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IBM crashes, Cisco soars, at Brisbane airport

VCE deemed too expensive en route to destination VDI

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IBM has been deported from Brisbane Airport’s data centre, with its X-series servers shoved on a flight to oblivion as the red carpet was rolled out for the triumvirate of VMware, EMC and Cisco.

Five of the latter’s UCS servers now nestle in racks at the airport’s data centre, where they run vSphere 5, play nicely with an EMC VNX 5300 and power a private cloud.

The decision to move from the IBM X-series servers was motivated by technology manager Stephen Tukavkin’s belief they were hard to manage. He’s far happier with Cisco’s management interface and the private cloud concept, although provisioning of new servers is tightly controlled.

He’s also far happier to have bought a reference architecture rather than a pre-packaged vBlock from VCE, as he says the joint venture’s prices were unpleasant fare. That’s changed of late, Tukavkin said, but not soon enough for VCE to win his business.

The airport is, in many ways, living the virtual dream as Tukavkin says power costs are down about 20%, while IT staff are now working on lots of projects the business wants done instead of spending their days wrangling servers.

But the Airport hasn’t drunk all the virtual Kool-Aid … yet. Several servers running recalcitrant apps remain resistant to VMware’s wiles and Tukavkin said an upgrade from ESX 3.5 to vSphere was rather complex and challenging, as designing a resilient environment for the 24x7 airport was far from simple.

Desktop virtualisation is the next destination, with funding signed off for the necessary kit. Tukavkin wouldn’t say, at the press briefing where he discussed his virtual travels, just what will be listed on the purchase order. But he did intimate his current fleet of five UCS servers won’t get the new workloads off the ground and that new and more powerful engines will be needed to reach flying speed. ®

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