May 28 2014

International Speedway Corp. Aims for Top Tech Pole Position

ISC's IT department is not resting on its laurels after upgrading its enterprise infrastructure.

International Speedway Corp.’s IT department is not resting on its laurels after upgrading the ISC enterprise infrastructure. In addition to rolling out wireless test pilots over the next several months, the IT staff plans to continue to virtualize as many of its remaining servers as possible.

The company has already migrated its email, Microsoft SQL Server databases, financial applications, customer relationship management software and an inventory control application for its marketing partnerships to virtual machines. In all, that covers about 75 percent of its server environment. Now, the IT team plans to move its remaining Tier 1 applications — including its ticketing system — to a virtualized environment, says Jerry Ballenger, ISC’s senior director of technology engineering and services.

In the next year, the IT staff also plans to improve business continuity by turning its backup data center from a cold site to a hot site. And as part of its effort to automate more processes, the department wants to let users restore their own files if they accidentally delete or lose them.

The company uses a NetApp FAS2240 storage unit to back up file servers from each of its 13 facilities. “If users lose something and can’t find a file, we want to empower them to restore it themselves,” Ballenger says.

Server virtualization not only speeds up IT management, it also improves application performance, allowing International Speedway Corp.’s IT staff to take snapshots for quick recovery of applications, says Director of IT Engineering David Luke.

“If we make a change to a server, we can do a quick snapshot,” he says. “If something goes south, we revert to the snapshot in a couple of minutes, as opposed to having to do a server build.”

Abstracting the hardware from the operating system also simplifies the troubleshooting process. For example, if the IT department needs to replace a failed blade, “it’s just a matter of disassociating it and swapping out new hardware,” Luke says. “We’re up and running in 10 minutes. In the old days, we had to build a new server from the ground up.”

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