Customer Spotlight: CH2M HILL Expects to Save Millions Moving to Microsoft Virtualization Software

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 25, 2010 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that CH2M HILL, a Fortune 500 company and a global leader in engineering, procurement, construction, management and operations, switched to Microsoft virtualization and management software from VMware Inc. software, projecting cost savings of more than $3.2 million during the next three to five years. The company also expects to reduce server administration work by 30 percent so it can focus on more strategic work like branch office virtualizing, infrastructure upgrading and architecture planning.

CH2M HILL has a global presence of more than 25,000 employees in regional offices that require agile, high availability IT services to serve their customers’ needs and in a cost-effective manner. CH2M HILL was an early adopter of virtualization technology to curb server proliferation and provide more agile IT services. Between 2005 and 2007, the company used VMware ESX to virtualize 350 servers in its datacenter and 100 servers in regional offices. When the global economy plummeted in late 2007, CH2M HILL decided that it needed a more cost-effective virtualization solution.

“The company was cutting costs across the board, and we wanted to push forward with virtualizing more servers, especially in our field offices, but we just couldn’t do it with VMware,” said Greg Barton, senior analyst, Enterprise Systems Group, CH2M HILL. “By switching to Microsoft from VMware, we will save $280,000 in software fees. Plus, we can now afford to tackle our 600 field servers and are aiming to virtualize 20 percent of these computers each year. At $5,000 a server, that’s a savings of $3 million over the next three to five years.”

To date, CH2M HILL has migrated 30 VMware virtual machines to Microsoft Hyper-V and plans to have all its virtual machines, at headquarters and in the field, migrated over the next three years. CH2M HILL is using its Hyper-V virtual machines for development and test servers and to run critical applications such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, databases running Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Internet Information Services 6.0 and 7.0 Web server, and, soon, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. The company uses Microsoft System Center to create virtual machines and give business groups the ability to create virtual machines.

“System Center Virtual Machine Manager lets business groups self-provision and manage virtual machines as needed, which saves the IT staff a lot of time so we can plan for future projects and initiatives,” Barton said. “In fact, we could do everything in Hyper-V that we could do with VMware. Hyper-V also compared well on performance and ease of administration. We were very happy with the results.”

Customers such as CH2M HILL are turning to Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center management tools to help reduce energy consumption, IT labor, and hardware and recurring licensing costs, as well as improve their overall management of on-premises and cloud applications. These customers use Microsoft System Center to manage virtualized and nonvirtualized servers, desktops and applications, and Microsoft Hyper-V Server and VMware ESX. The broad use of virtualization technology provides customers with increased flexibility to scale their applications, which can be more easily adapted to meet changing business needs and take advantage of the transition to cloud computing. Microsoft and its ecosystem of hardware and software partners offer all the capabilities customers need to ensure a path to private and public cloud computing capabilities.

“Virtualization is a critical element that lets customers run all their applications across traditional datacenters, private and public clouds,” said David Greschler, director of virtualization strategy, Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. “By putting virtualization into our platform, we have made it easier and more cost-effective for customers to adopt cloud computing without major disruption or change in infrastructure.”

Those wanting to speak with Microsoft representatives about their datacenter and desktop virtualization plans should visit Microsoft’s booth 1431 at VMworld 2010 conference, Aug. 30–Sept. 2 in San Francisco. A Microsoft case study of CH2M HILL’s use of virtualization can be found at

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