Carmarthenshire County Council Builds Cloud Infrastructure With Cost-Effective Virtual I/O From Xsigo

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Council reduces Cisco Ethernet switch and Fibre Channel footprint, while delivering the performance and agility required for cloud services.

Xsigo Systems, Inc., the leader in I/O virtualization, today announced that Carmarthenshire County Council has increased operating efficiency, reduced infrastructure costs, and boosted its ability to provide cloud services across the Authority by deploying Xsigo virtual I/O as part of a server consolidation initiative.

Carmarthenshire County Council employs in excess of 9,000 staff to provide services to approximately 180,500 people. The IT team is tasked with the management, support and delivery of the IT infrastructure behind the services provided by the Authority. This includes ensuring that the systems are sufficiently agile, flexible and scalable to meet service level requirements -- including performance, security and compliance -- while remaining cost effective. For this organization, IT is seen as a business enabler, which is why the Carmarthenshire County Council has developed a reputation as a technology early adopter.

Late in 2010, the Council embarked on a server consolidation project and a potential expansion of the storage environment. At that time, the existing Cisco Fibre Channel switches had just over a year left before they had to be replaced. With these requirements in mind, Nial Grimes, IT consultant at the Authority, and his team considered an expansion of their Cisco 10GbE infrastructure and a Fibre Channel switch update, but soon concluded that it would be much more cost effective to implement Xsigo virtual I/O.

The Xsigo I/O Director allows users to quickly and easily connect any server to any network and storage device through a consolidated infrastructure that allows organisations to save up to 50% on capital costs while gaining a 100X increase in data centre agility. Because the I/O Director delivers up to 40Gb bandwidth per server connection, it allows IT administrators to increase server consolidation ratios and accelerate management tasks such as vMotion and data backup.

Carmarthenshire County Council has been delivering cloud services to schools and other partner organisations across the Authority for some time, and the Xsigo technology fits perfectly into this set-up as it allows the IT staff to segregate services where necessary and to collaborate wherever possible. With collaboration being a key element of the Welsh public sector remit, this capability was critical.

“The provision of cloud services is a key element of our agenda and we wanted a technology that would give us maximum flexibility and performance. With Xsigo virtual I/O we can segregate resources to ensure isolation while encouraging collaboration with schools and partners,” said Nial Grimes, IT consultant at Carmarthenshire County Council. “Virtual I/O has also substantially increased our server consolidation ratio and given us performance levels we had never achieved in the past. Best of all, our cost savings on the Cisco 10Gb Ethernet and Fibre Channel infrastructure more than paid for the Xsigo solution.”

Efficiency benefits achieved include the ability to run more virtual machines on each blade with no effect on performance, resulting from the increase in server I/O bandwidth delivered by the Xsigo I/O Director. The solution has also increased resilience in the data centers by removing single points of failure from the Fibre Channel and networking infrastructure. In addition, Xsigo significantly reduced the cabling needed and the space required for switching gear, thus freeing up valuable floor space in the Authority’s data centers.

“We are delighted that Carmarthenshire County Council selected Xsigo virtual I/O for their cloud deployment, and was able to gain immediate benefit from the simplicity and performance of virtual I/O compared with legacy Cisco Ethernet and Fibre Channel solutions,” said Mark Hardy, Director of EMEA at Xsigo. “For organizations providing cloud services from their data center, it is of paramount importance to be able to meet service levels while securely separating resources, another reason why Xsigo was an easy choice for the Authority.”

About Xsigo Systems
Founded in 2004, Xsigo Systems, Inc. is the leader in data centre I/O virtualization, helping organizations reduce costs and improve business agility. Based on patented and award-winning technology, Xsigo offers a complete I/O virtualization product family which includes the VP560 and VP780 I/O Directors. Xsigo has hundreds of customers, partners and resellers around the globe and services multiple industries including financial, education, government, entertainment, technology and telecommunications. The privately held company is based in San Jose, Calif., and funded by Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures, Greylock Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners. For more information, visit


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Jon Toor
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