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Call in the VIPs

01 Aug 08

Just two and a half years ago Virtual Infrastructure Professionals (VIP ) was a micro-business with a team of two. Now, the rapid expansion of the virtualisation market means the New Zealand owned company that specialises in end-to-end virtualisation projects and disaster recovery solutions for businesses of all sizes is growing exponentially. Virtualisation Architect, Lance Warren, talked to The Channel about the virtualisation trend.
TC: How did it all begin?
LW: It all began through a previous company called Open System Solutions, which looked after mission critical systems in large data centres. We were contracted to implement a disaster recovery solution for a large company and we suggested using virtualisation for that.  We put in a large system based around virtualisation technology and then moved into a virtualisation project within their production environment. That company, Vector, now has one of the largest virtualisation platforms in New Zealand.  We’ve performed around 40 large implementations since then and we’ve got more in the pipeline.
TC: What changes has the company undergone?
LW: The company is in a growth spurt; it started off as me and one other person, and now we are 10 and growing at one per month. We moved into our new premises in January, which we needed to do as the corporate customers want to come in for training and we wanted testing labs and space for conferences. We’ve also had to adapt in scale –we’re constantly putting in place new processes and systems.
TC: What is your core business?
LW: Virtualisation and disaster recovery. What differentiates us from our peers is that we are able to deliver end-to-end. We will perform a due diligence or audit, come up with an architecture proposal, talk through it, come up with options, an action plan and a schedule then implement it. It is about understanding their environment and requirements so we spend a lot of time in that architecture phase. We’re all about knowledge transfer, so we like to empower the customer so they can look after their own environment – it’s not all about smoke and mirrors.
TC: Who are your clients and what business challenges do they face?
LW: The clients are all market segments – this is the beautiful thing about virtualisation; it’s not specific to manufacturing or anything like that, it’s the whole gambit. Any company that has 10 servers or more should probably be looking at virtualisation because they will save money. As for business challenges, the major one is getting the most utilisation out of their infrastructure. They also have the challenge of hardware servers having an end-of-life, so they are constantly going through this refresh stage to maintain them. By virtualising, they are getting better utilisation of the physical server because they are running the work loads of more than just one, essentially freeing up that physical  hardware, which is saving power, saving floor space and giving better manageability and so on. Virtualisation has really come of age and companies out there are looking at it more and more as they are trying to save money and everyone wants to be ‘green’.
TC: What challenges do you face working outside a metropolitan area?
LW: There are not many really. The beautiful thing about the internet and networking and so on is that we can support all of our customers remotely, no matter where they are in the world. We very rarely have to visit a site after set-up.
TC: What technology is hot right now?
LW: Virtualisation, of course, particularly virtualisation of desktops using thin clients and VDIs (virtual desktop infrastructures).
TC: What’s not?
LW: Terminal services and presentation services are going out because the user experience is declining.
TC: What’s the best thing about your location?
LW: It has easy motorway access and plenty of parking, the Auckland Domain just behind. There are good facilities with an extensive lab for testing and training rooms. It’s a nice place to work.
TC: Without giving away valuable IP – what do you think is the secret to your success?
LW:  Understanding our customers’ requirements and being able to deliver complete, end-to-end solutions from our proven experience with virtualisation technology and data recovery capability.
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