Datacenter Consolidation: Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Utilizing virtualization to consolidate servers and storage arrays is becoming an especially hot topic among mid-sized and larger organizations.  As IT teams update older, legacy systems, virtualization gives them the flexibility to more efficiently utilize existing assets as well as reduce the number of total devices in operation.

Virtualization shifts dispersed, often single purpose application servers to a centralized resource of computing power that typically requires a smaller number of total devices.  The widespread availability of fiber networks and cloud infrastructure has accelerated this trend.  But, just because consolidation is a viable architectural alternative, does that mean IT managers should take the plunge?

Well, as a politician once said, where you stand depends on where you sit.

Typically, datacenters become fragmented for one of the following reasons:  a company has completed one or more acquisitions and left the acquired organization’s datacenter in place, an organization has grown significantly and simply created a new datacenter every time it opened a new facility, or an IT realizes their datacenter is running out of space and/or electricity and decides to open another one.

 As with any major IT initiative, to maximize ROI on the project, IT teams should have a clearly defined set of goals.  The most frequently cited goals and their rationales are below:

  • Greening the Datacenter – Consolidating multiple datacenters can translate to a smaller overall carbon footprint, less energy consumed and less heat produced that requires air conditioning.
  • Minimizing TCO – Bringing multiple datacenters into one or a few locations enables IT teams to better manage server and storage costs; e.g., a smaller number of larger storage devices are less expensive than multiple smaller devices.
  • Ensuring Up-to-Date Computing Platforms – IT teams are better able to manage migration from old to newer technologies in a consolidated environment.
  • Enhancing Security – Reducing the number of datacenters cuts down on the number of entry points for malware.  It also enables IT teams to more easily ensure all datacenters have the most robust security procedures.
  • Improving Service to Employees – IT teams can better manage the user experience and respond more quickly to error messages and other issues in a consolidated environment.

 To help ensure the success of the project, below are 10 tips IT teams should think about when planning a datacenter consolidation project:

  •  Determine Required Resources – Outline the capacity needed to support the move, the time and skills required and inventory the current software and systems in place to determine which assets will and will not function correctly in a consolidated environment.
  •  Create Specific Project Metrics – Map out goals of the project in terms of capabilities, time and resources required, and desired performance results.
  • Communicate with Other Disciplines Affected – IT teams should talk to facilities managers and others involved with a consolidation to understand any possible opportunities and constraints.  For example, facilities teams are often responsible for power consumption, the IT team must be clear on power needs for a consolidated datacenter. 
  • Minimize Changes Once the Project Starts – Unless there are technical or other “deal breakers” do not make changes to the project plan once it is started.  It’s too easy to miss the impact of changes on performance, security or another important metric.  
  • Add Experience Where Needed – Ensure there are people on your consolidation team with previous datacenter consolidation experience. 
  • Identify Best Practices from Similar Projects – Invest the time necessary to study datacenter consolidation projects at organizations in a similar situation to your in terms of locations, network architecture, how teams work and the types and sizes of files shared. 
  • Test and Test Again – As you complete elements of the consolidation, test and test again.  To the degree possible, test elements of the network under heavy operating conditions and look for any failures in performance. 
  • Use Datacenter Consolidation as anOpportunityto “Clean House” – As IT teams plan and implement the consolidation project, there’s an opportunity to address other IT issues as well.  Among these are activities such as removing legacy hardware from the network, either delete or move inactive data off of life applications, and determine what data must be stored on the network and what can be stored in the cloud.

 As IT teams consider data center consolidation projects, it can often be valuable to turn to a third party for an outside assessment and recommendations.  When reviewing these outside resources, IT teams should make certain they have datacenter consolidation experience in organizations such as theirs, as well as carefully check references.

Datacenter consolidations can provide many benefits, but IT leaders must be careful to define clear goals, continuously seek out and implement best practices and create a definitive, measureable timeline.

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Vector Resources to Present and Exhibit at 23rd Annual ITPX/NCUG Conference & Trade Show

Vector Resources will present on the topic, “The Next Great IT Product Is Now Available” next Tuesday, April 24, 1:40 – 2:30 p.m. as part of the 23rd Annual ITPX/NCUG Conference & Trade Show in Las Vegas. The session will be held in the Savoy Room. Vector will also exhibit at the show, which runs April 23-26, in booth #103. Industry experts and technology professionals will also be on hand to demonstrate and showcase their latest technology products, solutions, services and strategies for success.  Attendees will include decision makers, end users and others from all levels of government, universities, healthcare and banking.

In our session, we will be discussing and exploring topics such as:

  • How we tie together varying products from high tech flooring that aids in overall cost reduction
  • Finding the solutions to working in historic buildings
  • Lighting products that cost less, but provide great LEED return

 The conference will be held at the Flamingo Resort Hotel, 3555 Las Vegas Blvd., South, Las Vegas, NV.

 We hope to see you there!

Vector Resources to Participate in the 14th Annual Southern Arizona Procurement Fair

Vector Resources’ Phoenix team will participate in the 14th Annual Southern Arizona Procurement Fair, sponsored by the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Pima County Procurement Department and the City of Tucson Housing & Community Development, this Friday, April 20, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.   

More than 175 representatives from federal, state and local procurement agencies, and businesses who are eager to meet systems integrators and other products and solutions companies will be at this event.

The event is free and the conference will be held at the Kino Sports Complex, 2500 East Ajo Way, Tucson, AZ 85713.

We hope to see you there!

Vector’s New Harrisburg Office Hosts Table at PA Innovator’s Showcase

Last Friday, Vector hosted a table at the 20th annual PA Innovator’s Showcase, held at Harrisburg’s Whitaker Center for the Arts and Sciences.  Approximately 400 people attended the event. 

TechQuest Pennsylvania represents the state’s technology industry, building coalitions that advance strategies designed to increase technology innovation in the state. 

Vector featured several of today’s most important networking technologies, designed to enable users to work more effectively while protecting critical information assets.  Attending the event demonstrated Vector’s commitment to the Pennsylvania technology community.

Following the tabletop event, TechQuest held it’s Annual Awards Gala, which feted this year’s award winners in categories such as Innovation in Broadcasting Technology.

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