the company was running nine physical servers including one SQL, an Exchange server for mail and the web server. Following the decision to virtualize, the IT environment was down to three servers.
Also helpful in the purchase was the availability of VMWare’s lower-cost bundle, which was introduced a few years ago by the virtualization software maker to target small businesses.
“The cost advantage we got at the time was much better than what we got from the competition,” said Paquette.
While Paquette acknowledged that there was a bit of a learning curve when it came to now administering a virtualized environment, it wasn’t a particularly big hurdle to deal with.
“It’s easy to learn on your own,” he said.
As for the result of the transition to a virtualized infrastructure, Paquette said he was pleased. Running virtualized servers has reduced downtime and helped with disaster recover, he explained.