Fergenschmeir Ltd. goes virtual

The company and its officers are imaginary, but the datacenter, test scenario, and stalwart IT staff are real

The proof-of-concept was hatched the day that Craig Windham, CFO of our legendary and fictitious enterprise Fergenschmeir Inc., called John Traylor, CFO of Fergenschmeir Ltd. (a wholly owned subsidiary) and not-so-politely asked about the most recent electrical bills. The message was clear: Your datacenter costs too much — do something about it.

The problem quickly ran downhill. IT Director Brad Richter quickly called a meeting of Fergenschmeir Ltd.’s stalwart and unflinchingly handsome IT staff, and laid out the plan: We need to virtualize.

With lightning speed, an RFP was written and sent to VMware. The task was simply to show us how Infrastructure 3 worked, why it worked, and how to migrate the infrastructure. VMware was on the case.

When VMware’s engineers arrived at the Fergenschmeir datacenter, located in the Advanced Network Computing Lab at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology, we provided the gory details: 

Fergenschmeir Ltd. ran a variety of systems, including Windows Server 2003 servers, a Windows Server 2003 domain, Microsoft Exchange, and Linux-based Web and MySQL servers. In addition to this, the hardware running in the datacenter was a mix of Dell, HP, and white-box servers, with an EqualLogic PS400E iSCSI SAN tying storage together. We gave VMware two days to build the virtual infrastructure from the ground up, based on Dell PowerEdge 1955 blade hardware, and to migrate the collection of production servers to VMs.

Two days proved more than adequate: All five physical servers were successfully migrated before lunch on the first day, giving us another two days to explore, and frequently marvel at, the platform’s VM management capabilities.

At the end of the proof-of-concept, the network admins were eager to reclaim large numbers of switchports in the crowded datacenter, the server geeks were too busy playing with VMotion to comment rationally, and plans for new AC units were shelved. VMware had passed the test.

Brad Richter had a sly smile on his face, knowing that this was going to make everyone happy — the CFOs, the IT staff, and most importantly, himself.