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Customer Solution Case Study

Limo Company Increases IT Efficiency, Trims

Costs with Operating System Upgrade

Country or Region: United States
Industry: Transportation and
Customer Profile
EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured
Services is one of the largest
chauffeured transportation
companies in the world. Based in
Secaucus, New Jersey, it operates in
more than 700 cities.
Business Situation
EmpireCLS decided to become a
hosting provider and license its
proprietary dispatch and reservation
systems software to other
companies. But it needed new tools
tailored to the needs of hosting
EmpireCLS upgraded to the
Windows Server 2012 operating
system to take advantage of
enhancements in network
virtualization, availability, desktop
virtualization, and other areas.
Supports faster business growth
Delivers high availability at lower

You can either hire people to speed up work or you can find
better tools. Windows Server 2012 is our better tool. With it,
weve been able to reduce customer onboarding wait-time to
Alan Bourassa, Chief Information Officer, EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

For EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services,

technology has always been a competitive differentiator.
But when it decided to license its dispatch and
reservation systems software to other companies, it
suddenly became a hosting provider and needed more
sophisticated data center capabilities and lower IT costs.
EmpireCLS decided to upgrade its servers to the
Windows Server 2012 operating system to take
advantage of improvements in networking, availability,
remote access, and other areas. With these new
features, EmpireCLS can provision hosting customers
faster, deliver high availability at lower costs, and
continue to reduce operating costs while growing the
business. In fact, EmpireCLS has reduced IT costs by 30
percent during a period when the business grew 30
percent. With a more efficient virtual desktop
environment, EmpireCLS has improved compute

Its one thing for your

own business to be
dependent on your
technology infrastructure
but quite another when
other peoples businesses
are dependent on that
Alan Bourassa, Chief Information Officer,
EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

Hollywood celebrities, Grammy
Awardwinning artists, and diplomats
are just some of the people who rely
on EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured
Services to safely travel to
destinations on time and in style. The
New Jerseybased company employs
more than 1,000 people and offers
high-end chauffeur services in more
than 700 cities around the world.
Technology has always been a key
competitive differentiator for
EmpireCLS. Chief Information Officer
Alan Bourassa has worked hard to
create world-class data centers,
based primarily on Microsoft
technology, that support business
agility, lower operating costs, and
high availability of critical systems. At
a time when the concept of
virtualization was still new to many
CIOs, Bourassa dramatically
consolidated his companys servers
by using the Hyper-V technology in
the Windows Server 2008 R2
operating system.
When cloud computing emerged,
EmpireCLS was one of the first to
create a private cloud environment,
pooling compute and storage
resources into a seamless computing
fabric that the business could
dynamically configure on demand.
Microsoft System Center 2012 was
indispensable as a management
infrastructure in providing one
integrated tool set for provisioning,
configuring, monitoring, automating,
and managing virtual machines and
services across cloud environments.

The private cloud environment

provided the agility that EmpireCLS
needed when it made an unorthodox
move in March 2012. Always looking
for new areas of business growth,
EmpireCLS decided to get into the
software-as-a-service (SaaS) business,
selling its proprietary dispatch and
reservation system to other ground
transportation companies. EmpireCLS
considers this software program one
of its greatest assets but decided that
selling it to competitors was better
than finding itself competing against
a better program someday. Industry
growth will not be in buying more
cars, says David Seelinger, Chief
Executive Officer at EmpireCLS. In
the next three years, we expect 30
percent of our revenues to come from
our SaaS services.
While its cutting-edge IT
infrastructure had given EmpireCLS
the agility to take on this completely
new business, Bourassa realized that
the SaaS business brought new
needs. Its one thing for your own
business to be dependent on your
technology infrastructure but quite
another when other peoples
businesses are dependent on that
infrastructure, he says. We were
suddenly a hosting provider and a
limo business, and we needed better
ways to build customer networks that
were isolated from our limo-business
network without using expensive
third-party tools and network gear. We
needed even greater IT efficiency
geared to the hosting business and


more cost-effective disaster



The ability to virtualize

network traffic without
reengineering our base
physical network
infrastructure is huge.
Alan Bourassa, Chief Information Officer,
EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

As an early adopter of Microsoft

technologies, EmpireCLS had watched
the development of the Windows
Server 2012 operating system and
jumped at the chance to be part of
the Rapid Deployment Program (RDP).
Windows Server 2012 is really a
hosting providers dream, Bourassa
says. It includes many advanced
network virtualization tools that, until
now, had to be purchased from other
companies. It enables hosting
providers to create virtual networks
and isolate traffic by customer.
EmpireCLS worked with Microsoft
Services Consulting to quickly
understand the new features of
Windows Server 2012, map those
features to EmpireCLS needs, and
move the features into production as
quickly as possible. There are
probably 200-plus new features in
Windows Server 2012, Bourassa
says. Having a really experienced
architect from Microsoft Services
Consulting come in and work with us
on implementing the most relevant
features for us really helped.
Networking Improvements
EmpireCLS was particularly interested
in the Hyper-V Network Virtualization
feature in Windows Server 2012 and
related functionality. By using Hyper-V
Network Virtualization, IT
administrators can isolate network
traffic among different business units
or customers on a shared

infrastructure without using virtual

local area networks, which are
challenging to manage.
Administrators can also move virtual
machines as needed within a virtual
infrastructure while preserving their
virtual network assignments.
The ability to virtualize network
traffic without reengineering our base
physical network infrastructure is
huge, Bourassa says. We can have
multiple cloud sites running with the
same IP address spaces because the
IP addresses are virtualized. This is a
critical capability for Fortune 500
companies and hosting providers.
Network Interface Card (NIC) Teaming
is another Windows Server 2012
feature that EmpireCLS is using. NIC
Teaming provides network fault
tolerance on physical servers and
virtual machines by using at least two
network adapters by any vendor,
without the need for a third-party
teaming solution. Previously,
Bourassa employed third-party NIC
teaming solutions but could not mix
and match adapters, so he forfeited
Microsoft support for a third-partyenhanced solution. With NIC Teaming
built into the operating system,
EmpireCLS has a solution that is
easier to deploy and manage and is
fully supported by Microsoft.
Another networking enhancement in
Windows Server 2012 is Hyper-V
Extensible Switch, a virtual network
switch that IT organizations can use
to emulate hardware switches. By
using this feature, EmpireCLS can


We like the fact that

Hyper-V Replica does not
require special licensing,
specialized hardware, or
other costs.
Alan Bourassa, Chief Information Officer,
EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

accommodate more tenants on the

same physical infrastructure and can
better optimize network resources.
The staff never has to retool the
physical network, which is difficult
and expensive to do; they simply
make adjustments to virtual
EmpireCLS uses Hyper-V Extensible
Switch in conjunction with the Cisco
Nexus 1000V Switch, which enhances
port-level traffic visibility. Previously,
EmpireCLS network engineers were
unable to look at the port-level traffic
of each virtual machine or observe
how it was sending data packets. But
with the Hyper-V Extensible Switch
and the Cisco switch, engineers can
now manage each virtual machine at
the port level. This helps them
troubleshoot network problems faster
and more accurately and perform
better capacity planning and load
Hyper-V Network Virtualization and
Hyper-V Extensible Switch are
examples of software-defined
networking, a networking architecture
where the router control plane is
implemented in software in servers
that are separate from the network
equipment, and the router data plane
is implemented in commodity network
equipment. Software-defined
networking allows for quick
experimenting and optimization of
switching/routing policies, and for
external access to switches and
routers that formerly were closed and

Availability Improvements
EmpireCLS also tested and is moving
into production several availability
features in Windows Server 2012.
Hyper-V Replica provides
asynchronous replication of virtual
machines between storage systems,
clusters, and data centers over two
sites to provide business continuity.
We like the fact that Hyper-V Replica
does not require special licensing,
specialized hardware, or other costs,
Bourassa says. Were very costconscious and always looking for
more cost-effective ways to
implement disaster-recovery sites.
With Hyper-V Replica, we can replicate
virtual machines to our standby site,
and the IP addresses stay with those
virtual machines.
Bourassas team is using Hyper-V live
migration to migrate running virtual
machines between host servers
without downtime, and Hyper-V
storage migration to migrate virtual
hard disks to new locations without
The new cross-premises connectivity
capability in Windows Server 2012
provides a simple way to set up
remote-access servers between local
infrastructures and hosted services,
and also connect private subnetworks
between geographically separate
enterprise locations while ensuring
data security. By using cross-premises
connectivity, EmpireCLS can securely
move workloads and traffic
seamlessly between its multiple cloud


sites. This was possible before, but it

was more expensive, Bourassa says.
With these new features, private and
public clouds can interact seamlessly
now. It reduces worries around
protecting data when it leaves one
data center and goes across the
Internet to another data center.
Remote Access Improvements
EmpireCLS is also taking advantage of
Windows Server 2012 improvements
in the area of remote access and
DirectAccess, a feature in Windows
Server 2012 that allows remote users
to securely access internal resources
without connecting to a virtual private
network. Virtual desktop
infrastructure (VDI) desktops are
easier to deploy and manage, files are
easier to secure, and wide area
network traffic is reduced. EmpireCLS
is in production with Windows Server
2012 Remote Desktop Services to
provide VDI desktops to about 200
reservation agents and dispatchers.
These are our most business-critical
systems, and were running them on
Windows Server 2012 today,
Bourassa says.
New Hardware Efficiencies
For the RDP, EmpireCLS used the HP
X5000 G2 Network Storage Systems,
a network-attached storage solution
with two server nodes packaged in a
3U chassis with up to 40 terabytes of
storage. For customers that want to
start moving away from expensive
storage area networks [SANs] and
fiber switches, the HP X5000 is a nice
way to begin distributing and
reducing costs, Bourassa says. Its

provisioning is so simple that you

dont need to consult with storage
and networking experts.

By upgrading to Window Server 2012,
EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured
Services has a more flexible, costeffective IT infrastructure that can
support business growth in new
directions. It can maintain its service
level agreements at lower costs and
continue to lower IT costs while the
business grows. Performance for VDI
desktops is higher, too, which
translates into more productive
Supports Faster Business Growth
Bourassa has once again outfitted the
business with a technology
infrastructure made for dynamic
growth. EmpireCLS can now easily
deploy hosting services for its SaaS
business and onboard new hosting
customers faster. Because of the
power of software-defined networking
provided through Hyper-V Network
Virtualization and Hyper-V Extensible
Switch, and the ability to dynamically
move workloads around and manage
them with System Center 2012, our
staff can concentrate on onboarding
customers rather than on
reconfiguring the infrastructure,
Bourassa says. You can either hire
people to speed up work or you can
find better tools. Windows Server
2012 is our better tool. With it, weve
been able to reduce customer
onboarding wait-time to zero.


We can bring up our

disaster recovery site
within 15 minutes of a
major disaster, using
capabilities included in
Windows Server 2012,
with minimum
provisioning and no thirdparty products.
Alan Bourassa, Chief Information Officer,
EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

Delivers High Availability at

Lower Cost
EmpireCLS has always provided its
customers with extremely high
uptime commitments. With Windows
Server 2012, it is fulfilling its service
level agreements with less
administrative overhead and lower
infrastructure costs.
We can bring up our disaster
recovery site within 15 minutes of a
major disaster, using capabilities
included in Windows Server 2012,
with minimum provisioning and no
third-party products, Bourassa says.
Thats critical to us as a hosting
provider because companies buying
services from us expect high
availability and rapid recovery times.
If a host-server network adapter card
fails or there is an issue in a virtual
machine, the NIC Teaming feature
ensures that the virtual machine
seamlessly fails over and continues to
run without interruption. With all
these new features, we can truly
move workloads easily and
seamlessly across data centers,
without worrying about the physical
network infrastructure and topology.
Increases IT Efficiency and
Reduces Costs
Bourassa estimates that the
efficiencies provided by Windows
Server 2012 equate to the work of at
least two full-time employeesa cost
avoidance of at least US$240,000 a
year. With Windows Server 2012,
people can spend their time on what
is most important to their career and
the business versus doing mundane

tasks, Bourassa says. More tasks

are automated, and the tasks are
simpler. For example, I previously had
to have an expensive network
engineer configure NIC teaming, but
today we just activate it in Windows
Server 2012. Weve reduced our IT
and operating spend by 30 percent
over three years while adding 550
external vendors to our infrastructure
and growing the business by 30
percent. We couldnt have done that
without Microsoft virtualization and
cloud software.
The company has greater scalability
and expandability across data centers
and within its public and private
clouds. With the virtualization
improvements in Windows Server
2012 Remote Desktop Services,
EmpireCLS has achieved a smaller
server footprint and higher
performance, so it can support more
virtual desktops per server.
We clearly have to increase server
capacity as our customer base grows,
but by combining next-generation HP
blade servers with Windows Server
2012, we have reduced our server
footprint by a factor of 12, Bourassa
says. A 12:1 footprint consolidation is
huge. EmpireCLS has also achieved a
30:1 reduction in storage for its VDI
These kinds of efficiencies deliver
huge cost savings for environmentally
conscious companies like ours,
Bourassa says. On every invoice, we
tell our limo customers the carbon


For More Information

For more information about
Microsoft products and services, call
the Microsoft Sales Information
Center at (800) 426-9400. In
Canada, call the Microsoft Canada
Information Centre at (877) 5682495. Customers in the United
States and Canada who are deaf or
hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft
text telephone (TTY/TDD) services
at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50
United States and Canada, please
contact your local Microsoft
subsidiary. To access information
using the World Wide Web, go to:
For more information about
EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured
Services products and services, call
(800) 451-5466 or visit the website
at: www.empirecls.com

footprint of their trip, and we want to

continuously reduce this number.

Windows Server 2012

Windows Server drives many of the
worlds largest data centers,
empowers small businesses around
the world, and delivers value to
organizations of all sizes in between.
Building on this legacy, Windows
Server 2012 redefines the category,
delivering hundreds of new features
and enhancements that span
virtualization, networking, storage,
user experience, cloud computing,
automation, and more. Simply put,
Windows Server 2012 helps you
transform your IT operations to
reduce costs and deliver a whole new
level of business value.

Improves Compute Performance,

Employee Productivity
EmpireCLS has experienced huge
performance improvements with the
new version of Remote Desktop
Services. There are 90 percent fewer
packets being sent over the network
to support VDI desktops and Remote
Desktop Services, which translates
into a response time improvement of
300 percent. Our dispatch software
screen-paints have dropped from
three seconds to one second,
Bourassa says. The time saved
throughout the day translates into
higher employee productivity, faster
response to customers, and happier

For more information, visit:


Software and Services


Microsoft Server Product Portfolio

Windows Server 2012
Microsoft Services
Microsoft Services Consulting

HP X5000 G2 Network Storage

HP ProLiant BL460 G7 blade servers

This case study is for informational purposes

Document published August 2012