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Sirtex Medical adopts Microsoft Server Virtualisation technology

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Sirtex Medical is a publicly listed Australian organisation operating within the highly specialised field of medical research and development. It is a medium sized business that has been growing at a rate of approximately 40 % annually for the past half decade.

As demand on the company’s ageing IT infrastructure grew, performance and reliability started to become issues. The Sydney data centre, which supports all of Sirtex’s international operations, began to experience a number of failures each week. The servers were responsible for delivering core applications including Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint and Citrix which enabled remote and international staff to access the systems.

Faced with the need to replace a number of servers, they decided to instigate a complete IT infrastructure review.

They were keen to investigate whether a virtualisation strategy would be suitable for Sirtex. Virtualisation is a process that involves tapping into unused computing capacity, spreading demand across all available servers. It’s an effective way of reducing the need for numerous separate physical hardware boxes, and of reducing the resources and space required to support the computing environment.

They approached Sirtex’s IT service provider, Professional Advantage , to seek advice. Professional Advantage was well acquainted with Sirtex’s IT environment, having assisted in the deployment of the Microsoft Dynamics AX core systems four years earlier.

Professional Advantage agreed that creating virtual servers would deliver the reliability, redundancy and flexibility that Sirtex was looking for. It recommended a solution based on Microsoft Server Virtualisation technology.

Implementation involved the replacement of five old physical servers with 3 new host servers running 12 virtual servers, including a separate 2-node Microsoft SQL Server cluster, utilising fast shared storage. The new hardware was deployed within the same cabinet as the original servers, providing the required system expansion without demanding additional physical space. Thorough planning helped to ensure a fairly seamless deployment of the new technology and provided an opportunity to review the organisation’s application requirements.

Darren Smith, Sirtex Chief Financial Officer sees virtualisation as the first step in Sirtex’s renewed IT strategy. “It has provided us with the groundwork from which we can start to move forward.” Next, he plans to review and bring greater consistency to desktop hardware before finally reviewing and streamlining applications.

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