Leading IT Services Company Lowers Total Cost of Ownership with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

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February 28, 2012

Atos, an international IT technology services company, needed to find a reliable and highly scalable virtualization solution to deliver a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) from a partner that could respond to strategic business needs.

Customer: Atos

Business Challenge:

Atos, an international IT technology services company, needed to find a reliable and highly scalable virtualization solution to deliver a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) from a partner that could respond to strategic business needs.

Migration Path:

A physical-to-virtual migration (P2V). The new virtualized environment based on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization runs a retail customer’s back-end sales application. Virtual machines are now standardized on Red Hat Enterprise Linux®, following a migration from Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server run on physical servers.


Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2 utilizing the kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) hypervisor and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager; Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and 6 are used for virtual machines.


Three Fujitsu RX900 S1 servers implemented as hypervisor hosts in the virtual environment. Each server is equipped with 1 terabyte of memory and eight 8-core CPUs, totalling 64 cores per server. NetApp FAS 3170 used as physical storage solution to manage 15 terabyte of data, connected via Fibre Channel.


With Red Hat® Enterprise Virtualization, Atos now has a reliable and highly available virtualization solution with lower TCO. The migration to virtualized machines has also optimized efficiency levels and lowered energy consumption.


Atos is an international information technology services company with 74,000 employees in 42 countries. Serving a global client base, it delivers hi-tech transactional services, consulting and technology services, systems integration and managed services. With its deep technology expertise and industry knowledge, it works with clients across the following market sectors: manufacturing, retail, services; public, health and transport; financial services; telecoms, media and technology; energy and utilities. Atos has a strong presence in the Danish market with 210 employees serving clients in both the public and private sector.

Business Challenge:

A strategic shift to a more efficient and dynamic datacenter
Previously a part of Siemens, Atos Denmark has supplied outsourcing services since the mid-90s. Today, its full-service outsourcing package includes comprehensive operations and administration, ranging from maintenance to user support and hotline operation and guaranteed service levels with fixed problem-resolution times.

In 2011, the Atos UNIX team in Denmark won an outsourcing contract for a company operating in the retail sector. Initially, the environment comprised a small number of servers running the Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. The Atos UNIX team was tasked with building a scalable server platform which could accommodate the customer’s plans for future growth. As part of an overall strategy to create a more efficient and dynamic datacenter, the UNIX team considered virtualization to save physical space, CAPEX spend and increase the flexibility and scalability of its IT environment.


Atos looks to Red Hat as a reliable partner in virtualization

The Atos UNIX team evaluated the different virtualization vendors, including Red Hat, to determine the best option to suit its new client’s requirements.

As a result, Atos selected Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for its new client’s server roll-out. For the new virtual environment, Atos installed Red Hat Enterprise Linux with built-in KVM functionality as the hypervisor host on three eight-socket (64 core) servers. The cluster is supporting the customer’s mission-critical Java-based sales application--which today consists of 60 virtual servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The strict business continuity requirement of the applications is met by the high availability feature of the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization cluster.

Atos is also using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager, the centralized enterprise management system, to manage its virtualized environment. The UNIX team at Atos found the system’s user interface to be an intuitive and straight-forward tool that ensures that the infrastructure is effectively monitored and utilized. The live migration management feature adds flexibility and agility to the environment by enabling free movement of virtual machines across the physical infrastructure. The API and automation capabilities improve productivity and enable Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager to integrate into the rest of the IT environment The company has selected the online version of Red Hat Network to manage the life cycle of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on physical servers.

In addition, Atos continues to have a successful track record using Red Hat Enterprise Linux as an operating system platform for its Linux-based services. The inherent reliability of service convinced Atos’ new customer and main application vendor that the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform was clearly suited to run the back end of its mission-critical Java-based sales application. In addition to the initial deployment of 60 virtual machines, there are plans in the pipeline for additional assets to be introduced in the future.


Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization reduces capital expenditures and lowers energy consumption
With Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Atos has been able to both respond effectively to business needs and create a more efficient datacenter. Migrating to a virtual environment reduced capital expenditure, reduced floor space, lowered energy consumption, and produced a more flexible and scalable platform for the retail client.

Atos was also able to meet the specific cost requirements set by the client, due to the Red Hat subscription-based business model, which differs from that of traditional licensing models. Since the Red Hat subscription model includes product access and support with the same annual fee, customers avoid the high upfront licensing costs of proprietary software products. Software binaries, support, product documentation, updates, upgrades, bug fixes and security patches are all included in a single price package. What Atos receives with the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization subscription is a steady stream of tested, certified and reliable technology updates as soon as they become available.

“Red Hat is a strategic partner to our business,” said Hammer. “Its transparent financial payment structure allows our business to grow its market share by enabling us to quote and charge competitive service fees to our existing and prospective customer base, which results in high retention numbers. The subscription-based business model means lower TCO, as there are no large, up-front licensing fee outlays, no upgrade costs and no hidden charges.”

Atos long-term plans with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization
The organization currently has 60 virtual machines running on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, but the Atos UNIX team believes the deployment will grow to 200 virtual servers in the future. It is also exploring avenues for other customers and evaluating Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to run virtual desktops with Microsoft Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop.

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