Cloud computing is catching on like wildfire. Indeed, the global cloud computing market is expected to grow from $40.7 billion in 2011 to $241 billion in 2020, according to Forrester Research. As interest in cloud computing increases, a key challenge hosted service providers face is keeping up with the skyrocketing number of customers.

Lufthansa Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, operates a global network of modern data centers with locations in Kelsterbach, Germany; London; Dallas; and Singapore. As the company expanded its data center capacity, it was becoming more difficult to meet customer expectations for high availability—while still keeping costs in check.

Lufthansa Systems had already replaced its physical servers with a virtualized data center environment, but it hadn’t been enough. The company wanted to avoid the cost of continually adding IT staff and capital equipment as demand for its services grew.

To make its server environment even more efficient, Lufthansa Systems turned to Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center 2012. The “management features were key for us,” says Bardo Werum, the company’s senior vice president infrastructure. “They turn a ‘mere’ virtualization environment into a highly effective private cloud.”

First, Lufthansa Systems has dramatically increased data center efficiency by quadrupling its server density from four-node clusters to 16-node clusters. This, in turn, has freed up a greater percentage of virtual machines for actual production as compared to failover production. “We were looking for the next step beyond virtualization, and this is it,” says Werum.

Second, Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 have enabled the company to reduce IT costs significantly.

Third, by using less hardware and managing virtual machines more effectively, the company has been able to improve data center uptime “With Windows Server 2012, we can give our customers better service level agreements—that’s good for them and good for us,” Werum says.

Finally, Windows Server 2012 is making it possible for Lufthansa Systems to increase revenue by offering new services to customers. For example, the company has created a self-service capability in which customers can create and configure virtual machines whenever they want. It now also offers its clients anytime, one-button testing of virtual machine replication.

In the end, it all adds up to improved customer service, says Werum. “Higher availability and faster disaster recovery are the main reasons for us to adopt Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012,” he says. “They lead to increased customer satisfaction.”

To learn more, please read the full Lufthansa Systems AG case study.