VMWorld 2011: The business case for cloud computing

By Georgina Swan, CIO Australia |  Cloud Computing, VMware

Consona's Milt Volosyn is used to mergers and acquisitions (M&As). As CIO for the software and services company, he is responsible for managing about 14 different software products for business-critical tasks such as ERP, financing and marketing services and support.

"Think in terms of 14 different software companies with one IT department," he told delegates at VMWare's VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas.

"We were in a constant growth mode so we were continuously running out of disk space and what we did have was difficult to manage because of the significant number and size of requests."

Consona Corporation's infrastructure is made up of about 3400 virtual servers sitting on more than 200 physical servers. The organisation operates five data centres around the world and has about 550 users.

"It is all tied together with a MPLS network and we have been virtualizing our services for three years," Volosyn said.

Being virtualized has also helped the organisation manage the companies it has purchased through M&A activity. But Volosyn and his team quickly realised it is not the total answer.

"With the advent of the Cloud we could see a great opportunity for flexibility," he said.

"Today all our company data centres are largely virtualized on the VMWare platform and we have several Cloud vendors that we use as appropriate."

Consona runs most of its major production applications, such as financial and services software, within its virtual data centre, as well as several applications that support the interface.

"They are mostly predictable in size and usage and, in many cases, the software isn't suitable for the Cloud or not Cloud ready," Volosyn said.

"When we buy companies we inherit software and it can take some time to convert."

But the company does run its own CRM system in the Cloud; if you have used VMware's knowledgebase software, you are already familiar with the product.

"The knowledge base for VMware is our software," Volosyn said.

"We are in a unique position in that not only are we a customer of VMware, they're a customer of ours."

The company doesn't develop its products on any single platform and, as such, it has diverse needs and requirements -- a situation that made the take-up of Cloud computing a practicality.

"Most importantly, I see the Cloud as an important aspect of disaster recovery," Volosyn said.

"Obviously it is not practical to back up everything in the data centre to Cloud but, if you can identify the important software and that which creates revenue and, in our case, the source code of 14 different product, it represents a big chunk of data that is very important to running our business.

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