Here's another in a series of customer profiles. This time, Frank Bücher, divisional head of central services / IT systems at the City of Bonn, Germany, is going to talk about his experiences using Marathon Technologies' everRun VM. Thanks Frank for taking the time to communicate with me.
Please introduce yourself and your organization
Hi – I’m Frank Bücher, divisional head of central services / IT systems at the City of Bonn. Bonn is one of the largest cities in Germany and was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999. Following the relocation of parliament to Berlin, Bonn remains a centre of politics and administration.
What are you doing that needed this type of technology?
The City of Bonn provides access to approximately 4,500 email accounts and 3,000 public Exchange folders in addition to over 300 BlackBerry clients. In August 2009 the Exchange 2003 System was already overloaded due to the increased number of users and the limited availability of Exchange databases. Additionally, the City of Bonn was bound to use Outlook 2003 after a planned migration to Exchange 2007 because of regulations. Unfortunately, Outlook 2003 is unable to automatically recognize a new Exchange Server following a failover of the server, meaning that a manual intervention is required on each Outlook client.
What did you consider before selecting a product?
City of Bonn had been using MS Exchange 2003 as a virtual system on a VMware ESX 3.5 Cluster for some time. The Exchange server behaves like a single instance on the virtual system, supporting all of the functions of Exchange. As Exchange is a mission-critical application at City of Bonn it needed an alternative disaster recovery solution to what VMware was offering and the built-in DR and HA capabilities of MS Exchange. City of Bonn needed a new, redundant solution that offered better performance and better reliability, especially at the time when the organization was migrating to MS Exchange 2007.
Why did you select this product?
We chose Marathon Technologies everRun VM for its price-performance ratio and the ability to automate and protect our Exchange 2003 system without the need for a manual intervention in case of a failure or disaster. This new technology also enables us to make our Blackberry Enterprise Server available on the same system, as well as other applications and systems, and allows for monitoring of traffic to track traffic offences. The BES is used to keep the mobile communication for over 300 users always available, and allows for the traffic control office to manage the traffic. The Citrix XenServer and Marathon everRun software are noticeably better equipped to handle the number of users providing better resources with regards to the CPU and RAM
What tangible benefits have you gotten from the use of this product?
Virtualization of the Exchange Server with Marathon everRun VM, on Citrix XenServer, has given us the following benefits:
- No manual intervention for individual clients - the host name remains the same
- No double-licensing of Exchange - only one virtual instance and not two parallel systems exist
- A very good price-performance ratio for the implementation of high availability, thus offering ROI
- The need for manual intervention or the need to work through specific crisis plans is no longer applicable as the entire system is completely automated and both servers are continuously synchronised
- Migration of the XenServer/Marathon platforms to newer versions are going to be much easier with very little input from the IT department
What advice would you offer others facing similar circumstances?
First I would suggest clearly outlining the goals of the program and defining internally exactly what your users need. If you don't know exactly what you want from the outcome, you could end up wasting time and money in implementing a solution that doesn't fit your needs. I would also recommend determining which applications need what level of availability (disaster recovery, high availability, fault tolerance) and grouping together for the most effective use of resources. Often companies are looking for HA and DR solutions that are closely aligned with specific applications or the portfolio of one provider, but I recommend looking further afield.