Australian outsourcer Hostworks recently bought more than 20 switches from Avocent after realizing it would have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in new hardware to complete an upgrade with its incumbent supplier.
Even then the company still faced limited upgrade capability for its three Australian data centres which provide hosted solutions to some of the country's most prominent organizations such as ninemsn, Ticketek and Austereo.
Hostworks technical analysis manager Mike Sellars was unwilling to identify the incumbent supplier but said Avocent, a supplier of KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) switching and connectivity solutions, was selected to address scalability problems exacerbated by strong growth and the need to manage Hostworks' data centres remotely.
"As part of our regular review process we determined a need to reassess our KVM requirements; now we have the ultimate scalability," Sellars said.
"As we continue to add more data centres, we simply add more switches; this is the perfect future-proof solution."
While not providing specific pricing details, Sellars said the cost per port now to manage more than 400 server ports is much lower than the previous cost.
"Plus we've taken a leap forward. By choosing KVM over IP, rather than a dedicated interface, we're using the existing infrastructure, thereby minimising disruption and cost," Sellars said.
Hostworks Tier 3 technical support engineer, Ben Ryks, said that with the existing IP system in place, hardware had to be connected to the server, which was fine within the confines of the Adelaide data centre, but not for the Sydney operations which wasn't connected.
Ryks said the Avocent switches have 16 server ports allowing Hostworks to plug into the network.
"We have access locally and remotely via IP," he added.
Overall, Hostworks has invested in more than 20 switches with up to 15 people using them daily.
"This makes us a pretty heavy user, so prior to implementation we did thorough testing which proved invaluable in the long run," Ryks said, adding that there have also been security benefits.
"Previously, the system wasn't networked. Now that it is fully networked, we don't need so many user names and passwords, with all access to the server logged," Ryks said.
Hostworks technical operations manager, Simon Master, said the project - with a confirmed spend of more than $100,000 - is ongoing because the company is continuing to add switches as required.