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Trinity’s Technology Featured in University Business Magazine


Trinity was profiled in University Business magazine in a cover story in January 2009 about “5 Reasons to Switch to Virtual Servers.”  Trinity was one of five case studies featured. Trinity recently reduced its servers from more than 37 to just 5 virtualized servers. In the article, Trinity’s Information Technology Director James Tagliareni noted that “We reduced our hardware spending by 87.3 percent, and we’ll be able to reduce our electrical costs in our data center by 82 percent. In fact, we did an ROI and found that virtualization paid for itself in less than five months.” A photo of Trinity’s campus and the virtualized servers were featured in the article.

Excerpt from University Business Magazine

5 Reasons to Switch to Virtual Servers
By Ellen Ullman

Everyone is touting server virtualization as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Is it a worthwhile technology, or just the latest trend?

When it comes to servers, you can have too much of a good thing. Just ask Carsten Puls, vice president of strategic and product marketing for NComputing. “In the past, we needed a different server for every function: internet, e-mail, enterprise resource planning.” As a result, the data centers at NComputing, which offers desktop virtualization solutions, became overloaded with servers. And each server—because it typically performed only one function—used only a portion of its processing capability. In fact, Microsoft reports that the typical server-utilization rate is about 15 percent, with 85 percent of server capacity going unused.

Then came server virtualization, which allows IT departments to consolidate multiple servers onto one machine. “Essentially, server virtualization is efficiency in computing,” says Puls. And that one machine uses up to 90 percent of its capability…

Intrigued by the promise of server virtualization? Here are some other reasons that colleges and universities have made the switch…

3. Server virtualization eases disaster recovery.

Like its peers who have implemented server virtualization, Trinity Washington University (D.C.) is enjoying financial savings and energy efficiency. “We reduced our hardware spending by 87.3 percent, and we’ll be able to reduce our electrical costs in our data center by 82 percent,” says James Tagliareni, director of Information Technology Services. “In fact, we did an ROI and found that virtualization paid for itself in less than five months.”

Tagliareni, who considers himself “old school,” likes to ensure that his decisions are sound. “I really dug in to this, and the only negative I’ve found is the learning curve of getting my staff up to speed. Otherwise, it’s a really good solution.”

One benefit quickly discovered was that virtualization greatly improved disaster recovery. “In September, a server went down. Another server instantly picked up where the other left off. There was no down time, and the end users never knew there was a problem.” Virtualization allows his staff to take snapshot-like images of entire servers, so in a worst-case scenario, with the replica set up to be restored automatically, it would take only minutes to restore a full server from scratch. Before virtualization, when a server went down, the school suffered. During Tagliareni’s first week at Trinity, it took two days of “late, late nights” to get two failed servers back on track. The experience was extremely stressful, he recalls.

Trinity's Virtualized Servers

Trinity's Virtualized Servers

To complete the disaster-recovery efforts, Tagliareni—who worked with GovConnection to choose the right server software package for its HP servers—placed a redundant machine in the data center and images off-site. If the server room were to burn down, he could throw those images onto another server and be up and running in minutes.

When it comes to software recovery, virtualization is just as beneficial. “In the past, if there were more than two applications on a server and something went wrong, both applications went down, which can paralyze an institution,” explains Tagliareni. “Now, if one application goes down, the other applications are not affected.”

Hardware is going to fail; that’s the nature of the beast. But virtualization means that instead of losing a day’s worth of work, Trinity’s tech staff can be proactive instead of reactive. “All in all, it’s a great stress reliever and time-management tool,” says Tagliareni.
Trinity Campus

Trinity Campus

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For more information contact Ann Pauley, Media Relations Trinity, 125 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20017, (202) 884-9725.