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Pharmacy2U Consolidates Servers And Implemented Disaster Recovery With SWsoft Virtuozzo Operating Virtualization Software


Pharmacy2U, an online pharmacy based in the U.K., has consolidated servers and implemented disaster recovery with its use of SWsoft Virtuozzo operating system (OS) virtualization software.

The servers that were freed up in the consolidation are now being used by Pharmacy2U for disaster recovery. Now, the company’s e-mail and CRM (customer relationship management) applications run in virtual environments on physical servers. Using the Virtuozzo software, each night the virtual environments are backed up to another server kept in a separate location.

Steven Dobson, head of IT for Pharmacy2U, said, “We are an online U.K. pharmacy that fills NHS (National Health Service) and private prescriptions, and in our service-based industry it’s vital that we’re able to respond to customers as quickly as possible. We needed a disaster recovery strategy that would allow us to continue working even when we can’t get into our offices.”

“Using Virtuozzo enables us to free up spare servers by consolidating our existing hardware, while enabling a disaster recovery implementation with back-ups that require a very small transfer time. If our systems do go down, I have the security of knowing that switching to the back-up server will take less than an hour and end-users will experience the minimum disruption possible,” he continued.

SWsoft’s partner, Line 3 Internet, handled the Virtuozzo installation. The implementation includes Virtuozzo management software, which enables Pharmacy2U to control numerous virtual environments across multiple servers from one centralized interface. Both Linux and Windows versions of Virtuozzo are used since the online pharmacy runs the Linux OS on HP Compaq servers for e-mail and CRM applications, and the Windows OS on a server used for testing and development purposes. Pharmacy2U plans to expand its use of virtualization technology to other parts of its infrastructure, such as its server running the unique prescriptions service.

During the selection process, Pharmacy2U ran pilots of tools from both SWsoft and VMware. After evaluating both, SWsoft’s Virtuozzo was chosen for speed, ease of use and return-on-investment. Dobson comments, “Virtuozzo provided better performance than other virtual systems and we found VMware rather clunky. On top of that, the price comparison was strongly in SWsoft’s favor, so it wasn’t a particularly tough decision.”

Rob Lovell, managing director, U.K., SWsoft, said, “We’re delighted Pharmacy2U chose Virtuozzo to help with their disaster recovery and consolidation needs as another organization utilizing our technology for business critical systems.”


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