Server Consolidation means centralization of data, from multiple servers to single data storage, in order to cut down the server count. This enables backing up of data and archiving it in order to reduce the data access time by the clients, which paves way to efficient usage of computer resources. Consolidation of data base servers is the best solution for server sprawl, where several servers consume more resources and take up more office space, leading to increase in the workload.
Through server consolidation, a business can actually reap maximum returns on investment in a data centre. However, in command to use the servers efficiently, the need for complex configurations of applications and data can result in confusing the user environment. Conversely, the consolidation technology offers a solution, by masking the server resources from users while optimizing resource sharing. Adding to it, the use of Blade servers will also increase the processing power in less rack space and simplifies the use of cables and thus reduces power consumption.
Server consolidation types
Logical consolidation helps in channelizing the point of controls to single administrative stream and reduces the number of consoles. The server operations such as backup, restore, recovery, maintenance and support to users can be managed remotely. This helps in the reduction in the operational head count and increases the efficiency of the IT staff and helps out in the dilution of skills and cuts down the opportunity for inaccuracy in an organization. Thus service to the clients or users increases rapidly and reduces the cost of maintaining the environment.
Physical Consolidation makes it as a point to bring the IT environment under one physical setting and this leads to higher efficiency by cutting down replication of skill sets across dissimilar locations. Moreover, the power costs come down, office space is cut down and security is increased, when the systems are located in a centralized place and overall it leads to an increase in the networking configuration for higher availability.
Workload Consolidation reduces the count for storage media such as disks and tapes and also networking hardware and connections, along with operating systems, software and other peripherals and firmware. So, the flexibility of migrating the systems and applications also gets increased. Operating system environments make their users distribute more applications on a common platform of sharing the server and taking advantage of faster processors. Thus the workload of server consolidation can be organized by application forms and by the line of business, along with operating system type.
Transparent Consolidation is a way to bring all the IT sectors of an organization into one platform and thus create a single set of resources. This environment will be highly automated and the growth will be of high speed which is possible by low cost data networks.
Server Consolidation Benefits
Cuts down cost- through the server consolidation a lot can be saved, if the implementation of proper infrastructural planning takes place. IT firms will be happy to implement this technology as it reduces the maintenance costs and will also proportionately increase the service level.
Updating of legacy systems- As the time passes on, the technology needs to upgrade as per the demand and so the centralization of servers makes the migration to new platforms in data storage possible to maximum levels.
Hardware Accessibility- Since the server consolidation brings the option of offering less cost hardware to the storage area networks and to network area storages, the services can be thus rendered to many people and will make the availability factor proportionate to the costs.
Software accessibility- the software meant for server consolidation has become readily available and reliable making it performance oriented. According to the need of the IT sector, the technology is employing new set of optimization, in order to manage and to isolate applications and processes. This makes them run without the need of incongruence in applications, when vying on the same framework of hardware.
Vendor competition- As competition leads to more innovations, the vendors offering server consolidation software are also exploring the technology and are coming up with better products, to sustain in this competitive field.
Bandwidth improvement- Networking field needs consistent performance, in order to cut off the concern for downtime. With vast improvements being made in the network access, the data centers located remotely, will keep downtime related to storage, at bay as the steep rise in response time will surely increase the service levels.
Standardization improvement- With the increase in number of servers, the potential of the administration is put in jeopardy, as more work has to be implemented in managing them. With server consolidation, this gets eliminated as the number of server count is almost cut down by 60% and hence an efficiency increase is observed. The best example to support server consolidation can be observed in the cut down in software needs and the application patches, thus ensuring consistency along with efficiency increase.
Scalability concept- Server consolidation accommodates scalability option to the peak, but at the same time, the need for new software licenses is also controlled.
Security- The cut down in the server count will account to less malware vulnerability and this will surely pave way for offering better security, at less costs. Options such as these make the skills of the management improve and thus the administration levels will increase, improving the organizations financial abilities.
Server consolidation disadvantages
Computing costs vaporize- With the centralization of data, the estimation of cost for each application cannot be analyzed and the cost allocation to separate sub-domains in a domain becomes complex. That is, the processes which are chargeable to certain departments in the organization will not gain clarity and so the individual computing cost estimations will be hindered.
Management skills- a high level expertise is needed in order to isolate certain applications, from certain users in the domain. Thus the hiring of more skillful IT staff, for exploiting the server consolidation technology, will be a financially daunting task.
Lacks Redundancy- Redundancy is achievable when the RAID technology gets implemented and unless this is employed in the Storage media, data continuity remains biased.
User flexibility is crippled- IT departments will loose the control over the users’ data, as certain permissions and liabilities, will be employed in the consolidation system.
Infrastructure upgradation- In order to make the server consolidation achievable, certain infrastructural needs like cabling is needed, for ensuring a smooth flow of data. Moreover, the need for the operating systems like VMware arises and so, the upgradation factor can increase the financial investments. However, for a new business, a proper planning can make things easier, through Server Consolidation architecture.
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