Infrastructure planning for CIOs

Get resources and advice needed to build, upgrade and/or consolidate the various components of your enterprise infrastructure.

Companies rely on their infrastructure to support the flow and processing of valuable information. Building a solid infrastructure often begins with selecting the right servers and operating systems and then determining the appropriate way to store and transmit data. In this guide, you'll find the latest resources and advice needed to build, upgrade and/or consolidate the various components of your enterprise infrastructure.

This CIO Briefing is part of the SearchCIO.com CIO Briefing series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.

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  The ROI of server consolidation
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Server consolidation is one of the most effective ways to lower TCO of a company's data center. Typically performed using one of the four strategies highlighted here, server consolidation methods can be applied independently or simultaneously.

Physical consolidation: This means collecting servers distributed across multiple remote/branch offices and business units into a central data center.

Pros: The team can improve configuration control by restricting server access, and strengthening business resilience through the superior data center infrastructure and security. It can also eliminate the cost of moves, add-ons, and changes (MACs), as well as break-fix maintenance and support by eliminating travel time and expenses.

Physical consolidation can help the team reduce complexity and more easily standardize purchases, configurations and management best practices. Costs to implement physical consolidation are low, and consist of network enhancements to support the centralization, data center build-out to support the consolidation, and physically moving the servers. Ultimately, IT labor savings can reach 10%.

Cons: The risks are performance degradations due to poor network planning and business resilience risks by having all of the server assets in "one basket," particularly if the data center does not have adequate recovery plans.

Re-hosting: Porting from older legacy platforms and operating systems to newer solutions often results in consolidation, as fewer new high-performance systems are typically needed to support the workload.

Pros: Depending on the age of a legacy system, expensive support and maintenance contracts can be eliminated. Since the number of administrators and support labor is usually correlated to the number of individual servers, having fewer servers generates proportional administration and support labor savings.

Migrating the operating system to a newer version enhances availability, security, management features and performance, and provides better upgrade options.

Cons: If the proposed system for re-hosting is not compatible with the prior systems, the application may require porting to another platform, custom code rewrites, procedures and data migration. Porting costs are often underestimated.

>> Click here to read the full tip on achieving ROI through server consolidation

Tom Pisello is the founder and CEO of Orlando, Fla.-based Alinean, an ROI consultancy and software provider. He can be reached at tpisello@alinean.com. For more information and exclusive access to server TCO analysis tools and white papers, visit http://www.alinean.com.

  Servers
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  Consolidation
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  Open source
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  Operating systems
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  Upgrades
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  More resources
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This was first published in October 2006

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