Thanks to virtualization, Groep Uitgeverij Averbode benefits from an IT environment with lower TCO and more flexibility. Monin – an Uptime Group company – performed Averbode’s upgrade to Oracle VM 3 and supports the environment through its portfolio of managed services.
Groep Uitgeverij Averbode is a leading group of educational publishing companies. The company is located in the Belgian village with the same name and has strong ties to Averbode Abbey. For several decades already, the group is the undisputed market leader for educational magazines in Belgium, both in Dutch and in French, for children between 2 and 15 years of age. Next to the magazine business, Groep Uitgeverij Averbode also publishes educational books – both for students and teachers, in Dutch and French – for primary and secundary school, as well as for adult education, and successfully launched an educational business line that combines children’s books with children’s tv programmes. Furthermore, Groep Uitgeverij Averbode acts as a distributor for well-known international educational publishers, such as Didier, Hatier, Hachette and Mary Glasgow Magazines. Groep Uitgeverij Averbode has about 100 employees. To support its international activities, the group has offices in The Netherlands and France.
Groep Uitgeverij Averbode’s IT environment is centrally managed from the group’s headquarters and supported by an IT team of 4 employees. As with most publishing houses, Groep Uitgeverij Averbode’s IT team supports a mixed environment: Mac for graphical design and media-related activities, Windows for administration and other departments. “Our IT set-up is based on redundancy, guaranteed by a double data center lay-out”, said Johnny Siongers, ICT Manager at Groep Uitgeverij Averbode. “The primary data center is operational, the secondary one acts as disaster recovery location. At these two data centers, we have 4 physical machines, running virtual servers on VMware, combined with NetApp storage.” Next to that, each data center houses an extra server running Oracle Virtual Machine (VM), as host of Oracle Database (DB) and Oracle Internet Application Server (IAS).
Limited number of licenses
“We have two physical systems running”, Siongers continued, “but we only need to license one. Besides that, Oracle VM is dedicated – by design – to offer the best fit for virtual Oracle applications.” That explains Groep Uitgeverij Averbode’s long history with both Oracle VM and VMware for the virtualization of its IT environment. “When our previous IT partner decided to suspend its support, we had to find a way to continue working with Oracle VM.” That’s when Monin came to the rescue. “We had been in touch with several other companies of the Uptime Group, for the implementation of NetApp and VMware, among other things. We were happy to find Oracle VM expertise within the Uptime Group through Monin.” First of all, Monin performed a hardware update, installing new disks and rolling out new backup procedures. “Before going live with the new disks, we set up a large testing database”, Siongers continued. “It all needed to be installed from scratch, including Oracle VM. Monin implemented the testing environment on the secondary server, at the disaster recovery site. After successful testing, the production migration was performed. Adding the new disks, installing the new Oracle VM version and migrating production happened with limited downtime, which was a very big advantage for us.”
Organizations running Oracle technology, more and more prefer establishing a virtual environment that combines Oracle VM with a second hypervisor. “We decided to use VMware for the virtualization of our server environment”, Siongers explained. “Of course, we also wanted to go virtual with Oracle DB and Oracle IAS.” Dealing with Oracle licenses in a non-Oracle virtual environment, however, can be very complex. And it doesn’t exactly come for free either, because in that case, the whole server park needs licenses. That’s why Groep Uitgeverij Averbode decided to keep its virtualized Oracle DB and IAS environment in the Oracle family. “All we needed was two extra machines, hosting Oracle DB and Oracle IAS on Oracle VM. This way, we enjoy all the benefits of the virtual approach, without the hassle and the costs of additional licenses.” Following the hardware renewal, Monin also upgraded the environment to Oracle VM 3. “We didn’t need to reinstall Oracle DB or Oracle IAS. Monin just copied them to the new environment. That way, we avoided a traditional migration path that would have taken at least ten days.”
Managed Database Life Cycle Services
For Groep Uitgeverij Averbode, choosing Oracle VM resulted in a lower total cost of ownership. “First of all, there only one hardware platform. We don’t need dedicated hardware for Oracle DB or IAS. Less hardware means less purchasings costs, less energy consumption and less maintenance. Next to that, we keep the license costs under control, as we manage the rest of our IT environment on VMware.” At the same time, Oracle VM offers a future-proof solution. “In a traditional data center set-up, moving to new hardware is a challenging, time-consuming job. Using Oracle VM, we can move the whole environment to new hardware really quickly, just like we did, without having to reinstall anything.” It allows Groep Uitgeverij Averbode to reduce a traditional lead time of several weeks to just a couple of days, with minimal – if any – downtime. “At the same time, we now have the entire Oracle environment -VM, DB and IAS – supported by one partner. That, too, offers a higher level of overall quality.” At Groep Uitgeverij Averbode, Monin offers comprehensive managed database life cycle services, including implementation, migration, monitoring, maintenance and support.
“Using Oracle VM next to our VMware environment – with Oracle VM supported by Monin’s managed services – we fully enjoy the benefits of virtualizing Oracle DB and Oracle IAS, while limiting the number of licenses needed.” – Johnny Siongers, ICT Manager at Groep Uitgeverij Averbode: