z/J: Did mainframe Linux deliver value and perform as expected?
SW: Yes, primary Web applications run on zLinux today. Nationwide has five mission-critical applications already in production, with 10 more in test mode. Demand for the environment was much greater than we anticipated. We originally estimated that, by December 2005, there would be 150 virtual servers in the Nationwide environment; there were actually 250. During testing of our ability to scale Nationwide’s Web domain, we load tested Nationwide. com to 22 times its anticipated peak, while simultaneously loading another major application to five times its peak usage, without exceeding our service level agreements.
z/J: What were the main results you were targeting?
SW: With the zLinux virtualization project, Nationwide was targeting a lower TCO for our servers used in our J2EE applications. In addition, our requirements included creating a highly available environment that could be quickly provisioned. The new environment would support both development and production. Nationwide also was looking to leverage the J2EE standards recently accepted by Nationwide’s architecture review board. The zLinux virtual servers also must include a disaster plan congruent with our overall continuity management policies.
z/J: How did you measure results?
SW: We measured our results with a follow-up TCO analysis and meeting service level agreements with our users.
z/J: What key factors contributed to your overall success?
SW: Nationwide’s zLinux project is currently estimated to save $16 million dollars over the next three years, not including floor space. We also were able to provide a reduction in server cost of more than 50 percent to our customers. The zLinux system saved significant data center floor space and power consumption. We estimate an 80 percent reduction in floor space, as compared to an equivalent number of distributed servers. Nationwide support requirements also were reduced; we require 50 percent fewer FTEs [Full- Time Employees] to support hardware and OS due to shared libraries in zLinux. Our provisioning speed was reduced from months to days. Nationwide also created a new disaster recovery process to support the zLinux virtual servers. This process reduced our recovery point objective from days to one minute and our recovery time objective from days to hours.
z/J: That’s very impressive, congratulations! So, tell me, what valuable lessons were learned during deployment?