Murray & Roberts is South Africa’s leading engineering, contracting and construction services company, with a primary focus on the resources-driven construction markets in industry & mining, oil & gas and power & energy in Africa, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australasia and North America.

The company offers civil, mechanical, electrical, mining and process engineering; general building and construction; materials supply and services to the construction industry; and management of concession operations.
Major construction projects awarded in South Africa to Murray & Roberts Construction, the construction business of the Murray & Roberts Group, significantly grew the company’s order book with multi-billion rand major projects. Such increases in project activity can add as many as 250 users per site with Murray & Roberts Construction requiring an IT solution that would carry the business into the future while remaining flexible enough to expand and shrink with market fluctuation.
The solution also had to maximize the company’s limited resources and provide a failover solution that would see downtime squashed from one or two days, to 120 minutes.
The consultation process delivered by the First Technology Business Services Team showcased VMware’s Virtual Infrastructure 3 solution, as a means to consolidate servers within the organisation.  The IT solution is designed to maximise limited resources in the business and create a failover solution that would prevent major productivity losses in the event of unscheduled downtime.
Why VMware:
* Elimination of server sprawl through server consolidation;
* Effective failover capabilities through High Availability;
* Effective server migration through VMotion to prevent downtime; and
* VMotion’s ability to allocate resources as needed at the drop of a hat.
Anthony Schoombie, IT manager of Murray & Roberts Construction says: “Murray & Roberts Construction decided on a VMware virtual environment because it offered our company the best possible solution for our needs now and in the future.
"The ability to have an effective failover solution that mitigates downtime has proved to be invaluable to our business. Fast and efficient resource management is at last possible, empowering the IT department to assist the business in key areas by speedily allocating resources as they are needed.”
VMware’s enterprise partner First Technology consulted and managed the installation together with IBM Services. This led to Murray & Robert’s Construction deciding to do away with typical clustering and to implement the entire environment into a VMware ESXi server based environment.
Once the test and development process had been completed with zero complications, the primary objective to use the VMotion and High Availability (HA) function to achieve application load balancing and application failover in the event of unscheduled downtime, was successfully achieved.
The new consolidated virtual environment has been implemented into an IBM blade server infrastructure giving the company a more streamlined environment that is easier to manage. Applications and services can now migrate over to active virtual machines in a planned and timeous manner.
Currently the IT environment has a blade server dedicated to the Exchange environment and another for the SQL environment where multiple servers were consolidated down to one. VMware’s HA option means that these core applications run continuously.
A VMware Cluster was allocated for the remaining applications and through VMotion these applications can be deployed to the existing hardware and the new blade server infrastructure as needed.
A SAN (Storage Area Network) was also implemented to consolidate the storage requirements for the environment as well as allow VMware’s VMotion and HA to function freely in accordance with the business needs.
Results of the implementation include:
* Future return on investment: By preventing one day of downtime Murray & Roberts Construction will recover eight-times the procurement costs of the VMware solution;
* A streamlined environment that is less management-intensive;
* Flexibility and availability: Resources can now be allocated at the drop of a hat as and when they are needed;
* Reduced downtime means that sites can be up and running within 120 minutes instead of previous timeframes of one or two days; and
* the number of servers has been reduced from 10 to two.