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FCW : November and December 2014
6. Update Storage Systems IT shops can take a further step toward optimization by reducing the range of technologies they have to purchase and support. Unified storage solutions, an alternative to purchasing separate block-based storage area network (SAN) technologies and file-level storage systems, are an effective approach because they support both types of systems and their respective protocols in one box. Virtual storage, which IT departments achieve by abstracting storage control planes from the storage infrastruc ture, also provides higher levels of efficiency and utilization. “Organizations can create a virtual pool of storage that consists of solid-state capacity, Fibre Channel disk- based storage and slower spinning hard drives and then allocate those resources based on the performance profile of individual workloads,” says Newman. “Tools like EMC’s ViPR allow you to gain that knowledge as you broaden and manage the environment. And they allow you to make changes to your storage profiles in almost real time for higher optimization of available resources.” Refinements in storage tiers provide further optimization. “The goal is to regular server refreshes is the risk of waiting too long. The IDC study Server Refresh Cycles: The Costs of Extending Life Cycles reports that delaying server replacements may result in increased operating expenses, wasting money that could be invested in the latest technology. 5. Look for Easy Ways to Reduce Power and Cooling Costs It’s basic math: When organizations run less hardware, thanks to optimization efforts, they’ll likely see a drop in fuel bills for powering equipment and keeping it cool. One easy way to cut power consumption is to eliminate ghost servers, the unused or underutilized legacy servers that run in many IT environments. Outdated hardware draws power, and it does so less efficiently than newer hardware. For example, Intelligent Power Node Manager technology available in some Intel Xeon processors enables IT shops to slow or idle processor cores when they’re not being used by an application. Other simple opportunities for saving energy include installing blanking panels designed to close up open spaces in currently unused server racks. These panels decrease server inlet air temperatures as well as increase the temperature of air returning to dedicated cooling systems, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA adds that a single blanking panel installed in the middle of a server rack can reduce energy by as much as 2 percent. IT managers can reap similar rewards by untangling nests of cables that block the efficient flow of air around racks and equipment. For additional savings, IT managers should make sure their data center hardware achieves high ratings for energy efficiency. The Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program offers advice on efficent IT products and a cost calculator for Energy Star-rated computers and office equipment. 7 get the maximum return on storage investments by reducing spending on extremely high-performance, Tier 1 storage devices for applications that don’t need that level of performance,” Desai says. Management tools can automatically move data to the proper tiers based on preset thresholds for the age of data and frequency of access. “Automated storage management means IT departments are not spending a lot of time on the administration of those activities,” he adds. Stay Flexible Close attention to these six areas will help IT managers develop optimization plans suited for the particular needs of their organizations. But because data center optimization is an ongoing process, the best strategies are designed with flexibility and long- term changes in mind. “An enterprise architecture shouldn’t lock you into a particular approach for years to come. Instead, it should give you the ability to make changes,” Newman says. Thus, optimization success doesn’t require IT managers to develop the perfect plan. “The key is to just get started,” he says. CDWG.com | 800.808.4239 4ab-7ab GSO145298.indd 4 9/23/14 12:07 PM