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U21Global Leverages Virtualization with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5

U21Global graduate school adopts Red Hat Enterprise Linux with integrated virtualization to scale their growing business

Red Hat announced that U21Global migrated to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 with integrated virtualization to implement a solution that could scale with growing business needs. It selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux to leverage its built-in virtualization technology in order to reduce its hardware footprint and increase operational flexibility.

U21Global offers globally recognized graduate programs. To deliver high-quality, dynamic and interactive academic content, U21Global relies on a powerful IT infrastructure to provide high levels of availability for its online programs.

U21Global's datacenter is located at its global headquarters in Singapore. It provides IT services to its students around the world, while simultaneously supporting the business-critical function of development and staging of courseware. Courseware developers, faculty members of affiliated universities and quality assurance professionals access the datacenter resources to develop content and carry out user-acceptance tests and certification.

In 2008, rapid business growth put pressure on the graduate school to scale its infrastructure to keep pace with user demands on its development and staging platform. At the same time, existing servers were also due for maintenance renewals. The cost of new hardware and renewals was substantial, causing U21Global to look for an alternative solution that could deliver a robust enterprise platform while also offering cost savings, reliability, ease of management and scalability.

U21Global decided to assess how virtualization solutions could help it address its cost, scalability and system management challenges and evaluated three virtualization options.

"We selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux with virtualization for its cost-effectiveness, enterprise support, ease-of-management and flexibility," said Caven Yip, systems engineer at U21Global. "We trust Red Hat virtualization because it delivers immediate, real benefits to U21Global. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, we met our goals for a high-performance virtualization implementation that is stable, reliable, scalable and secure."

Looking to expand its virtualization best practices, U21Global's Red Hat virtualization solution was installed with the help of Red Hat Consulting. With Red Hat Consulting, U21Global was able to implement its Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtualization solution more quickly than had been anticipated at the beginning of the project.

U21Global also utilizes Red Hat Network, an easy-to-use systems management platform, to help the company keep its open source environment up-to-date and to help efficiently manage its physical and virtual servers. The system enables U21Global's IT team to view the status of its servers at all times and allows the company to download important patches, configuration changes and updates as they become available through Red Hat's subscription service.

"Virtualization presented a great cost-saving solution. By migrating a number of our physical servers to virtual servers, we were able to reduce the number of servers in the datacenter, increase utilization rates and reduce power consumption," said Yip. "If we had not implemented virtualization, we would have spent $24,000 on three new servers and continued to incur the cost of annual maintenance for the original ten servers."

With its previous deployment, the IT staff needed to back up an old server before they could transition its applications to a new physical server. This was a tedious process requiring approximately two days. Virtual servers eliminated that entire process. And before implementing virtualization, U21Global's IT team had to connect remotely to the server or access the console directly in order to manage the system.

"We have been using open source technologies since 2002 and have tried many different Linux distributions," said Yip. "Today, we use Red Hat Enterprise Linux because of the enhanced security, the platform's robustness and the flexibility of the operating system. We also enjoy very reliable Red Hat support."

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