CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY

Fareportal Improves Utilization up to 60% with Turbonomic

  • Realized tremendous savings by leveraging full capabilities of existing Cisco UCS blades
  • Improved resource utilization 40-60% by using Turbonomic to optimize workloads, yielding higher VM densities per blade
  • Eliminated resource contention through full automation of VM placement

“Turbonomic has been an incredible investment in innovation and change for our organization.”

John Samuel SVP, IT and Operations Infrastructure Fareportal

With Turbonomic's Workload Automation Platform, Fareportal improved density across their Cisco UCS infrastructure, realizing tremendous savings and assuring performance of critical applications.

Challenges

  • Inability to guarantee performance of mission-critical applications in rapidly expanding virtual environment with existing tools
  • Inconsistent performance and disruption of virtualized workloads
  • Difficulty managing newly virtualized infrastructure and maximizing investment in Cisco UCS

Solution

Turbonomic intelligently and automatically senses changes to Fareportal’s application demand and adjusts infrastructure supply in real-time to improve utilization, assure performance and ensure service delivery to Fareportal’s global customer and employee base

Results

  • Realized tremendous savings by leveraging full capabilities of existing Cisco UCS blades
  • Improved resource utilization 40-60% by using Turbonomic to optimize workloads, yielding higher VM densities per blade
  • Eliminated resource contention through full automation of VM placement

Company Overview

Featuring a suite of brands with a 38-year history, Fareportal is a leading technology company powering some of the largest online travel agencies in the world, including CheapOair, OneTravel and Travelong. Fareportal has more than 2,500 employees in offices across five time zones and three continents, and provides services to over 237 countries. The company’s website receives more than 18 million unique visits each month.

Fareportal’s production environment is dominated by large web servers requiring huge amounts of power, CPU, memory and disk space. Prior to virtualizing, maintaining this environment on physical infrastructure was incredibly taxing to both the company’s financial resources as well as to its IT team. With more than 20 years of experience in IT operations and management, John Samuel served as Senior Vice President of IT and Operations Infrastructure at Fareportal, overseeing all technology and related operations for the company at its New York City headquarters.

Industry Challenges

According to Euromonitor International, global sales of online travel agencies grew 19% in 2015, amassing $246 billion industry-wide, and is expected to reach new heights of $434 billion in 2020. Regardless of this growth, the industry itself remains a young one, with a few key players. As competition continues to emerge, the incumbents will surely look to respond to the newcomers to maintain their status and to keep up with ever-changing customer demands. Agility and innovation continue to be a crucial factor in this industry.

Getting the Most Out of Virtualization

“We were overspending on hardware and seeing so much waste,” said Samuel. “We took a leap of faith and virtualized our environment.” Fareportal transitioned to Cisco UCS® platform, leveraging VMware vSphere® Enterprise, quickly achieving 95% virtualization. In the process of virtualizing, however, the company mimicked physical hardware provisioning techniques, and was thus unable to take advantage of the dynamic capabilities of its newly virtualized infrastructure. “It was as if we moved from one physical environment to another,” said Samuel. “We needed better control over the environment to get the most out of our investment in virtualization.”

Based on the recommendation of AVP of IT Aditya Anand, Fareportal decided to test out Turbonomic in their environment. After deployment, Turbonomic quickly mapped the various relationships within the UCS environment, as well as into the storage network, and began making recommendations to improve performance and maximize efficiency.

Improving Utilization to Assure Performance

“We used to run just a few VMs per UCS blade as we were concerned about overloading them during busy workload periods – remember, these are large volume web servers,” said Samuel. “With Turbonomic we’ve increased our use to a more optimal number of VMs by multiplexing smaller workloads with large ones, getting 40% to 60% more out of our investment. It’s so much more than just load balancing, and takes into account factors beyond resource consumption across the entire infrastructure using the Supply Chain model.”

The density increase on Fareportal’s UCS infrastructure provided tremendous savings, enabling the team to leverage their existing investment far more efficiently in order to reap the full benefits UCS provides. Furthermore, these savings extended beyond hardware, including a reduced amount of storage and fewer software licenses.

Introducing Supply and Demand Principles to the Data Center

Turbonomic uniquely enables workloads to self-manage in real time, ensuring they get the resources they need, when they need them. “You can only do so much by load balancing, especially for workloads as large as ours,” said Samuel. “Turbonomic did something that was amazing. Out of the box it made rightsizing recommendations by matching supply and demand of the current workloads, in real time.”

The platform provided end-to-end visibility into the environment, allowing them to understand their infrastructure, while Turbonomic managed scaling and placement of the company’s business-critical workloads. “Turbonomic gives us a holistic look into what resources are needed for our applications to perform at their highest level and takes the actions necessary for our infrastructure supply to meet the workload demands of the moment,” said Samuel. “We can continue to provide quality services to our customers.”

“One of my favorite things about this product is that it’s always evolving,” said Samuel. “The last thing I want is to buy a stagnant product that won’t grow with our changing needs, leading to spending more and more on new products. Turbonomic has been an incredible investment in innovation and change for our organization.”

With all VM migrations automated, Samuel and his team look forward to greater incorporation of the software into their environment. “We are in the process of integrating the rest of our infrastructure into Turbonomic,” said Samuel. “The more control it gives us over our infrastructure, the more value it adds to the company.”