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Using Linux in a data center consolidation management strategy

(Ken Milberg) Why is Linux the answer for data center consolidation? To start, for a large IT infrastructure project to be approved in today's climate, it must make real business sense. The project must have a significant return on investment (ROI), which will lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Linux operating systems work well with these demands, as will be explained in this tip.

The primary goal of any data center consolidation project is to lower power and cooling costs, reduce real estate footprint and improve overall server workload utilization. Because data center consolidation usually involves server consolidation, this type of project should also substantially reduce the cost of service contracts and software licensing, while substantially increasing overall server workload utilization. I've led projects in which the largest single cost reduction was on the software licensing side. (Those of you that have worked with Oracle licensing on your server farms know what I'm talking about.)

Data center consolidation strategies

There are essentially two ways to consolidate data centers. One is a like-for-like forklift move. For example, a customer looking to consolidate four data centers into two. This scenario simply involves moving all of the equipment from the four sites into two data centers. There may be some virtualization and server consolidation involved, but no real effort to redesign or reengineer infrastructure. The other scenario would be to increase efficiencies and processes along with the consolidation of data centers. This involves strategic planning regarding the overall direction of infrastructure. While more complex and difficult, the latter move is the one that will provide the greatest ROI and TCO.[...]

Operating system consolidation
If your data center consolidation management strategy is built around Linux, you can keep your mainframe but run Linux. Same thing with your IBM p595 Power servers (formally running Unix) and your commodity x86 blades. At the same time you may also consider migrating off of Solaris to Linux. These moves can streamline your infrastructure. While you will not likely be able to trim staff down to just six people, but you might be able to get by with half of the staff previously needed. This is just one small example of how you can increase efficiencies by doing an operating system consolidation project in conjunction with a data center migration. As you know, Linux is no longer something just resigned to the back-end of data centers running Web or DNS servers. In fact, many companies already run all their information systems on this platform (e.g., Oracle).

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