University of Nottingham boosts private cloud capacity with VKernel

Academic institution increases virtual machine density as well as enhancing infrastructure management

The University of Nottingham has signed a deal with Dell’s software arm to supply the institution with capacity management and performance monitoring products that are designed to increase the institution’s private cloud capacity.

To save money and reduce its carbon footprint, the university decided to consolidate and virtualise all servers into the data centres on its UK campus. It will use VKernel to manage is VMware-based infrastructure.

The university was looking to identify ways to optimise the infrastructure it had and meet the business goals of its virtualisation initiative. Specifically, the University of Nottingham has been able to correctly size VMs, freeing up resources to increase virtual server density.

“Rightsizing VMs using the VKernel software has given us a considerable amount of manoeuvring room, and that has spared the university from facing some very expensive alternatives for growing our total capacity,” said University of Nottingham system developer Craig Place.

He added that the product has allowed the university to identify wasted data files that can now be removed. The reclaimed capacity can then be redeployed to other virtual machines, resulting in significant savings and further aiding server consolidation goals.

“I don’t think we would have been able to find as many files left on the environment to reclaim. In the last month alone, I’ve cleared off nearly 200 GB of storage. If we’re looking at roughly 20 GB per VM, that equates to several additional VMs that we can add. This helps us squeeze that last VM on to an ESX host without impacting performance,” Place added.

Eric Jackson, senior director of product management at Dell said that one of the main drivers for virtualisation projects, such as the one Nottingham engaged in, is to reduce the overhead from maintaining multiple physical servers through consolidation.

Jackson said that the advance analytics VKernel had allowed easy implementable recommendations on VM sizing, waste removal and optimal VM placement. “Incorporating these capabilities into a virtualised environment allows VM administrators to more efficiently use existing hardware, increasing investment return from the virtualisation project,” he added.