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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.

“That S chassis is very important to our overall goal of keeping our costs in line with those of the tournament. It also gives us the capabilities we need for the tournament and the robustness to keep us running for 154 days. We simply can’t have a failure,” Oberholtzer says.

If there’s a failure, the USBC can run the tournament from its headquarters. This is made possible by real-time data replication from the tournament site to the Arlington data center and the proprietary replication software developed by Arbor Solutions.

Perhaps more importantly, though, are the cost and time savings built into this system. Instead of having many standalone servers and an onsite System i server, the organization has that one BladeCenter chassis and four blades running virtualized instances within the same blades. And to get more bang for its buck, the USBC is considering running a virtualized Linux server on the JS12 blade next to the IBM i instance.

“There aren’t a whole lot of comparisons when it comes to the processing power of POWER6 (processor-based) Linux instances versus Intel instances. What I’m most interested in is Java performance, which is going to be significantly better than in an Intel environment. That’s why we’re looking at it,” Oberholtzer says.

And setup? Four hours rather than two weeks. “It’s so easy to do. We have the environment up and running at our headquarters until several days before we need to have it moved out to the tournament,” Oberholtzer says. “We then shut it down, pack it up and ship it out. When we get to the tournament site, we literally roll out the rack, plug it into the wall for power, plug it into the network and we’re up and running.”

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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