Virtualisation is still growing strong among IT departments, but at the Australian operations of Hyundai cars, the company is running a 100 per cent virtual infrastructure and the IT head is liking the lack of support calls.
Hyundai Motor Company Australia is headquartered in North Ryde, Sydney and manages the supply of vehicles and parts to and from its international suppliers and domestic sales channels and distributors.
The company’s IT infrastructure manager Kawa Farid said having data hosted on-premise is mandated by the parent company, but that hasn’t stopped the local arm from moving to a fully virtualised infrastructure about eight months ago.
“Locally we use a hybrid model and have Cloud services for point applications like spam filtering, but the rest has to be in-house,” Farid said.
The only non-virtual infrastructure is the IBM iSeries system which is being scaled back in favour of an SAP ERP system hosted in Korea.
“We have not issues so far being 100 per cent virtualised and we made sure we used the latest technology for our infrastructure,” Farid said.
Hyundai uses VMware’s ESXi and vSphere hypervisor and private Cloud technology, which Farid says is well supported by all its applications, including Oracle.
“Our call centre uses an Oracle application and I have had it running in a virtualised environment for two years,” he said.
“They say Oracle is not supported under VMware and it even says that on Oracle’s Web site, but we haven’t had any problems with it and have never had to recreate a problem on a physical host.”
Farid said a recent two week trip to Europe did not result in any IT support incidents relating to the infrastructure while he was away as everything is running smoothly.
Hyundai’s server virtualisation push has also coincided with the move to a new storage platform.
“We had IBM FAST storage systems which were over-spec’ed and the maintenance costs could not be justified for the product,” Farid said.
Hyundai now has three Dell EqualLogic systems for a total of nearly eight terabytes of storage capacity. About four to five terabytes have been used.
“When we purchased EqualLogic the Dell sales team said it takes five minutes to set up and I was sceptical. But when we got our hands on the product it did only take five minutes to set up,” Farid said.
With only a small team of four, Hyundai IT supports 250 users and the applications for its network of sales and distribution partners.
Virtual desktops next target
With all the server environment virtualised, Hyundai will now look to virtualise its desktop, which will be upgraded to Windows 7.
“I’m looking at what type of desktop virtualistion solutions are available and we might continue to use VMware technology, but nothing has been decided yet,” Farid said, adding desktop virtualisation may not be practical for staff in remote locations.
The other focus area for Hyundai IT is data migration to the new SAP system which will offer Web-based access for dealers and a native client for staff.
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