Panavision – VMware Consolidation

About Panavision

Panavision is the world’s leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of precision film and digital camera systems, lenses and accessories for motion pictures, television series and television commercials. Winner of numerous global awards, including Oscar® and Emmy® awards, Panavision camera systems and technology have been widely used in filming major motion pictures for over 50 years, from legendary films including LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and BEN-HUR to today’s features including IRON MAN and BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT.

The Challenge

Panavision is required to react quickly to their customers’ needs and equipment is often despatched at short notice throughout the world. As such fast and reliable collaboration methods are paramount to the success of Panavision’s business. Panavision were therefore looking to upgrade their existing Exchange 2003 messaging system whilst at the same time improving performance and resilience. Panavision were looking to consolidate their existing server infrastructure on to VMware virtual infrastructure.

Choosing the Right Partner

Panavision required a trusted partner with exceptional Microsoft, VMware and NetApp skills. Panavision chose Next Dimension due to their diverse skillsets. Panavision had previously relied on Next Dimension to assist with supporting their existing Exchange environment and were surprised out how quickly they were able to analyse and resolve some complex Exchange messaging issues.

Panavision felt confident that Next Dimension had fully understood their requirements from the presales stage and as such selected them ahead of two other partners that were short listed.

European IT Manager Simon Piguillem commented ‘I felt comfortable choosing Next Dimension, they listened carefully to our requirements and when the design was presented to me it just seemed to fit exactly as we’d envisaged. It was important that we had input in to the design as our business and industry is unique. They were able to take this on-board whilst still ensuring that best practices were adhered to where necessary.”

The Solution

VMware Virtual Infrastructure 4.0 was proposed with Dell R710 physical servers. Centralised storage was provided by a NetApp FAS Filer utilising NetApp SnapManager technology. Whilst many servers were consolidated on the virtual environment additional physical servers were procured for Exchange 2007 Mailbox Servers. Load balanced CAS/HT servers were provisioned as VMWare virtual servers. Panavision’s infrastructure is based across many different time zones and it was important to ensure that any disruption to services was minimised and scheduled.

Next Dimension successfully consolidated all key systems comprising of approximately 25 servers to a 3 Node VMware Cluster using making utilising HA, DRS and Update Manager.

Exchange was consolidated on to CCR Mailbox Cluster and all European mailboxes were migrated with users experiencing no loss of service. Backup software was upgraded to Symantec Backup Exec 2010 for tape based backups. Panavision also rely heavily on Blackberry devices, Blackberry Enterprise Server services were also successfully migrated during the project.

Goals Achieved

Since successfully completing the project Panavision has enjoyed the benefits of a fully resilient messaging system. Patching can now be completed on every server without experiencing any downtime. The new Virtual Infrastructure has significantly reduced the ease of supporting servers. New test servers or production servers can be provisioned within a matter of minutes as opposed to days.

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