The floor space occupied and the rising cost of heating and cooling vast expanses of server racks represent a significant amount of your IT budget. Can downsizing and consolidating data centres yield long-term savings sufficient enough to warrant the project?
There is no doubt. By right-sizing, you can often recoup the project costs in months, not years. Through careful planning and a commitment to continued maintenance, data centre consolidation provides the ability to achieve attainable, sustainable savings during a time when such opportunities are both necessary and rare.
BM C IND U S T R Y IN S IGH T SWhen you move from one home to another, particularly if you re going from a larger place to a smaller one, you need to identify what you have, what to keep, and what to store. Chances are that you ll find a lot excess items you don t really need. As part of this process, for example, you may realize that it s not necessary to buy a new hammer whenever you need one just because you couldn t find the five other hammers in your garage. This discovery and consolidation process is similar to what happens when IT organizations look at consolidating their data centers.The floor space occupied and the rising cost of heating and cooling vast expanses of server racks represent a significant amount of your IT budget. Can downsizing and consolidating data centers yield long-term savings sufficient enough to warrant the project? There is no doubt. By right-sizing, you can often recoup the project costs in months, not years. Through careful planning and a commitment to continued maintenance, data center consolidation provides the ability to achieve attainable, sustainable savings during a time when such opportunities are both necessary and rare. defining data center consolidationThe term data center consolidation can mean different things to different people, from simply reducing the number of physical servers in an isolated location to reducing the global footprint of a company s entire infrastructure (including applications and software licenses, etc.). For the purposes of this article, think of consolidation as the act of reducing all entities associated with your IT infrastructure to a manageable set, helping you control costs without sacrificing your service level expectations and your service availability. This includes not just servers, networks, equipment, and the real estate that houses them, but applications, software licenses, management tools, and even people and vendors. One goal of a data center consolidation project might be to reduce power consumption costs by enabling you to consolidate servers and then monitoring, measuring, and reporting on power consumption. Real-time monitoring can provide an early warning of out-of-limits power conditions and historical power consumption information. This information can be used to assist with server consolidation and virtuali zation five steps to successful data center consolidationBy Vick Vaishnavi, vice president of Worldwide Marketing for BMC SoftwareUntitled Documentplanning, capacity planning, change planning, and continu ous improvement.reasons for data center consolidationThere are many reasons that companies engage in consolidation projects, most of which are directly driven by a common desired outcome: cost reduction. For example, let s look at mergers and acquisitions. If your company acquired another company, you would probably want to eliminate duplicate coverage by reducing the number of entities that serve the same purpose. By looking for multiple software licenses of the same application across your company and the acquired one, you might be able to reduce the licenses to just one. Or, if the acquired company has its own service desk system, then standard-izing on one represents a huge gain in efficiency and cost control. Similarly, the acquired company might have a different networking infrastructure that you need to consolidate. Or you might have too many vendors supplying similar products or services, and you d like to work with only one or two going forward.Some organizations use consolidation as a way to control costs by migrating underutilized assets or by eliminating assets that aren t in use. IT asset sprawl too many servers, applications, or other IT components prompts many organizations to undertake consolidation initiatives so they can achieve centralized access and management control in the data center. Others may seek to relocate IT assets to more cost-effective locations geographi-cally, abandoning pricey urban real estate for less expensive space in other areas. And, consolidation can help you centralize your data management by reconciling conflicting features of devices and keeping track of that information in one place. five steps for data center consolidationThe following five steps will help you in your data center consolidation efforts. These steps include building a business case, understanding what you have, identifying the best candidates for consoli -dation, repurposing and reconfiguring IT resources, and maintaining what you have achieved.1. BUILDING A BUSINESS CASE FOR CONSOLIDATIONAs you plan your consolidation initiative, be sure to build a business case in which you quantify the value of the consolidation to show that your efforts are meeting your goals. Part of consolidation takes into consideration the variety of skills required to maintain the infrastruc-ture. Therefore, an important aspect of consolidation relates to standardization. While consolidation typically refers to a reduc tion in systems, standard-ization means that you ve simplified the infrastructure, as an example, by moving all of your NCR and HP UNIX systems to SUN. Or, for your Windows environ ment, it means that you moved from HP, IBM, and Dell over to Dell as a single hardware platform. As a result, maintaining the infrastructure requires fewer skill sets. Standardization, therefore, positively impacts the staffing levels.When you examine staff levels, you ll want to ask questions such as these: How many level-one, level-two, and level-three people do you have? What do you pay them? After the consolidation, will you be able to do more work at level one and, therefore, save money because your staffing expenses are less for level-one people instead of bringing in a level-three person who commands a higher salary? You will also need to address how to refocus work so that staff members can be moved to higher-value projects.Also take a look at your projected growth. After you have consolidated your data center, how many of your physical servers would you like to repurpose, for example, so you can keep consolidating and avoid another sprawl situation as you grow? Building this business case in advance can help you keep your consolidation efforts on track. To achieve consolidation in your data center, you must understand what you have, identify the best candidates for consolidation, repurpose and reconfigure IT resources, and evaluate whether you re meeting your goals.2. UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU HAVE. Knowing what you have, which is a key part of the discovery process, is the starting point of consoli-dation. You need a very clear and accurate representation of the IT assets in your data center. A configuration management database (CMDB) can give you a complete view of what you have and how it is configured. In addition, service resource planning solutions can help you under stand the full breadth of your data center assets. Such solutions BM C IND U S T R Y IN S IGH T S5 Things To include in Your Business case for consolidaTionUse a discovery tool to get true visibility into your environment, its physical components and operational dependencies.Consider the physical plant costs you ll use less space, power, and cooling after consolidation.Use capacity management solutions to help you identify hardware that you can virtualize or make more efficient.Show metrics for the operational efficiencies you ll gain by auto-mating manual processes, improving mean time to repair (MTTR), and reducing the time and improving the quality of all operational processes.Quantify your plan identify how many servers you will implement, which operational tools will be used to replace older tools, and so forth.Untitled Documentenable the management of your vendor relation-ships, financial resources, compliance activities, projects and portfolio, and human capital. 3. IDENTIFY THE BEST CANDIDATES FOR CONSOLIDATION. When you understand what you have in your data center, then you can take a critical look and identify the best elements to consolidate to gain the greatest return in line with your objectives. Again, service resource planning solutions can help you, this time by identifying candidates for consolidation. For example, the vendor module in a service resource planning solution can reveal which vendors provide similar services and where you might reduce the number of vendors you use. The IT organization of a large financial services provider saved 5 percent of its vendor spend 5 million in the first year of imple -menting vendor relationship management. Using this approach, IT learned that it had contracts with approximately 12,000 vendors. By consolidating vendors, IT not only reduced costs but also improved the quality of services. The finance module will tell you how you re spending your money against different cost centers, and then you can use that information to examine where you might consolidate several cost centers into one. A human capital manage-ment module could map your workload to the number of people you have, telling you which areas in your organization are overloaded and which ones are underutilized.You also should identify underutilized assets and assets that you no longer need. Service assurance solutions such as capacity management and performance analysis solutions can indicate assets that are not being used to their fullest extent and capacity. A service support solution can tell you about software licenses and assets that are not being used licenses and assets that you probably didn t even know about and should eliminate.4. REPURPOSE AND RECONFIGURE IT RESOURCES. Now you re ready for the act of consolidating. Consider the example of consolidating three physical servers to one physical server. You ll probably use virtualization, and on the remaining physical server, you ll install the hypervisor. Then you ll create and replicate the features and characteristics of the two physical servers that are going away and that will now exist as virtual servers on one physical device. Finally, you ll repurpose the surviving physical server because its features and characteristics now reside on one of the three virtual machines that are on the physical server. This transformation is a really all about configuration management; service automation solutions can help you repurpose and reconfigure your IT assets. Compliance is an important part of the configu-ration management process. Look for a solution that provides comprehensive compliance and audit functionality across physical and virtual environments. You should be able to enforce configuration policies and detect and resolve unplanned changes in any environment.5. EVALUATE WHETHER YOU RE MEETING YOUR GOALS. After you ve performed the consolidation, make sure that your actions for data center consolida-tion are having the desired effect in meeting the goals and objectives that you had when you started the consolidation initiative. Solutions that provide measuring and reporting capabilities can help you verify the effectiveness of consolidation. Report-ing capabilities, for example, can indicate whether you re reverting back to the situation that made you embark on the consolidation initiative in the frst place. You also can rerun the service assu r-ance and service support solutions that you used to help identify candidates for consolidation. You BM C IND U S T R Y IN S IGH T SBuilding this business case in advance can help you keep your consolida-tion efforts on track. Untitled DocumentBMC, BMC Software, and the BMC Software logo are the exclusive properties of BMC Software, Inc., are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and may be registered or pending registration in other countries. All other BMC trademarks, service marks, and logos may be registered or pending registration in the U.S. or in other countries. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 2009 BMC Software, Inc. All rights reserved.*102068*BM C IND U S T R Y IN S IGH T Scan now use them to verify that you achieved the improvements you hoped to gain. For example, did your utilization improve and did you meet your goals? Did you reduce the number of software licenses?Maintaining What You have achievedFollowing consolidation, it s important to main tain a desired state in which policies and standards are defined, institutionalized, implemented, and enforced. Think of compliance as a byproduct of everyday activities. An automation solution can enforce compliance policies.Guidance from best practices, such as Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT) offers an ideal framework for governance of IT investments. By following this guidance, you can better enforce processes and procedures, which are important for managing IT effectively, regardless of your consolidation objectives. By continually maintaining the desired state after you have consolidated, you maximize your return on the consolidation investment and prevent future costly occurrences of sprawl, resource redundancy, and underutilized capacity.Technology can provide incredible value in this ongoing effort. A CMDB and compliance automation solution, for example, can audit and remediate devices if they drift from their desired states. Service assurance solutions can quickly and precisely tell you what a device looked like, what it will look like tomorrow, and what it probably will look like in 45 days. These solutions allow IT to predict technology events and automate their resolution before they interrupt or degrade business services.Similarly, technology can help you maintain centra lized access and management control after consolidation has made it easier for you reign in IT asset sprawl. At BMC we were able to eliminate more than 2,000 servers by running 17 virtual environments on a physical server. We have been able to save an estimated 10 million in data center costs and eliminated more than 5,300 metric tons of annual CO2 emissions as a result.BMC Software has solutions to assist you through data center consolidation and to maintain what you ve achieved. For more information, please visit www.bmc.com/serviceautomation. To learn more about how BMC can help activate your business, visit www.bmc.com or call (800) 841-2031.ABOUT THE AUTHORVick Vaishnavi, vice president of Worldwide Marketing for BMC Software, is responsible for driving BMC s global marketing strategy, market development, campaigns, and field operations activities. He has 20 years of experience in the enterprise IT software and has held executive and leadership roles in marketing, alliances development, product management, engineering and sales operations at various companies, including BladeLogic, Rishisoft, Opticom, and APRISMA. Before joining BMC, he played a key role in transforming BladeLogic from its start-up stages to its successful acquisition by BMC. He has been awarded six United States and international patents for his work in IT management software systems. He holds a BSEE from IIT India, MSCE from the University of Massachusetts, and an MBA in marketing and fnance from Boston University School of Management.ABOUT BMC SOFTWAREBusiness runs on IT. IT runs on BMC Software. Business thrives when IT runs smarter, faster, and stronger. That s why the most demanding IT organizations in the world rely on BMC Software across both distributed and mainframe environments. Recognized as the leader in Business Service Management, BMC offers a comprehensive approach and unified platform that helps IT organiza-tions cut cost, reduce risk, and drive business profit. For the four fiscal quarters ended September 30, 2008, BMC revenue was approximately 1.83 billion. Visit www.bmc.com for more information.