A recent IDC white paper survey of medium to large enterprises and their data center servers found that 55 percent of capacity is unused, resulting in Capex waste because of inefficient utilization. Equally important is the Opex waste from the time and personnel resources needed to provision workloads in a scenario in which increased server consolidation process time results in higher costs.
While these facts outline the obvious ROI of lower Capex and Opex with server consolidation, it is by no means the only beneficial return on investment that server consolidation provides. However, let’s be clear in that the benefits are possible regardless of which form of server consolidation an enterprise engages in. By looking closely at the various methods, we can get a better picture of the true hidden ROI of server consolidations.
From the perspective of physical server consolidations, when servers spread across multiple branch and remote offices are gathered into a central data center, this simplification process provides ROI in several ways. For one, the configuration control, restriction of server access, and increased security of the move are important. Second, the costs of moves, add-ins, and changes are reduced, as well as the costs of travel time and maintenance.
This type of consolidation can also reduce complexity and enable greater standardization of hardware purchases, which lowers costs. Migrating legacy operating systems to a newer version via rehosting brings the same ROI benefits when it comes to server consolidation.
Logical Consolidation and Containerization
Logical consolidation (hard partitions for OS, application, processors, and memory) via shared servers can save as much as 40 percent or more of overhead headroom while decreasing server assets. Another approach to server consolidation is containerization, which, depending on business needs, can be a more efficient, flexible, and cost-effective means of gaining the same benefits. Because of the flexibility to easily move workloads, containerization can be extremely cost-effective in terms of provisioning to meet changing business application needs.
Still, there are now third-party workload optimization tools—such as those from VMWare, which enable intelligent management and configuration of server resources based on workload demands—that can make partitioning a simpler process through rules automation. Both options for server consolidations mean fewer CPUs and fewer servers for support of multi-application workloads. These optimization options maximize asset utilization and consolidation while reducing licensing and facilities costs as well as labor.
Cloud Workload Consolidation
Today, with virtualization and cloud integration via a hybrid cloud strategy part of the mix for most SMBs and enterprises, the public and private cloud allow for server consolidations that can bring a return on investment in various forms. Still, realizing those benefits brings challenges across physical to physical (P2P), physical to virtual (P2V), and virtual to virtual (V2V) migrations in terms of moving workloads.
By utilizing select automation tools that can seamlessly move workloads between the various physical and virtual servers, organizations can overcome such challenges. This enables a far more flexible method of server consolidation that delivers maximum Capex and Opex benefits. Most importantly, the business can remain flexible and agile so that it can quickly move workloads to meet access, growth, and security needs as they evolve.
The right consolidation decision takes careful analysis of current TCO, proposed consolidation options and architectures, required investments, and potential savings. These can be complex decisions that often require the support of a managed IT services provider that can deliver expertise in all aspects of data center services and cloud services. Consultative and implementation support via managed services enables businesses to make sound decisions about server consolidations that deliver the ROI of minimum TCO with maximum agility and flexibility.