Pomeroy IT Solutions on server consolidation Featured

8:00pm EDT July 26, 2008

For those that have not yet worked

on server consolidation initiatives,

they may be costing their companies money. Companies with data centers with 100 or more servers deployed

will receive significant gains in savings

and reduced overall costs of ownership.

Smaller companies can also realize gains

that offset the costs. Some estimates

indicate that servers typically run at 5 to

15 percent of their capacity.

“Through server consolidation, companies will have fewer infrastructures to

maintain and lower total costs of ownership (TCO),” says Geoff Hanson, practice

director of servers and storage for

Pomeroy IT Solutions. “Other benefits

include time-to-market improvement and

better management of the overall environment. They also position themselves

much better for disaster recovery.”

Why should companies be concerned about

server consolidation?

Many IT organizations are interested in

the benefits that a server consolidation

initiative provides. One of the major benefits is operating cost reductions. Operating cost reductions are numerous.

Costs associated with facility space,

power, A/C, storage, network infrastructure, warranty support and administration will be decreased by reducing server sprawl through server consolidation.

Other major benefits include improved

system management, increased utilization of server resources, and better service levels and agility.

What is server sprawl?

Over the years, IT organizations have

been deploying one server per application. In addition to being deployed on a

production server, this may also include

dedicated development and test servers.

These servers tend to operate at only 5

to 15 percent of their total capacity. As

organizations grow, the costs for their

server environments’ footprint, power,

A/C, storage, network and administration can escalate substantially. This results in server sprawl, where servers

are underutilized and operating expenses exceed their justification.

What is server consolidation?

Server consolidation is multifaceted.

One aspect of server consolidation is

achieved through the technology refresh

of the existing server environment. By

replacing older end-of-life servers with

new, state-of-the-art, energy-efficient

servers utilizing multicore processors,

IT organizations can reduce their footprint, power, A/C, management support

costs, cable management, network infrastructure and extended warranty services. Another aspect of server consolidation is achieved through the use of virtualization products. Virtualization products, such as VMware, Microsoft Virtual

Server, Solaris containers, IBM logical

partitions, HP Integrity Virtual Machines, have increased in maturity and

are being deployed through IT data centers. These virtualization products combined with new energy-efficient server

technologies provide IT organizations the ability to maximize hardware utilization and facility footprint, minimize

power and cooling, maintain application

separation and security, rapidly deploy

new application environments, and centrally manage and maintain data.

What is the difference between server consolidation and virtualization?

Server consolidation is the reduction in

the number of physical servers, the number of operating systems and the number

of applications. Multiple workloads can

be moved from several servers to a single server. Multiple workloads can be

consolidated under a single operating

system. Also, multiple applications can

be combined into a single system.

Virtualization is software that enables

IT organizations to virtually carve up the

physical server hardware with mutually

exclusive virtual partitions, thus maximizing their hardware investment.

Virtualization allows IT operations to be

performed with better economies of

scale. This allows infrastructures to be

managed efficiently even while a company undergoes high rates of growth,

while maximizing the utilization of existing resources.

Is there an expected ROI in server consolidation?

IT organizations can realize an ROI

from 30 to 50 percent through server

consolidation. Savings will be realized

through reductions in server counts,

warranty services, facilities, facility

operating costs and labor. Gains will be

realized through rapid provisioning and

time to market, centralized administration, increased security, improved service levels and agility. Some companies

report that 70 percent of their TCO for

typical data centers is for labor and outsourced services. One of the most effective ways to lower TCO is through server consolidation.

GEOFF HANSON is the practice director of servers and storage at Pomeroy IT Solutions in Cincinnati. Reach him at (602) 690-6376

or ghanson@pomeroy.com.