Inside Telstra's Virtualisation Strategy

Inside Telstra's Virtualisation Strategy

Need to cut infrastructure costs driving the strategy

Telstra is increasingly turning to virtualisation as its core strategy to both manage the rising costs of -- and growth in -- its data centres, according the company’s CIO, John McInerney.

Running for the best part of five years, Telstra’s virtualisation program has seen a steady evolution from server farms based on utilisation software through to the latest in server and desktop virtualisation.

Where once the focus was on bringing product to market more quickly, the rising costs of infrastructure management have seen virtualisation come to the fore in the last six months as an additional way for Telstra to trim its IT costs, McInerney says.

“Our virtualisation program, like for most organisations, is a critical way of driving costs down,” he says. “Most organisations these days are trying to deal with incredibly demanding data centre growth requirements, and the fact that data centres are extremely expensive to run from an overall cost perspective.”

According to McInerney, Telstra’s confidence in virtualisation is largely due to the noticeable maturation in the technology. Virtualisation is now mature enough, he says, for Telstra to embark on a migration program for all its x86-based server platforms -- up to 800 systems -- to virtualisation.

“It’s a fairly big program, and we are doing it in a fairly aggressive timeframe, because we believe that the software, from a migration perspective, is more mature than what it was two years ago,” McInerney says.

Tooling up

In addition to reducing costs, virtualisation has led to improvements around compatibility and the quality of management tools, McInerney says. Where management tools were once narrowly focused, the ability to manage applications running on a range of various operating systems is now a reality.

“Compatibility issues seem to be being solved as we move forward. . . and the toolsets available in the market place have come a long way, so there are now some real benefits in deploying them,” he says.

“One of the key things for us is in being able to pre-provision, and effectively bring applications into that space faster. The pre-provisioning tools, the overall management tools -- how we actually bring in new infrastructure -- are vastly better than they were two years ago. Most vendors are now bundling these toolsets as part of their core offering. They weren’t doing that two years ago.”

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