Client case: Seneca
'LeaseWeb is very knowledgeable about virtualisation. We are extremely happy with our collaboration with LeaseWeb'
Responsible for Seneca’s hosting department
- Dedicated hosting
- Knowledge of and experience with VMware
- Fast switching options
- Storage environment
- Big Dell stocks
A virtualised hosting environment based on the VMware ESX platform (2 x VMware ESX). Seneca has built the platform in collaboration with LeaseWeb and using their knowledge-intensive support.
The company uses the LeaseWeb Storage Platform that is shared by customers for their storage needs. LeaseWeb also supplies a Dell Server Environment and Cisco Network Environment and handles the management of the equipment and infrastructure.
Seneca has migrated its hosting environment at LeaseWeb to a VMware-based virtual environment. "We have excellent experiences with LeaseWeb. They are very skilled people that allow us to adapt quickly, also in terms of VMware knowledge exchange."
Seneca is the ICT service provider for effective solutions in the field of web technology and electronic services. Seneca targets the larger, leading organisations in the Benelux in which service, via the web, plays a strategic role. To this end, Seneca supplies high-quality content management-related products and services to support its customers’ communication, interaction and transaction processes. A Microsoft Gold Partner, Seneca supplies Smartsite, a Content Management System (CMS) that the company developed in-house. Seneca’s customer base includes such clients as BOVAG, Sint Lucas Andreas Ziekenhuis, and municipalities like Leidschendam-Voorburg, Hengelo and Hoorn.
VIRTUAL DEDICATED SERVER
"LeaseWeb offered us the opportunity to set up a VMware based virtualisation platform by thinking along with us and collaborating on building the hosting solution," says Jeroen Bezemer, who is responsible for Seneca B.V.’s hosting department. "LeaseWeb also helped us with a budget problem by taking back a number of physical dedicated servers. LeaseWeb’s flexible attitude allowed us to buy sufficient new dedicated servers for VMware’s ESX platform. We are extremely happy with our collaboration with LeaseWeb."
Seneca considers virtualisation to be the future of hosting. By now, about half of the 50 physical dedicated servers for Seneca customers has already been migrated to the virtual hosting environment. Says Bezemer, "Fortunately LeaseWeb is very knowledgeable about virtualisation. Through this platform, we can realise much better hosting scalability for our customers. We can provide more memory, more processor capacity to customers much faster than before. And it’s easier to handle a failure of dedicated servers as well. The VMware hosting platform enables us to switch a virtual dedicated server to another server very quickly without interrupting or slowing down the application."
INVESTMENT VIRTUAL HOSTING
Initially, Seneca felt that the investment needed for virtual hosting was rather steep. "Two years ago, we felt that we would not be able to implement virtualisation due to the licensing fees and the costs for heavier hardware," explains Bezemer. "But the investment in virtual hosting actually resulted in savings with respect to the necessary hardware. We were able to convert those savings into higher availability for customers by building in more redundancy and making higher SLAs. So it has improved our service. Once we have migrated completely, we will have done more than reduce the physical server pool significantly. VMware also means that we do not need a licence for every processor. A data center licence suffices, which means that we also make a return on the investment costs."
According to Bezemer, existing Seneca customers will experience little trouble as a result of the migration to the virtual hosting platform, which runs in the CO2-neutral EvoSwitch data center (www.evoswitch.com). "Such a virtualisation process takes no more than two days, so it’s pretty fast. We will have to move a few dedicated servers from the old data center to EvoSwitch, but the virtualisation itself is a fairly automated process. A little configuration is necessary for the virtualised dedicated servers, but that is not very complex and quickly done. After that, it is pretty much a copy of your physical dedicated servers."
MUNICIPALITIES: HENGELO, HOORN AND LEIDSCHENDAM-VOORBURG
About 80 percent of the web environments hosted by Seneca via LeaseWeb are for small and medium-sized townships like Westland, Leidschendam-Voorburg and Hoorn. "Larger cities generally have their own IT organisation that is big enough to host the application in their own infrastructure," explains Bezemer. "We only supply hosting to our customers in combination with our content management system Smartsite. Hosting is not a core operation for us, but we do want to offer our customers a total picture. That means that we also want to deliver a hosting environment in line with the application."
For storage, Seneca uses the storage platform based on Netapp. LeaseWeb built this platform for shared use by its customers. "The advantage is that we do not have to acquire Netapp knowledge," says Bezemer. "And we do not have to buy the equipment. LeaseWeb maintains the platform and the contracts with the supplier and makes sure that the available Netapp knowledge is up-to-date. We don’t have to worry about that. Plus we benefit from LeaseWeb’s advantage of scale when buying storage products."
At this time, Seneca uses two hosting partners. However, by the end of 2008 virtually all of its hosting needs will have been transferred to LeaseWeb. "Our original partner was increasingly unable to comply with our wishes, particularly in the field of account management, due to takeovers and reorganisations. Deliveries took longer and longer and they did not respond to our requests for upgrades. And LeaseWeb was doing better and better. Which is why we are now transferring all hosting to LeaseWeb. They are much more adaptable."