Directi is an innovative mass-market web product development company serving customers across the globe. Established in 1998, the combined product portfolio of various Directi businesses includes communication and collaboration apps, social networking software, instant messaging, context analysis engines, anti-spam and anti-virus solutions, large scale billing and provisioning platforms, and traffic monetisation solutions.
Directi has more than 800 employees and is growing at over 120 percent per annum. It has a customer base of over 1 million people and a network of more than 50,000 partners.
As legacy infrastructure, Directi had 70-80 rack and tower physical servers, that were obsolete and the company was experiencing high operational expenditure. The infrastructure was unable to match the fast-pace growth of the company.
“As we were developing all our applications internally, the company was recruiting developers in large numbers. The applications that were being developed needed to be tested in a production environment and that demanded more servers,” said Irshad Ahamed, Senior Team Lead for IT at Directi.
Adding new servers would have escalated the already burgeoning operational costs both with regard to maintenance and power consumption. To deal with these bottlenecks, the company decided to implement a virtualization solution.
Irshad, along with Samuel Pereira, Manager - IT at Directi, were looking for a virtualization solution that could offer ease of operation, provide a central management facility and be implemented all in one go. The evaluation process saw Citrix and VMware up against each other. Directi eventually chose the Citrix solution over VMware.
“We evaluated both Citrix and VMware. During the evaluation process, VMware and Citrix both proved to be equally good. However, the balance finally tilted in favour of Citrix as its solution offered similar functionality but was more cost-effective,” said Irshad.
The stress testing and capacity planning of Citrix XenServer gave satisfactory results and addresses Directi’s requirements. The company eventually implemented Citrix XenServer 6.0. Since it’s deployment, Directi has not faced a single issue with Citrix XenServer. However the company has had to work hard to convince the internal users to use it.
“We entered into discussions with Citrix in May-June last year and we purchased the solution in November-December. It took us some time to convince the developers and internal team members on the advantages of the solution. It also took time to prepare a list of all the physical servers that had to be migrated to the virtualized environment,” commented Irshad.
Citrix XenServer is running on five servers and delivering applications such as Active Directory, My SQL, Apache and Java-based applications.
One feature that the Directi team especially likes about virtualization is the ability to get a snapshot of what is happening at any one time.
“Before it was either impossible or expensive to take a reliable back up of virtual machines from the virtualization hypervisors. We have been able to overcome this challenge with Citrix XenServer. We can now take snapshots of live servers without the need to shut them down and also send these snapshots, including the hard drive data, to a template file,” commented Irshad.
Citrix XenServer has enabled Directi to reduce its power consumption dramatically. This is done by consolidating virtual machines on fewer hosts and shutting down the under-utilised servers. With fewer servers running during off-peak hours, the company has managed to reduce the costs usually associated with powering a datacentre.
Directi has also witnessed an increase in network throughput, since the deployment of Citrix XenServer.
“The throughput has increased and the applications can now be accessed much faster. The deployment of any machine is now also much faster,” said Irshad.
The ease of operation and the centralised management has enabled Directi to focus on core business issues rather than on thinking about managing the infrastructure.
Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) is a leading provider of virtual computing solutions that help companies deliver IT as an on-demand service. Founded in 1989, Citrix combines virtualization, networking and cloud computing technologies into a full portfolio of products that enable virtual workstyles for users and virtual datacenters for IT. More than 230,000 organizations worldwide rely on Citrix to help them build simpler and more cost-effective IT environments. Citrix partners with over 10,000 companies in more than 100 countries. Annual revenue in 2010 was $1.87 billion.
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