Datacenter Optimization? It’s a Target-Rich Environment!

We’re struggling back from the depths of recession, but IT budgets remain tight.  The business community is demanding an ever-increasing amount of functionality from the datacenter.  Managing IT today is an exercise in being-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place.

 However in the midst of this seemingly impossible situation, there are bright spots.  Most datacenters are a veritable treasure-trove of opportunity for efficiency improvements.  Some examples include:

  • Typically over 90% of all data sitting on active disk has not been accessed in over 6-months.
  • An average physical server (non-virtualized) is less than 30% utilized.
  • Floor-space for a 42U equipment rack costs around $3000 per month (or $36,000 per year, per rack).  That equate to over $850 per U (1.75 inches), per year!
  • Replacing rack servers with blade servers can reduce the amount of rack space by at least 36% (typically much more).
  • According to Intel, upgrading servers to newer, more powerful systems can yield a consolidation ratio of between 4:1 and 7:1.
  • Standardizing on 45U high equipment racks, rather than 42U racks will reduce your datacenter foot print by (1) rack for every (14) equipment racks installed.
  • The purchase price for multi-tiered storage equipment is normally 25% – 35% less than traditional storage arrays.
  • Replacing boot disks with boot-from-SAN technology may eliminate literally hundreds of underutilized disks, along with the power and cooling they require.
  • 2.5 inch disk drives need 40% less energy (and cooling) than a 3.5 inch disk drive equivalent of the same capacity.
  • In a properly managed environment, LTO tape media will store seldom-used data for up to 30-years with a 99.999% recovery rate – at under $.03 per GB!
  • A well-designed SAN topology can lower the fibre channel port cost from $1800-per-port to around $300-per-port (an 80%+ reduction in cost)!
  • Well-designed and properly delivered IT training can increase productivity by 17% – 21% per FTE.

So where to start?  The quickest way is to perform a high-level assessment of the datacenter to identify the most promising opportunities.  This can be done by internal personnel, but it is a task most effectively done by an outside IT consulting firm that specializes in datacenter optimization.  They can devote the time necessary to promptly complete the task, and are not biased by day-to-day familiarity with the equipment that may mask issues.  Additionally, an professional datacenter consultant can deliver an industry-wide perspective, suggest best practices, and offer out-of-the-box thinking that is not influenced by an organization’s current culture.

Once all areas for improvement have been exposed and documented, the data should be transitioned into the architectural development and planning cycle to ensure any changes will not adversely impact other areas of operation, and are executed on a manageable and sustainable timeline.

 Unfortunately there is no “magic cure” for a difficult economy or anemic IT budgets.  However, most datacenters offer more than enough opportunity to enable you to shave 20% to 30% off the operating budget.

About Big Data Challenges

Mr. Randy Cochran is a Senior Storage Architect at Data Center Enhancements Inc.. He has over 42-years of experience as an IT professional, with specific expertise in large and complex SAN/NAS/DAS storage architectures. He is recoginzed as a Subject Matter Expert in the enterprise storage field. For the past five years his primary focus has been on addressing the operational requirements and challenges presented by petabyte-level storage.

Posted on May 17, 2012, in Datacenter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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