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Consolidation and Virtualization

consolidationFor the past several years, virtualization has been the way that data centers talk about cutting costs, increasing utilization and saving power, cooling resources, and floor space. Unfortunately, many data centers have been somewhat slow in the process of really moving ahead with virtualization. Today, however, it’s quickly becoming less of an option and more of a requirement.

The end goal of virtualization in the server arena is, in many cases, consolidation. It’s important to have a handle on exactly what consolidation and virtualization are, particularly in regard to one another:

•    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.

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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.