ABC Cooking Studio wanted to expand its customer base and replace its legacy IT infrastructure with a technology that could scale to meet demand for web services. The company chose Red Hat® Virtualization, enabling live maintenance with no downtime. ABC Cooking Studio is now able to respond to surging customer demand, adding new services at a lower cost and in one-third the time.
Support the growth of the business by rapidly developing cost-effective services that meet customers' changing needs.
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Red Hat Virtualization lets us get the job done without any system downtime, which helps us maintain service levels and lighten the burden of system operation.Shigetoshi Nakamura, Information Systems Group, ABC Cooking Studio
ABC Cooking Studio offers culinary courses that teach adults and children to prepare sophisticated and delicious meals. With 124 studios located throughout Japan, the company offers a casual environment where novice and experienced students alike can enjoy learning to cook.
Classes are held in small groups, helping students get maximum attention from teachers. Lessons take place throughout the day, and students can reserve a class on the company's website. After the class ends, students can access recipes online and recreate their favorite dishes.
Responsive IT environment needed
The rising popularity of the classes led to an expanding customer base and a growing range of services for ABC Cooking Studio. Yet the organization's legacy IT infrastructure was unable to keep pace with the changes. Outdated processes compromised the IT organization's ability to create web services on demand. By assigning one operating system to each server, the company found itself with a proliferation of servers.
“As hardware has a very high level of performance, a single service does not use up all the capacity of one server,” says Shigetoshi Nakamura of the Information Systems Group for ABC Cooking Studio. “We needed to use our resources more efficiently. We also needed to minimize our system to reduce costs.”
Finding the right virtualization solution
The company was interested in replacing its Windows-based IT infrastructure with Linux technology, because of Linux's compatibility with current technology and widespread software availability. Initially, ABC Cooking Studio deployed VMware, virtualizing 25 of its 70 physical servers and replacing the 25-server environment with 3 physical servers.
Executives also wanted to implement live migration functionality, so IT could migrate a system running in the virtual environment to another physical server without any downtime. With the existing IT environment, that function was too costly. “We achieved our goal of using our server resources in an efficient way,” says Nakamura. “However, in terms of creating a flexible IT infrastructure, we still had improvements to make.”
ABC Cooking Studio deployed Red Hat Virtualization, using it to replace the company's Windows software. Because Red Hat Virtualization runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the company is able to handle its entire virtualized environment within Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Better yet, the live migration functionality of Red Hat Virtualization is truly affordable.
“Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization allowed us to acquire a live migration function at a much lower cost than if we had used VMware software,” says Nakamura. “What's more, the core component of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), which is implemented in the Linux kernel. Because we were already familiar with KVM, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization had another point in its favor.”
Enabling live maintenance with no downtime
The company's new solution enables IT administrators to perform live maintenance on physical host servers without disabling the servers. “Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization lets us get the job done without any system downtime, which helps us maintain service levels and lighten the burden of system operation,” says Nakamura. “Plus, when the system starts getting really big, we will be able to add new physical servers easily.”
Using Red Hat Virtualization, ABC Cooking Studio quickly virtualized another 35 of its 70 servers. The virtual environment now includes 12 virtual machines per server on 5 physical servers. The company plans to consolidate its servers even more.
ABC Cooking Studio can add new services in one-third the time needed before. Red Hat Virtualization also provides the live migration function that enables ABC Cooking Studio to respond quickly to surging customer demand. Whether new services are needed or demand on web servers grows, the company uses the Red Hat software to meet customer needs rapidly.
“In our pre-Red Hat Virtualization days, we would have had to get in touch with multiple vendors and work out how much hardware we were going to need and how many days it would take to deliver,” says Nakamura. Before Red Hat, deploying a new environment was a 3-month process. With the Red Hat solution, ABC Cooking Studio can launch a new service in just a single month.
Building a strategy on Red Hat
Although the server virtualization project is still in progress, ABC Cooking Studio plans to replace all remaining physical servers with a virtual environment based on Red Hat Virtualization. “We use Red Hat Enterprise Linux commands all the time, so using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is second nature to us,” says Nakamura. “And because Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is a Red Hat product, we can manage our system using our existing Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization knowledge.”
Open source leads to major savings
Because the Red Hat solution is based on open source, ABC Cooking Studio has enjoyed dramatic savings—both on the initial purchase cost and the total cost of ownership.
Considering the company's positive results, it is no surprise that ABC Cooking Studio intends to deploy additional Red Hat solutions. “We have high hopes for upcoming versions of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Red Hat Storage Server,” says Nakamura. “And we definitely want to participate in Red Hat user groups so that we can best assess if the products meet our needs prior to purchase.”