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FCW : November and December 2014
5 > servers to one box. “ But now you have a server that’s effectively running at a 90 percent utilization rate,” Schulz says. “There’s no payoff for that if response times double and phone calls to the help desk triple because people can’t get their work done.” A better goal may be utilization rates in the 50 to 75 percent range, he adds. To find the right balance between utilization and effectiveness, IT departments should create test beds that simulate real-world workloads to understand how changes will impact production systems. 3. Adapt Your Cloud Strategy Cloud computing remains an important component in optimization plans, but now the choices extend beyond whether to run a particular application in-house or in a public cloud. A growing number of IT organizations are adding hybrid clouds to the mix in the quest for better performance and efficiency. “ Enterprise customers I speak with are adopting a multi-cloud view of their IT environment,” says John Humphreys, vice president of sales and marketing for Egenera, a vendor of automation and management solutions for cloud environments. “This approach plays into the whole idea of consolidation in the data center. You devote your internal data center resources to the most critical applications and look to third-party service providers to handle the less critical application environments.” Today’s cloud technologies, such as VMware vCloud, enable enterprises to create connec tions to external hybrid- cloud implementations. “Workload mobility is changing the cost model for IT,” says Edward Newman, director of the Cloud and Virtual Data Center service line within EMC Consulting, Global Services. For example, with traditional outsourcing, long-term contrac ts give IT managers little flexibility to change if service levels aren’t being met or if a more economical In the process, CIOs are also turning former silos of servers, storage systems and network resources into dynamic pools of IT resources that support on-the-fly provisioning, increase scalability and bolster continuity of operations. Here are six strategies that promote optimization. 1. Consolidate the Physical Infrastructure At the most basic level, organizations can optimize their IT investments by making the most out of their available physical space. This happens when they reduce the number of physical servers and associated equipment running in the environment. IT managers can then pack more gear into the same physical space and shrink costs for building, leasing or maintaining real estate. 2. Capitalize on New Virtualization Opportunities Server virtualization has long been a key enabler for data center consolidation. It paves the way for dynamic provisioning, so IT departments can allocate resources to individual departments in order to address performance bottlenecks or reac t to new opportunities. For similar reasons, organizations now are applying virtualization to other core IT areas, including storage and networking resources. Virtualization can also increase the utilization rate of each device, which is especially important for servers and storage that use only a frac tion of the available computing power at any given time, says Greg Schulz, founder of the Server and StorageIO Group, an IT consultant firm. The benefits of higher utilization rates can continue even after the end of the normal business day, he adds. For example, instead of idling high- performance servers overnight, a savvy administrator can assign virtualized workloads for backups or batch processes to run on these units after hours. This delivers higher returns from an organization’s hardware investments by increasing the equipment’s overall produc tivity, Schulz says. Virtualization is also coming full circle in large enterprises that rely on mainframes for processing muscle. The abstraction strategy was born in the mainframe world, and now it’s being applied by organizations hoping to reap a number of administrative benefits, writes Wayne Kernochan, president of Infostruc ture Associates, a consulting firm. A single mainframe machine can run hundreds or thousands of virtual machines with relatively low system administration costs, he adds. But some analysts caution IT managers to take a prudent approach to virtualization-fueled hardware consolidations. The danger: Excessive consolidation may lead to end-user aggravation if performance bottlenecks develop. For example, a drive to reduce costs may encourage an IT manager to consolidate the workloads of 10 physical SOURCE: “Enterprises Seek the Benefits Of Hybrid Cloud, and Work to Overcome the Challenges,” Forrester Research, January 2013 PERCENTAGE OF I.T. DECISION-MAKERS WHO ARE ADOPTING OR PLAN TO ADOPT A HYBRID- CLOUD STRATEGY 76% CDWG.com | 800.808.4239 4ab-7ab GSO145298.indd 2 9/23/14 12:07 PM