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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.

“The Web site was down for about an hour during the night,” Oberholtzer says, referring to the data-center switchover, which took place in mid-October 2008. “There were a couple of functions that weren’t available. You couldn’t buy a membership. You couldn’t look members up. You couldn’t do that sort of thing because that was all running on i, keeping in mind that DB2 is the single source of truth for us. The 525 had to be shut down, put on a truck and moved south.”

Before that could happen Oberholtzer began to architect the new IT implementation, ably assisted by Arbor Solutions, Frankeni Technology Consultants and the Logicalis Group. His first action was choosing a blade chassis, which eventually turned out to be an H class, and deciding how many blades he needed to support the consolidation of his many standalone servers. In the end, the USBC chose eight HS21 Intel technology-based blades, each hosting two redundant solid-state disks for booting purposes.

“The BladeCenter H was a no-brainer. It had all of the I/O we needed and, perhaps more importantly, it offered all of the necessary redundancy and resiliency required for an installation like this. After all, you don’t want to have to worry about consolidating down to a single point of failure. So we have four different power supplies, multiple switches, multiple backplanes,” Oberholtzer says.

Next up was storage. After reviewing several options, the USBC chose the IBM System Storage* N series connected to the BladeCenter via iSCSI. This had a downside, however: IBM i on a JS12 blade isn’t yet supported on the N series, which meant the organization had to maintain the 525 as a separate entity. As soon as support is announced, Oberholtzer says, he’ll “slap a JS12 into that H chassis and get rid of the 525 altogether.”

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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