Bjorn to host
Swedish telecom giant Telia redefines its business with infrastructure solutions from Dell, Intel, and Microsoft
Challenge: Quickly enter the competitive Scandinavian hosting market with highly available, scalable, easy-to-use, and secure services
Solution: Build a state-of-the-art data center using Intel® XeonTM processor-based Dell PowerEdge Web servers, Dell PowerEdge Load Balancing servers, Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server, and Microsoft Internet Information Services
Benefit: A cost-effective, world-class hosting infrastructure; reliable, best-of-breed e-business solutions; and a fast-growing customer base
If you are going to crash a party, it pays to have some very popular friends. Telia, an international communications company, made its name by providing traditional telecom and data services. But when it wanted to enter the Scandinavian Web hosting market, it needed more than its strong, 100-year reputation. It needed a world-class hosting facility and world-class technology partners.
The company knew it would be difficult to attract customers in such a crowded space. It had to enter the market quickly with solid, proven technology that would give customers comfort and confidence. It also had to build a suite of reliable, scalable, and secure solutions that would prove Telia was not just a dabbling newcomer, but a legitimate force to be reckoned with.
"There are so many unknown factors in hosting; we needed to be ready for anything," says Ulf Hedin, product manager for Web hosting services at Telia. "We looked at the entire server appliance market in building our hosting facility and found that Dell and Microsoft had the strongest offerings."
Hitting the ground running
Hedin says that Dell, Intel, and Microsoft have a strong presence in Sweden and provided Telia the support it needed to roll out its new hosting business. Another big draw was the DellTM PowerEdgeTM Web servers, which come in an optimized Web server stack pre-installed in a 1U form factor, requiring no software installation or reconfiguration. Dell servers are easy to deploy and maintain, helping companies like Telia reduce costs and get to market faster with best-in-class e-business solutions.
"The Dell-Microsoft solution beat all other platforms in terms of scalability, cost of ownership, and speed of deployment," Hedin says. "Plus, we wanted to buy a total solution, not just components. Dell and Microsoft came together and presented a seamless solution for us."
Telia technicians can now have a Web server up and running in about 10 minutes, versus five or six hours with generic servers. Or, with the reinstallation CD, they can wipe a server clean and reconfigure it for a new customer in minutes. Hedin says this gives Telia technicians more time to work on value-added activities, such as supporting customer applications.
"These Dell servers fit very well with our plan," Hedin says. "They provide very fast deployment, are easy to use, and have a compact size so we can build a high-density data center."
Three tiers for Dell-Intel-Microsoft
Telia utilizes Dell, Intel, and Microsoft technology at all three infrastructure layers: Web hosting, application, and database.
At the Web hosting layer, Intel® XeonTM processor-based PowerEdge Web servers powered by the Microsoft® Windows® operating system act as front-end Web servers.
Recently, one of Telia's customers hosted a song contest called Melodifestivalen. When the TV portion of the contest went off the air, the show continued on the Web. Telia's network utilization then skyrocketed from 3 Mbps to 35 Mbps.
"We had 15,000 concurrent users downloading streaming media," Hedin says. "The PowerEdge Web servers stayed up and performed very well."
Telia also uses Dell PowerEdge Load Balancing servers in a redundant configuration to intelligently load-balance incoming traffic and route requests to Web servers. By taking advantage of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) termination, the PowerEdge Load Balancing servers off-load CPU-intensive SSL transactions from the back-end servers, allowing the Web servers to do what they do best-serve content.
At the application layer, Telia leverages dual-processor Dell PowerEdge 2450 servers running Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Internet Information Services, and customer applications. At the database layer, Telia has quad-processor Dell PowerEdge 6450 database servers running Windows 2000 Server, or Windows 2000 Advanced Server for customers requiring load balancing and clustering.
The cost-effective, high-capacity Dell-Intel-Microsoft solution enabled Telia to create a complete and powerful hosting infrastructure in just three months. With this platform, Telia can get a complex customer site up and running in days.
"Having a great, solid infrastructure lets us deliver the availability and security our customers demand, while directing our attention to strategies for growth," Hedin says.
As Telia expands its hosting business, Hedin expects Dell, Intel, and Microsoft to be at his side. Telia is currently evaluating Dell PowerEdge Web caching servers for reverse proxy caching as a way to reduce network traffic, relieve Web server burdens, and improve browsing experience for customers. And when Telia wants to scale up its server power, it simply buys another Intel Xeon processor-based Dell server.
"To be respected as a serious hosting provider, you need to have the best vendors on your side," Hedin says. "Dell and Microsoft gave us instant credibility."