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Hosting Company Gains Competitive Advantage with Scalable, Reliable Platform

June 12, 2014 in Shinjiru Tip Sharing by Derrick Koo

Malaysia-based hosting company, Shinjiru, was looking at ways to become more competitive in the increasingly fragmented hosting market. They wanted to differentiate themselves by offering exactly what their customers wanted: enhanced tenant self-service capabilities, better scalability, as well as efficient cloud and datacenter management/orchestration capabilities.

To support this, in 2013, Shinjiru migrated from its existing virtualization platform to Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V.

Business Needs

Shinjiru is a Malaysia-based hosting service provider with a global client base. To keep attracting clients, the company needed to give customers maximum control over their servers, while at the same time making them scalable and easy to update. The company began operating with a Linux-based hosting platform, but by 2013, managers believed this technology was constraining its ability to grow.

“Shinjiru needs to provide an open and scalable hosting platform because that’s the current client trend,” says Adam Lee, Product Manager at Shinjiru. “Clients want flexibility to scale their server resources as needed in order to control costs and meet business demands. With our existing hosting platform we couldn’t give them truly cutting-edge capabilities.”

To improve services, Lee experimented with VMware, and few open source virtualization platforms. Also, the existing platform was not only making customer licensing more complex for Shinjiru, and it was also creating issues for the Shinjiru IT staff. Specifically, they found that patching as well as updating the operating system on customer servers hosted on the current platform was highly challenging, and sometimes resulted in system failures.

Shinjiru also wanted a server platform that would increase self-service capabilities, and support popular new service offerings, such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and disaster recovery services. Besides Microsoft technologies, they had to support multiple open source technologies, including Apache, PHP and MySQL. Above all, the solution had to provide a cost-effective method for managing virtualized environments across multiple datacenters.

Solution

As the company researched options, staff members noticed a marked technology shift among their clients. “We saw that more and more enterprises were moving towards Microsoft,” says Shaun Lim, Chief Technical Officer, Shinjiru. “We decided to pilot the virtualization technology, Microsoft Hyper-V—which is in Windows Server 2012 R2—and compare it to Parallels Virtuozzo.

To help with the pilot and subsequent migration, Shinjiru engaged Enfrasys, a Microsoft Gold partner for Management and Virtualization in Malaysia. Drawing from their experience dealing with the unique needs of service providers, Enfrasys delivered consulting services to assess the readiness of the Shinjiru infrastructure and help plan migration. Shinjiru also received helpful documentation and training about the Hyper-V environment from Microsoft.

To manage the Windows Server 2012 R2 environment, Shinjiru used Microsoft System Center 2012 R2. This provides the IT staff with a unified tool for managing datacenter infrastructure across all the company’s datacenters.

Benefits

By switching from a Linux virtualization platform to Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V, Shinjiru will be able to expand its hosted offerings, increase its competitive advantage and make its infrastructure more efficient and easier to manage.

Increased Efficiency

The ability to support 64 nodes and 8,000 virtual machines in a single cluster, and perform live migrations, has dramatically increased the efficiency of Shinjiru infrastructure. “High server scalability, high availability and unlimited virtualization make it much easier for us to meet the changing needs of our clients,” says Lee.

Openness to Multiple Technologies

Non-Microsoft guest operating systems like Linux are treated as first class citizens on Hyper-V. By moving to the Microsoft platform, Shinjiru will be able to support the customer’s choice of technology – be it Microsoft or open source, be it a host OS or a guest OS.

Expanded Range of Services

Shinjiru can also offer new services to clients, which will generate additional revenue, increase client retention, and strengthen competitive advantage. These include hosted Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Lync and Desktop as a Service. In addition, a self-service portal based on the Microsoft Windows Azure Pack gives clients the vitally important ability to manage and update their own resources such as virtual machines, databases, websites, etc.

Improved Disaster Recovery

With the Hyper-V Replica feature, Shinjiru can provide clients with affordable and straightforward disaster recovery capabilities. With asynchronous replication of virtual machines over a network, Shinjiru technical staff can also recover business functions during downtime with minimal or no loss of data.

Platform for Future Growth

By switching its hosting service from a Linux- to a Windows-based platform, Shinjiru has built the foundations for highly competitive growth. “Over the next two years, we want to be recognised as one of the best—if not the best—hosting companies in Malaysia,” says Jeffrey Khow, Sales Director, Shinjiru. “Virtualizing with Hyper-V is an important first step in reaching that goal.”