Underutilisation and less than optimum performance from today's server and storage systems are byproducts of two main issues.
Issue One : Servers and storage have been added whenever and wherever needed, by different departments, divisions and locations.
Issue Two : Many organizations deploy a single application per server.
Server and storage consolidation is one key way to improve utilization.
There are five types of server and storage consolidation.
Logical consolidation is the simplest and least expensive form of server/storage consolidation. It involves the consistent application of policies, procedures and best practices across infrastructures, including the use of consistent deployment, change management and monitoring methodologies and tools. Logical consolidation provides more control and consistency, and should be implemented and reviewed on a regular basis across IT organizations.
Physical consolidation involves the location of server and storage devices. By reducing the number of physical locations for servers and storage, organizations can greatly simplify the day-to-day management and operations of these devices. In fact, physical consolidation is often a prerequisite, or at least a good starting point, for all the consolidation types.
Workload consolidation involves moving the same application from a variety of servers and storage devices to fewer and newer more powerful servers and storage devices. Combining workloads that have been deployed remotely and/or on older generation servers can provide improved manageability, performance and utilization. Workload consolidation has proven very effective for a number of applications, including file/print and messaging/e-mail.
Storage consolidation provides a number of benefits. By combining disparate storage resources and moving to networked storage, organizations can simplify the management of storage and significantly improve utilization. The management of backup and restore processes can also be greatly improved through centralized, networked storage. These solutions will be the platform for continued, managed data growth in the future.
Application consolidation involves the aggregation of distinct applications onto a single server. New server virtualization technologies enable this by partitioning the server into virtual workspaces for each application. Extensions of this technology now enable the movement of these virtual machines across clustered physical systems, essentially removing physical limits to the number of virtual machines that can be supported. Virtualization is a technology that will be essential for the datacenter of the future and should be investigated by most organization.
Through consolidation and virtualization, organizations can dramatically improve utilization today. At the same time, clusters for key applications must be considered for additional utilization through availability.