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A Server Consolidation Primer

sconOne of the hottest topics surrounding data centers today is the issue of server consolidation. If you want to get ahead, save your organization money and provide better levels of service with less money, server consolidation is one important part of your overall IT strategy. Knowing a little bit about how server consolidation works and when it’s most effective will help you decide how a consolidation strategy can help improve your business.

Consolidation and Virtualization

There are at least two key terms you need to get a handle on when dealing with server consolidation:

•    Consolidation. Let’s just start right out with the big one. Consolidation refers to the overall process of using your computer server resources in the most efficient way possible. In many ways, it came as a reaction to data center server sprawl, a condition all too common today. Server consolidation requires a number of specific technologies to make everything work smoothly.

    Virtualization. Virtualization is the process of separating a workload and its data from a physical server. By unhooking applications from specific servers, you can match workloads with your physical resources based on service level, cost and utilization requirements.

Virtualization, in other words, relies on tools such as virtual machines, performance and resource management applications and partitions to achieve consolidation.

Why Consolidate?

Server consolidation offers immediate benefits. By consolidating, you can reduce your IT staffing levels, your maintenance contracts and lower your total cost of ownership (TCO). You’ll reduce power consumption and you’ll reduce your data center floor server footprints.

On top of that, however, server consolidation lets you get performance where and when you most need it. You can allocate resources to make sure that critical applications run fast and continually, while applications used less frequently are assigned fewer resources.

Consolidation Risks

It’s easy to extol the virtues of server consolidation. However, there are some risks and concerns you need to be ready to face.

For example, you need to correctly map out your consolidation roadmap or you’ll face transitional downtime. In addition, consolidation places more critical applications into fewer servers, meaning that when a single physical server is down you may have downtime across several applications. Redundancy and failover become even more important when you’re looking at a consolidated environment.

Server consolidation isn’t the right choice for every organization. Companies with relatively small data centers can benefit from consolidation, to be sure, but the overhead involved in the consolidation process may severely delay the increased ROI.

Ultimately, you need to look at your entire organization’s IT environment to know whether consolidation is right for you.

Interested in a Server Consolidation Assessment? Register for a complimentary one from Unitiv!

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.