The city council of Valmiera in Latvia is saving both energy and money by migrating its physical servers to virtual servers using open source virtualisation tools, says Kaspars Urbāns, head of the city's IT department. "You will be pleasantly surprised by the electricity bill. With the amount Valmiera saves this way, it could buy a new server for the cluster every six months."
The city gained this result by reducing the number of physical servers from eight to four. This reduction has other benefits, including the level of service for online migration, backup, resource management and the fast creation of virtual environments."
Urbāns presented on the Valmiera's use of these tools last week Thursday at a conference organised by the Latvian Open Technology Association (LATA) on 17 November in the city of Riga.
The focus on open source tools also helps the city to remain independent of virtualisation vendors, says Urbāns.
"Virtualisation has lowered the importance of expensive hardware by replacing it with redundant components. Merely with software, very high availability is possible." Depending on the configuration, Urbāns says, various levels of redundancy and availability are possible, and it can all be done with the available open source tools. "At least for a institution as big as Valmiera City council."
The city currently runs more than seventy virtualised servers, most of them managed by a combination of KVM and OpenVZ, both open source virtualisation tools, combined in the Proxmox open source project. These virtualised machines run both proprietary and open source server operating systems.
Urbāns finds that virtual services lighten IT management tasks. "Migrating a server is easy, because there are no longer differences in hardware. Cloning machines is easier, which helps in making and restoring back-ups. It is a breeze to run tests and that helps to shorten the time needed to get services into production. Our virtualised servers grow almost like mushrooms after the rain."
The conference in Riga also included a presentation on efforts by ICT service providers to set a standard for electronic invoicing, and a talk on procurement.
LATA conference website (in Latvian)
'Virtualisation, using open source tools' (presentation, pdf, in Latvian)