Uttam Energy Tech Builds a Highly Secured IT Environment for Its Strategic Engineering Designs with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0

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January 17, 2012

Customer: Uttam Energy Tech Limited

“Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and the SPICE remote-rendering protocol, did not just reduce our operational costs, but more importantly made our infrastructure more secure, stable, and high-performing.” Balram Adlakha, vice president, Business Development, Uttam Energy

Industry: Oil and Gas
Geography: APAC
Country: India


Business Challenge:

Uttam Energy’s strategy was to build a highly secure and centrally controlled desktop environment for the company’s design team. The key elements in mind for its desired virtual desktop infrastructure included scalability, high-performance, and a cost-effectiveness.

Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops , Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers

Hardware:

Dell PowerEdge T716 – 16 core, 64 GB RAM, and 1.6TB of internal storage

Benefits:

With Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, the leading engineering firm has improved team productivity, increased application availability and flexibility, simplified system management and maintenance, lowered IT costs, and increased performance, all while avoiding vendor lock-in.

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Background:

Uttam Energy Tech is an engineering design and manufacturing company specializing in designing, developing, and manufacturing of advanced industrial boilers. An Uttam Group company, Uttam Energy Tech has designed boilers especially suitable for the power and utility needs of paper, sugar, vegetable oil, textile, chemical, and distillery industries. The firm#39;s state-of-the-art technology aided by continuous focus on quality, has helped the company develop a wide range of the world’s leading boilers. The firm has offices in several cities in India, with a main manufacturing facility in the city of Pune.

Business Challenge:

The quest for a secure and controlled environment
For a firm that develops a wide range of customized boilers for a variety of industries, the designing phase of the final product plays a key role in determining its quality, robustness, and flexibility. Therefore, it was essential for Uttam Energy Tech to create state-of-the-art engineering drawing designs of its product, while at the same time, protecting them from any kind of misuse or theft. “It was critical for us to somehow restrict access to the centralized file server where our custom-made designs are kept, preventing our designers from copying and storing design files locally,” said Balram Adlakha, vice president, Business Development at Uttam Energy Tech.

The previous state of the company’s system architecture did not provide a secure and controlled environment and created a risk of custom designs being misused. “We had standalone desktop PCs for the designers with AutoCAD for 2D and 3D designing of the boilers,” said Adlakha. All of the design files were kept in a centralized file server and the access to the files was controlled by Windows Access Control. “In such an environment, even though designers had the access only to the designated folders, there was no way we could prevent the storage of these designs locally,” said Adlakha.

Another major administrative issue that Uttam Energy Tech faced was the enormous effort being spent on the maintenance and administration of the Windows-based desktop PCs. “In our earlier environment, some of the PCs were always down due to various issues like virus attacks and hardware problems,” said Adlakha. It was impacting the overall productivity of the designing team, as reformatting and restoring the same desktop environment takes a significant amount of time. “To avoid all these issues, we wanted a system environment that could provide minimum downtime with minimal administrative overhead, and could also support our future migration strategy to Linux desktops” said Adlakha.

While the security, maintenance, and administration of the solution was critical, Uttam Energy Tech also wanted its designers to have the flexibility of working from any terminal and still be able to transparently access their applications and work files. “In short, we wanted to build an IT infrastructure that is secure, easier to manage with minimal administrative overhead, scalable to accommodate rapid growth, and also cost effective at the same time,” said Adlakha.

With security, maintainability, scalability, performance, and cost criteria in mind, Uttam Energy Tech IT team began evaluating various products in the virtualization space to help resolve their challenges. Uttam Energy Tech decided to migrate to a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), based on its secure architecture of storing virtualized desktops on centralized, controlled servers. “This architecture would also help us replace our costly physical desktop PC environment with low-cost, low-maintenance thin clients,” said Adlakha.

Additionally, there were a few key technical challenges to overcome for the Uttam Energy Tech team before implementing any desktop virtualization solution. One was their extensive use of AutoCAD 2008, a graphics-intensive application requiring 2D and 3D rendering with a high-resolution display for boiler designing. “The performance of the VDI solution was of paramount importance as it would directly impact the productivity of the designers,” said Adlakha. Since all centrally hosted desktop virtualization solutions leverage a remote network protocol for displaying of the desktop, performance evaluation of this network protocol became their top priority. Additionally, the performance factor became even more critical as all the designers would be working simultaneously throughout the day, creating a heavy set of workloads on the host servers.

Another key challenge was the need to utilize the local internal storage of their recently procured Dell PowerEdge T716 servers. Since they had not deployed a shared storage system as of yet, they needed to leverage the local drives of their new servers. Realizing that most enterprise solutions are limited to some type of shared storage system, this became a challenge to find a solution that would meet their overall solution requirements and leverage the local host server storage as the virtual machine datastore, yet scale to meet their needs as they grow.

Finally, as they quickly realized the compelling benefits to virtualization, they also were keen to find a virtualization solution that could also consolidate some of their physical server environments, as well as the designer desktops. “As we started looking at various desktop virtualization offerings, we were hoping to find something that could give us a combined solution for virtualizing our desktops, as well as our servers,” said Adlakha. Since most virtualization solutions offered two separate products for desktops and servers, each with their own individual infrastructure complexities, as well as their own associated costs, their ideal solution would provide a single, combined solution that could both host and manage virtualized desktops and servers from the same infrastructure, without the additional complexities and costs.

Solution:

Uttam Energy looks to Red Hat for its long-term virtualization strategy

To overcome these challenges, Uttam Energy Tech IT team selected Red Hat as its trusted technology partner and decided to build its virtualized infrastructure for desktops and servers using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. Red Hat’s partner Taashee Linux Services, a Linux and open source technology solution provider based in India, managed the implementation. Uttam Energy Tech also evaluated the latest product offerings from VMware, but the incredibly high costs for a combined solution of desktop and server virtualization immediately became prohibitive, leaving Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization as the clear option for the firm. “VMware’s offerings didn’t have any combined solution for desktop and server virtualization,” says Adlakha. “So, when one combines VMware’s offerings in server and desktop space, the cost becomes extremely high.” Adlaka continues,“Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization just made sense, as it provides a combined solution for virtualized desktops and servers, and is 70 percent less expensive than just the competitors desktop virtualization product.”

Uttam Energy Tech ran a proof of concept with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0, and was was highly impressed by the virtual desktop features, the SPICE remote-rendering protocol, and of course the ability to run and manage both server and desktop virtual machines from the same management interface. “I heard very positive reviews of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 from advanced users so we decided to give it a try,” said Adlakha. As Taashee’s team implemented the Uttam Energy Tech' proof of concept infrastructure, the design team simultaneously started testing with thin clients to access their Windows virtual desktops.

The new Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 environment beat everyone’s expectations regarding performance. It has the option to use the local storage of the server, and the performance of the SPICE remote-rendering protocol was excellent, even when all users were working together and rendering complex drawings simultaneously. “The sheer performance of the overall solution and the SPICE protocol surprised us all,” says Adlakha. Taashee received a strong offline support from Red Hat’s technical team, ensuring a smooth implementation. “Red Hat backed us completely during Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 implementation,” said Adlakha. “Additionally, the referential help from Red Hat was always there.”

Currently, a part of the Uttam Energy Tech Pune office has been utilizing Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops. “In the first phase, we implemented the desktop virtualization solution for our designers,” said Adlakha. “These virtualized desktops are running on the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor, which runs on our Dell servers. About a month into the implementation, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 has illustrated incredible stability and robustness to handle the system load. To date, we have experienced near zero downtime of the systems, significantly improving our productivity,” said Adlakha.

Benefits:

Cutting-edge virtualization technology adds tremendous value to Uttam Energy’s infrastructure

“With Red Hat’s cutting-edge virtualization technology, along with its incredible remote network protocol, we were able to extract tremendous value from our applications,” says Adlakha. “Red Hat freed us from vendor lock-in and enabled the organization to utilize our existing server infrastructure, delivering flexibility and high performance,” said Adlakha.

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 also provided Uttam Energy Tech with lower IT costs, simplified management, reduced systems maintenance, and increased scalability and performance, while using the graphically-intensive application, AutoCAD 2008. “Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization allows you to extract more from your systems enabling business growth,” said Adlakha.

“The business impact of the 3.0 implementation is huge,” said Adlakha. Uttam Energy Tech could now implement a secured and controlled environment for its designers to work and the solution has provided almost native performance for its designers. “This was especially critical for CAD/CAM workloads as the graphical applications require very high bandwidth,” said Adlakha.

Uttam Energy Tech also experienced a highly stable environment since implementation, with near zero downtime. “This has not just improved the productivity of designers multifold, but additionally reduced our maintenance efforts significantly,” said Adlakha. Additionally, with the new thin client setup, even if one of the thin clients goes down, the work continues, as the designer can access their virtualized desktops from any other terminal. “This was unthinkable in our earlier setup,” said Adlakha.

The Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 implementation also proved to be quite cost effective for Uttam Energy Tech. “Including our thin client setup, we are cutting our hardware costs alone by more than 50 percent,” said Adlakha. The firm also saved greatly on maintenance and administration costs as the environment is now secured from any kind of virus attacks, no longer requiring time consuming rebuilds of their desktops.

In the future, Uttam Energy Tech plans to convert all of its physical desktop PC's in its Pune office into virtualized desktops using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops 3.0.

“Except for the designers desktops, which will continue using virtualized Windows desktop, our other teams such as sales, human resources, and administration, plan to move to virtualized Linux desktops, migrating away from Windows,” said Adlakha. “Once we are comfortable with the virtualized environment in our Pune office, we plan to replicate the same setup in all of our other offices.”

In summary, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization provided Uttam Energy Tech with a secure and stable virtualization solution at an affordable price with exceptional performance. “Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and the SPICE remote-rendering protocol, did not just reduce our operational costs, but more importantly made our infrastructure more secure, stable, and high-performing, helping us to build an ideal infrastructure platform for the future,” said Adlakha.

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