IT Focus Area: infrastructure operations
May 3, 2011
How to Find the Right Systems for the Right Workload
With virtualization and consolidation strategies promising cost savings, few companies actually realize those benefits due to the complexity of today's hybrid data center.
When it comes to their data center, IT leaders oftentimes wrestle with questions like:
• How do I make sure I choose the right platform?
• What if I virtualize on the wrong systems?
• How do I best maintain unnecessary software contracts?
One of the best ways to reduce costs is through systems cost optimization of hardware, software and maintenance costs. IT leaders can save millions of dollars by conducting a comprehensive analysis of their systems and developing a strategy for workload placement.
For workloads that rely on software packages that are licensed by the processor core, migration to systems with fewer, but faster processor cores can save money for your organization.
The characteristics of these systems significantly reduce the total cost of ownership for applications, by eliminating unnecessary software licenses and associated maintenance costs. The fewer processor cores required to support your applications, the fewer software licenses you will need. Fewer software licenses result in less maintenance costs and oftentimes significant savings for your organization.
To analyze your IT infrastructure for potential cost optimization and to best place your workloads, it is important to respect the three data center constraints beyond simple utilization.
Three Constraints of the Hybrid Data Center
The complexities of IT environments today are a result of factors beyond workload and simple utilization. Even in the case of the simple analysis of utilization, current systems management tools are not designed to aggregate, normalize and cross-correlate information in a way that would help you make better decisions on where to place the workload.
Therefore, developing a placement strategy will often leverage purpose-built software and processes designed to pull together the business, technical, and utilization data required to analyze and manage the transformation IT infrastructures. A quantitative and statistical approach to asset optimization is a process that considers all of the critical variables and provides an accurate view of optimization potential.
This approach considers the following three constraints of the data center:
1. Business Constraints
Many IT infrastructures are governed by strict requirements on how servers, applications and storage are organized. These requirements—whether originating from internal or external sources—are often designed to protect sensitive data, provide accountability and prevent conflicts of interest. A common constraint is reflected in the network-level organization of systems designed to separate operational components—such as database tiers—into distinct logical groups that have distinct security and access control policies. The phrase “business constraint” is used as an umbrella term to describe all of these constraints, which also include process, security and environmental requirements.
2. Technical Constraints
Technical constraint analysis strives to uncover both affinities and constraints in an environment from a purely technical perspective. This includes detailed scrutiny of system configurations, which can often limit the optimization potential of an IT infrastructure. A common technical constraint is examining if the software in question is supported on the target platform. Analyzing the candidate systems using rules designed to detect software compatibility will uncover the subset of systems that are true opportunities.
3. Workload Constraints
Workload constraint analysis is a sizing activity detailing utilization levels and patterns within an IT environment. The characteristics of the workload will determine whether dedicating resources, stacking applications or virtualization is the optimal strategy.
When you undergo significant transformation to your IT infrastructure that may require application migration, there are 3 opportunities to ensure a successful migration.