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A Perfect Game

The United States Bowling Congress strikes it big by virtualizing with BladeCenter

Jim Oberholtzer, VP of technology for the United States Bowling Congress, says it’s easy to set up its portable data center at tournament sites.

In the past, the organization’s computing model consisted of standalone servers running Windows and Linux and associated applications, as well as DB2 on the 525. Although this was a working solution, with the one-off servers feeding data back to the System i server, the USBC saw an opportunity when it decided to move its headquarters.

The organization couldn’t simply take everything out of the old data center, and risk being down for a week or longer, just to redeploy at the new location. Any data collected regarding leagues and tournaments would sit dormant until everything was up and running again—and Oberholtzer says that wasn’t an option. “We needed to have the old data center running while we moved to Arlington and then, as quickly as possible, move everything to our new data center.

“It became a catalyst of sorts,” he says. “I sat back and said, ‘If I’m going to rip out the old infrastructure and put a new one in, how should I do it? What if I built it essentially from scratch?’ The obvious answer was the BladeCenter system, because it was becoming clear that we should move from our server farm, with its many machines and their single-application purposes, to consolidate in some fashion.”

This build-from-scratch thinking would also let the company maintain and operate its existing data center in Greendale while building a consolidated one in Arlington. The USBC would only have a minor interruption in service, as the System i hardware was being transported from the old data center to the new one, a process that, with the assistance of IBM, took around 20 hours to complete.

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at



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