Data center consolidation is an IT strategy brought on by the changing IT climate to combine large amounts of servers into a compact, cost-efficient system. A consolidation strategy can take years to plan and deploy, but has ultimately been shown to reduce costs, increase the business value of IT, and make a realistically manageable footprint.
The logic behind the strategy is sound: Having less should be easier to maintain, right? Unfortunately today's complicated legacy systems, stretched-too-thin IT teams, and tight budgets, can cause unforeseen consolidation complications ... which of course, means more time and resources to solve problems.
Here are five ways data center consolidation can benefit organizations:
1. Reduced costs
A consolidated environment means a smaller network and application infrastructure. As a result, businesses need less hardware, including costly items like servers, routers, and other equipment. A reduction in servers likely means standardizing on a few critical software applications, allowing companies to decrease operations costs.
Further, with the rapid growth of cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) options, data center consolidation brings many opportunities to slash operations costs further. The consolidated infrastructure also consumes less power and is easier to cool, reducing utility bills and paving the way for green initiatives that are swiftly gaining traction.
However, the most significant cost reducing benefit of consolidation is the lessened burden on IT and operations personnel. With less activity at remote locations, the management and communications requirements for those sites drop dramatically. This allows IT and operations staff to isolate and resolve problems faster and at less of an expense, freeing these resources to address high priority, business-critical tasks.
2. Increased control for IT
Consolidation promotes several avenues to optimization, like transport. With a more centralized approach, there are fewer pipes to monitor, the architecture is more straightforward and easier to control, and traffic patterns and volumes are more visible and clearly defined. Consolidation offers the option to deploy more advanced protocols and management strategies that maximize bandwidth utilization and performance of the network, but without straining the network and its applications.
3. Reducing the scope of security
Consolidation means some locations will be eliminated all together, and others will see reductions in size and scope. With fewer sites and assets to manage, the task of physically securing the enterprise becomes far easier, less costly, and requires fewer resources. Likewise, more compact enterprise architecture relies on fewer connections between facilities. Simplifying transport layer connectivity sharpens the focus and effectiveness of information security.
4. Disaster recovery
With data center consolidation, the planning, implementation, and execution of disaster recovery solutions are less daunting because all the vital components are in one place, easing replication and failover initiation.
Data center consolidation supports compliance efforts on two fronts. First, it promotes process and system automation, which takes the human out of the loop and captures the procedures and functions that must be executed to remain in lockstep with relevant policies, regulations, standards, and quality of service metrics.
Second, it encourages the implementation of a comprehensive auditing capability that allows for the conclusive demonstration of operational compliance at a snapshot in time or over a longer window of time.
My next blog will cover: Ensuring Performance for Consolidated Data Centers.
Belinda Yung-Rubke is Director of Field Marketing for Fluke Networks.