I had an opportunity to ask Patrick McFadin, Director of Engineering, Hobsons EMT
, a few questions about how his organization is using tools from Virtual Iron
. A highly edited, slightly sanitized version of our conversation follows. Please tell me who you are and a bit about your organization?
Patrick is the Director of Engineering for Hobson's EMT. Hobsons EMT, a division of Hobsons U.S., produces customizable Web-based
software solutions designed to improve the efficiency of the modern college admissions office. Offerings include EMT Connect, EMT Delivery, EMT Retain, and EMT Chat University. These modules work together or independently to help schools elevate their enrollment strategies efficiently, effectively, and easily.
What does your organization do that needs what Virtual Iron offers?
Hobson's has a very tight development cycle. The organization needed to have the ability to test new systems more rapidly. So, creation and provisioning of virtual machines became a requirement. Disaster recovery is the next the logical area for the organization's focus.
What products were considered before Virtual Iron products were selected?
VMware's VMware Infrastructure was the first thing to be considered. The cost of the products were well beyond what the organization had budgeted for the project. They also use quite a number of white box systems. VMware doesn't support these systems. Patrick was interested in Xen because it's based upon paravirtualization and also supports 64-bit systems. So, they examined XenSource's products and found that they company seems to focus on a single-machine environment which didn't match Hobson's IT infrastructure. Then Hobson's looked at rPath to determine which virtual appliances were available and came across Virtual Iron and contacted them. The organization has an initial issue with hardware comparability and Virtual Iron rushed to addressed the issue.
Why was Virtual Iron product selected over the competition?
The product has a lot of great features at an attractive price.
What tangible benefits has your organization gotten from the deployment of Virtual Iron?
The company is quickly able to create and deploy virtual machines. This helps in both development and production environments. The most obvious place they've saved money is in the area of staff time. It used to take hours to install a new machine, now the same work can be done in minutes.
Do you have any advice for others who may be facing similar challenges?
Patrick suggests that all competitive offerings should be evaluated but, don't drink the kool-aide. Everyone has a demo but, it's better to do a "bake off" to test all of the available products in your own environment.
A bit about Virtual Iron
Virtual Iron describes itself in the following way:
Founded in 2003, Virtual Iron provides enterprise-class solutions for creating and managing virtual infrastructure. Organizations use Virtual Iron for consolidation, rapid provisioning, business continuity, workload management and policy-based automation. The solutions dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of managing and operating the enterprise data center.
The company leverages industry standards, open source, and processors with built-in hardware assisted virtualization to deliver open and economically attractive virtualization alternatives to existing, proprietary solutions.
Virtual Iron is a highly innovative company that has helped many organizations create agile, efficient and reliable environments. If an organiztion is considering VMware, XenSource or some other virtual machine offering, it would be wise to consider Virtual Iron as well.
Does your organization use Virtual Iron? What's your impression?