Sydney's ANATAS deploys Red Hat Virtualisation to industrial manufacturer Questas

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Sydney's ANATAS deploys Red Hat Virtualisation to industrial manufacturer Questas

Australian hydraulics and irrigation manufacturer Questas sought to improve the performance of its virtual machines and servers, which had been hampered by aging infrastructure nearing its end of life.

The platform was eight years old at the time, where bottlenecks caused by degraded performance and a less responsive platform negatively affected productivity, with processes usually taking 30 seconds were now taking up to ten minutes. Backup processes were also slowing down and would frequently time out.

After testing out a number of virtualisation platforms, Questas landed on Red Hat’s solution.

The company then approached Red Hat, who then approached its channel partner ANATAS. ANATAS sat down with Questas to discuss what can be done and how to approach the business problem at hand.

ANATAS chief architect Iain Elliott told CRN that Questas had issues with its existing virtual application delivery mechanism.

“We were able to troubleshoot that it came down to the underlying hypervisor [Questas] was using, which at the time was Citrix,” he said.

Red Hat’s offering suited Questas’ needs according to Elliott, as the company wanted to hold on to their existing infrastructure.

“We knew from past experience that Red Hat Virtualisation was able to really show some performance benefits even when using infrastructure that isn’t necessarily the latest edition,” he said.

Elliott added that Questas had a Citrix hypervisor which was unable to leverage the capabilities of individual servers.

He said it was working on the lowest common denominator across the different hardware platforms, which held back the existing infrastructure’s overall capabilities.

The company had more than 40 different virtual machines running on 12 physical machines so ANATAS had to help migrate large application pools.

Questas systems manager Jason King said the setup had issues with hardware compatibility, drivers and performance.

“Our virtual platform’s performance and availability actually worsened as the product matured,” he said.

“We spent a lot of time fixing issues in a reactive manner, meaning we couldn’t focus on business objectives. It was clear that we needed a new approach to virtualisation.”

After ANATAS migrated the servers into Red Hat, Questas now runs its core business services in the new virtualised environment, including its Microsoft Exchange mail server, SQL and Oracle databases and Infor ERP.

Questas said that as a result, the virtual machine boot times are 60 percent faster, disk input/output is 128 percent faster and network connectivity is 12 percent faster.

Incident tickets have also been reduced, so the internal IT team doesn’t spend much time on reactive issue response and now concentrates on developing new applications and features.

“Previously, users would call to complain about performance issues and even leave their machines on overnight to avoid the painfully slow log-in process,” King said.

“Now, we have reduced the average login time from 2.5 minutes to just 35 seconds, and file transfer and network throughput are also much improved.”

Questas also reduced its capital expenditure by 30 percent thanks to Red Hat being backwards compatible, enabling it to support existing infrastructure without having to invest in new hardware.

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