Hershey Entertainment - a profile of a Vkernel user

Jon Blomeier, Data Center Analyst with Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, talks about his experiences with Vkernel's product.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

From time to time, I try to chat with someone actually using a vendor's technology rather than just taking the vendors word that their product is the best thing since candy bars. This time, I had the opportunity to speak with Jon Blomeier, Data Center Analyst with Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. Sweet job, Jon.

Please introduce yourself and your organization

Hello my name is Jon Blomeier Data Center Analyst with Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. Hershey Entertainment & Resorts and its subsidiaries own and/or operate the Hersheypark entertainment complex, Hersheypark Arena & Stadium, ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, Hershey Bears AHL Hockey Club, Giant Center, Dutch Wonderland family entertainment complex, The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, Hershey Highmeadow Campground, Hershey Golf Collection, The Spa At The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Nursery, and Hershey Laundry and Textiles.

What are you doing that requires this type of technology?

Virtualization of our server environment was our goal. We had lots of reasons for this. Some of them are:

  • To make it easier for reduce the number of physical servers to maintain/build
  • Reduce the cost of maintenance contracts, cooling, power
  • To reduce the time of provisioning and deploying new servers
  • Increase levels of availability and support our disaster recovery plans.

We were well aware of some disadvantages of this approach, such as upfront costs and expert knowledge needed for SAN etc, but we felt that the ROI would be worth it in the end.

What products did you consider before making a decision?

At the time we didnt know of much out there, but we looked at Veeam, Vizioncore.

Why did you select this product?

We wanted a low cost, simple product that would allow us to get better insight into our virtual environment as well as specific alerting. The user interface was and is still very simple. I have pushed Vkernel for a reporting module, which they have lacked since inception. They promised it will be out this year. I am still waiting for that.

What tangible benefits have you gotten through the use of this product?

Reports, Alerts and overall insight into what capacity and bottlenecks we may be incurring in our environment.  The product is improving. We're testing out the besta of Vkernel's new Optimization Pack. It shows Waste (CPU, Memory, Storage), How to RightSize the VM's, Zombie or VM's doing hardly anything and also Inventory of VMs.

What advice would you offer others facing similar issues?

Give Vkernel a shot, it is a pretty good low cost/easy solution to get you info as to what you might not know in your virtual environment. We haven't learned anything surprising so far because we have a underutilized virtual server environment right now. We do feel that this product has helped us solidify our control and understanding of some things. The optimization Pack is pretty cool and we think that it is going to be very helpful in squeezing all of the wasted resources out of our virtual machine environment.

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