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Industrial Clothing revolutionises IT infrastructure for competitive advantage

Sep 22, 2011 5:38:25 PM - www.ft.lk

Industrial Clothing Limited (ICL) is one of Sri Lanka’s leading manufacturers of premium quality protective gloves used in a multitude of industries including automotive, medical, chemical, food processing, household and many more.
As a B2B company seeking to lead its way in a highly competitive market, Industrial Clothing is on a continuous mission to improve its internal processes in order to strengthen its focus on core business functions that gives it a unique competitive edge.

In a recent move in this endeavour, the company revolutionised its IT infrastructure and switched from its conventional 20 server IT network to a virtualisation platform powered by Windows Server 2008, enabling it to maintain a distinctive edge with reduced cost and faster turnaround time.
With this move ICL joins the elite group of organisations which are incorporating virtualisation into their IT infrastructures because of the potential to drive IT costs down.
By consolidating servers, companies are seeking to lower costs for hardware and labour-related server management. Fewer servers also translate into reduced cost for data centre space, and for power and cooling. Many organisations also save money by using virtualisation to ensure application compatibility, which eliminates the need for resource-intensive testing and installation processes.
Virtualisation also helps make IT much more efficient. Servers, operating systems and applications can be provisioned in a fraction of the time previously required, so that end users can get the resources they need when they need them. High availability solutions help ensure that resources are always available and consistently reliable, which can result in drastic improvements in business continuity, therefore, productivity.
On the other hand, organisations use virtualisation to make their businesses much more agile. With dynamic data centres and desktops, IT can respond very quickly to evolving business, market and user needs.
With Microsoft, a virtualised infrastructure consists of the three computing layers already present in an IT infrastructure: hardware, operating system and applications. Virtualisation works by pooling resources to accomplish the same tasks with fewer servers and combines the work done by several servers by using one ‘hypervisor’ that is able to handle all tasks in a timely and efficient manner.
Windows Server includes the Hyper-v role and thereby avoids adding a fourth infrastructure layer exclusively for virtualisation that can increase the complexity of their IT infrastructure which can also result in increased support costs, especially if an integrated management solution is not in place.
Microsoft’s Hyper-v Virtualisation decreases the number of physical servers utilised by replacing them with virtual servers or virtual machines (VM) that emulate a physical computer. These VMs unlike their hardware versions use operating systems to substitute each server being replaced and runs several servers simultaneously on one physical server (similar to several programmes running simultaneously on an operating system), thus reducing the number of servers used.
The Hypervisor determines the processing power of the combined VMs and allocates each task a portion of its computing power that needs to be carried out regularly by the ICL’s IT system.
With the implementation of the Windows Server 2008, ICL was able to deploy new features that both enhanced efficiency and reduced costs; the Hyper-v, for example, has an updated management interface and includes powerful new features, in particular, Live Migration, which allows IT managers to move server workloads to different physical hosts in seconds and without interruption of service.
Other capabilities delivered by Windows Server 2008 allow a quick and easy response for the ever changing front-line business requirements. Tasks that usually took IT administrators at ICL weeks to complete due to multiple server updates that also ran the risk of down times or service interruptions can now be performed in less than 30 minutes using the new Remote Desktop Services and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure technologies in Windows Server 2008 R2.
Other features of the platform which include Web resources and management enhancements permit the IT team at ICL to run a single, simplified Web server across multiple app platforms. The updated Server Manager Console and Windows PowerShell 2.0, work on top of these new feature platforms to give greater control than ever before.
The administration tools address ease of management and custom automation of common tasks. The virtualisation capabilities invested in by ICL enable rapid response to changes in demand for virtualised workloads—without interruption of service, allowing them to implement IT best practices that are adopted by world-class manufacturing firms of same size across the globe.
“At the end of the day, the crux of any new technology is to contribute towards the overall efficiency and convenience of any organisation or individual and our Hyper-v Virtualisation platform accomplishes that in numerous ways, which includes very straightforward benefits such as cost cutting, reducing problems and errors within the IT system, etc.,” said Harsha Randeny, Partner Technology Advisor of Microsoft Sri Lanka.
“Hyper-v Virtualisation has the ability to calculate and determine and allot the necessary computing power to its virtual servers to ensure maximum performance. It’s almost like hiring a project manager who overlooks an entire team of employees and makes sure that the work load is equally divided among his employees and ensures that each one works only the hours necessary to get their jobs done so that overworking and resource wastage is prevented.”
The benefits of a Hyper-v Virtualisation solution are not limited to solely a reduction of physical servers but also the system’s ability to determine the percentage of power necessary to conduct daily tasks over long periods of time, enabling efficiency since the power used on a certain task such as the email exchange will be increased during periods of high e-mail traffic and reduced accordingly, making this process extremely effective and efficient.
“We’ve noticed a marked difference within our internal IT system during the past few months since we initiated the Hyper-v Virtualisation solution. Apart from not experiencing any system breakdowns which we have come to expect with any server migration or upgrade scenarios, we have greatly reduced our IT overheads since we no longer use a large number of Ethernet cables but allow the Hyper-v integration service to handle all the servers in the network,” stated Sumedha Gunaratne, Head of Group IT at Industrial Clothing Limited.
“The system was extremely easy to install and has been easy to handle and maintain. This technology allows us to remotely take care of time-consuming and irksome manual labour of maintaining a network of servers in our company’s IT system so that we can work on achieving our business goals instead.”
The cost savings derived with the implementation of Windows Server 2008 include streamlined management, less reliance on expensive third-party software, more scalable application serving and lowered WAN bandwidth costs. ICL has seen server consolidation rates up to 3-to-1 as well as up to an 80% decrease in IT man-hours spent on routine administrative tasks like file system management.
The Virtualisation platform has helped the organisation greatly lower its energy consumption, with the reduced number of physical servers required and lessened the space required to house the IT infrastructure and optimised their 24-hour information systems.
“Industrial Clothing as a top-notch multinational manufacturing firm is poised for tremendous growth over the coming years, and with this move the company is setting itself leagues ahead of other players in the field by concentrating on what matters most in their line of business. Working with ICL is another case of Greenwich’s ability to deliver scalable and affordable IT solutions aligned to its customers’ business objectives. It was a great opportunity to work with a far-sighted customer who wants to maximise the benefits of this novel technology,” commented Suran Fonseka, CEO of Greenwich Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., who was the implementation partner for Industrial Clothing who also played a key role in delivering the maximum value for the investment made by the customer which is one of the key success factors in technology deployments in any scenario.
One of the key advantages for organisations such as Industrial Clothing which may already have an investment in tools, personnel, and processes that are based on Microsoft products is that they can save even more by deploying Windows Server 2008. This enables organisations to integrate virtualisation into existing tools, personnel, and processes where by directly contribute to saving management, software, and training costs. Read more on the many benefits of Hyper-v Virtualisation solution and Windows Server 2008 at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/hyperv-main.aspx.

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