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
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