December 11, 2006
IBM announced that cellular telephone
provider T-Mobile Direct has implemented IBM virtualization technology
to simplify the management of technology resources for its retail
stores, helping save the company thousands of dollars per month in data
center and personnel costs, according to IBM.
T-Mobile Direct, which oversees the growing retail network, telesales and online activities of T-Mobile, the UK network for Deutsche Telekom, was tasked with more than doubling the number of UK retail stores from 128 to 303 stores within one year. With the expected rise in sales volumes at its retail stores, T-Mobile Direct needed to increase the capacity and performance of core business systems, while simultaneously easing its IT management infrastructure.
To help address this challenge, T-Mobile Direct selected IBM and IBM Premier Business Partner Triangle to create a virtualization solution to help transform business operations, including transactional store data. Through the management of virtual resources as well as partitioning of technology, T-Mobile was able to automate business processes, boost application performance and reduce rack space by 25 percent.
IBM virtualization software will help manage more than 2,000 systems in the T-Mobile retail stores as well as one IBM System i 570 server running six virtual partitions. These virtualization technologies complement the current IBM point of sale solutions in each of the T-Mobile stores.
One of T-Mobile's infrastructure components is the IBM Enterprise Workload Manager (EWLM) which automatically monitors processor utilization on the IBM System i 570 and redistributes workloads as required. EWLM is part of IBM's virtualization portfolio, and T-Mobile uses the product to optimize its daily processing of transactions to and from the stores. Even with the addition of new stores, the new technology will continue to help the company complete its daily data processing reporting in 30 minutes across its stores.
For example, EWLM locates spare processor resources, moves those resources over to the server partition in question and moves them back when complete. This allows the hardware to manage itself for optimal performance, while allowing IT administrators to focus their efforts elsewhere.
In addition to EWLM, T-Mobile has begun to deploy IBM Director, IBM Remote Management Agent and the Virtualization Engine Console for complete management of point-of-sale solutions as well as servers. The IBM Virtualization Engine Console and IBM Director, running on the IBM System i 570 server, replaced the existing storage polling solution, providing complete management, monitoring and reporting across all 2,000 devices in the T-Mobile retail stores. IBM Remote Management Agent software enables T-Mobile to achieve end-to-end store system management of retail devices and applications.
"As one of the world's largest mobile operators with around 80 million customers worldwide, T-Mobile understands the value of leveraging enterprise-wide virtualization and management software to help simplify their entire infrastructure -- from each retail store to its datacenter," said Rich Lechner, vice president of virtualization at IBM. "IBM's industry leadership in retail solutions, combined with 40 years of innovation in virtualization and systems management, provides customers with a flexible and robust infrastructure to help them grow their business."
"IBM virtualization technologies have helped T-Mobile become more efficient," said Paul Baucutt, technical support manager or retail systems, T-Mobile Direct. "The solutions have allowed us to create a highly available, easily manageable infrastructure with a single point of control. In the three months since the implementation, the simplified architecture has already offered improved performance, as well as cost savings, and has proved that it is capable of supporting our ongoing growth."
"Working closely with IBM and T-Mobile, we were able to develop a one-of-a-kind solution to fit T-Mobile's growing needs," said Kevin Drew, managing director at Triangle, an IBM business partner. "By integrating the combination of IBM's System i and virtualization technology, we were able to help T-Mobile prepare for a sustained increase in retail expansion and growth."
The IBM System i is an integrated platform with built-in security, virus-resistance, database and storage on one easily managed system that helps contain cost by simultaneously supporting four different operating systems, including the i5/OS. The IBM System i 570 platform at T-Mobile Direct includes six IBM POWER5 microprocessors, running five i5/OS partitions for core business systems such as store replenishment and customer databases, and three Linux partitions for email applications. A sixth i5/OS partition manages the Windows integration environment that allows T-Mobile Direct to easily manage four IBM System x360 servers and two IBM System x365 servers through the System i.
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