Leverage for Efficiency, Accountability and Performance (LEAP) Fund for performance audits
Server consolidation is an approach to the efficient usage of computer service resources in order to reduce the total number of servers or server locations that an organization requires. The practice developed in response to the problem of server sprawl – multiple, under-utilized servers.
Server consolidation is one means of cutting unnecessary costs and maximizing return on investment (ROI) in the data center. Although consolidation can substantially increase the efficient use of server resources, it may also result in complex configurations of data, applications, and service that can be confusing for the average user. To alleviate this problem, server virtualization may be used to mask the details of server resources from users while optimizing resource sharing. Another approach to server consolidation is the use of blade servers to maximize the efficient use of space.
Server consolidation can save money by reducing IT labor requirements in administration and support. Approximately 70 percent of the total cost of ownership (TCO) for typical data centers is for labor or outsourced services. Server consolidation is one of the most effective ways to lower TCO of a company’s data center.
Many IT administrators have discovered there is overlap between consolidation and virtualization, and they are wondering how they should reconcile these two techniques in datacenter environments. Virtualization tools such as partitions, virtual machines, and resource management software all enable multiple dominant workloads to run simultaneously on larger servers, which is typically a key aspect of consolidation.
But virtualization also offers far reaching opportunities for administrators to fundamentally transform the operations in their datacenters. Benefits to consolidation include more space, less cooling, and fewer machines.
Servers are cheap to buy but expensive to maintain. IT pros are looking at ways to cut down the number of servers they have to manage, which is why the focus shifts to server virtualization. Virtualization is one of the ways people can cut down the number of physical servers in the data center.
The process for consolidation should include the following steps:
- Analyze your IT environment;
- Indentify your goals and objectives so that the success and failure of the project can be measured;
- Sell the case to upper management;
- Sell it to end users;
- Plan the consolidated environment;
- Migrate the data
Consolidation Saves State $10 Million Over Three Years
The State of Ohio
Under budget cutting measures, the State of Ohio asked State agency CIOs to cut technology spending by 30 percent or $240 million. Part of the solution was a statewide consolidation initiative that would replace costly physical servers with flexible virtual servers.
Before consolidation began, Ohio’s 110 autonomous agencies, boards and commissions ran more than 5,000 individual servers. Since, 1,400 servers have been virtualized statewide, saving approximately $10 million over three years. The state removed 180 physical servers from the state data center and as a result, realized 105 kilowatt power reduction resulting in approximately $255,360 in estimated energy savings over five years. An additional benefit includes carbon reductions of 8,667 tons per year. The State of Ohio
School District Employs Consolidation Via Virtualization
South-Western City School District
The South-Western City School District is conducting server consolidation through virtualization. The district’s network also contains 25 virtualized servers on three physical servers, so in the event that one server fails, the virtualized servers are able to migrate to the two servers.
Server Consolidation Leads to More Effective Utilization of Resources
Fulton County, Georgia
The county’s Department of Information Technology (DOIT) undertook an enterprise server consolidation project to make serving such a large constituency and the county’s 42 government departments the DOIT less trying.
Before the consolidation project began in 2005, the DOIT managed an estimated 250 servers in remote locations across the county infrastructure. Not all servers were being used to optimum capacity and were not being backed up properly.
In 2008, the server consolidation project was complete, servers went from being significantly underutilized at about 30 to 40 percent utilized to an environment where servers can run multiple applications with a utilization rate of approximately 80 percent.