Cardpoint takes benefits from virtualisation

Cash machine operator Cardpoint has lauded the use of virtual operating systems in its quest to reduce the burden on existing servers and increase performance.

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Cash machine operator Cardpoint has lauded the use of virtual operating systems in its quest to reduce the burden on existing servers and increase performance.

The company employed virtualised infrastructure and IT security services firm Objectronix to implement SWsoft’s Virtuozzo technology, which virtualised its Microsoft Windows 2003 operating systems. The company owns over 30 HP ProLiant servers and had planned to buy three more, but with the virtualisation system was able to consolidate several existing servers onto two machines. In doing so, Cardpoint managed to increase the utilisation of its existing servers, and avoided more costs by acquiring one new server, instead of three as originally planned.

Cardpoint had considered using VMware’s virtualisation programmes but Harris Bokhari, infrastructure service manager, commented that that option could have made efficiency losses, as a result of double caching after hardware virtualisation. He explained: “With hardware virtualisation, each virtual machine has to write to both itself and the physical server and this can really erode the efficiency being gained.”

Cost savings were a major part of Cardpoint’s decision-making criteria, according to Bokhari, who claimed the company spent £15,000 on hardware, maintenance and software instead of the £21,000 it had projected. He said the saving allowed the company to “buy a brand new server, upgrade the memory on an existing server, and buy extra Virtuozzo licences”.

"On top of that, we were staggered by the price difference between Virtuozzo and VMware ESX Server. Virtuozzo just offered so much more value for money, meaning we could buy a brand new server, upgrade the memory on an existing server and buy extra Virtuozzo licences for the same as VMware ESX," he added.

The organisation also uses the virtualisation technology to back-up the dispatch environment so it can run tests. Virtuozzo was initially bought to run on the Oracle and BlackBerry enterprise servers, but Cardpoint now plan to roll it out onto further servers across the data centre and also servers housed at the company's London offices.

Cardpoint’s headquarters are in Blackpool, and the company is also active in the German market. In April, it bought Travelex’s cash machine business, taking its overall quota of ATM machines to 5,900.

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