E-GuideThe administrator’s guide toserver consolidationMany IT professionals realize the main benefit of virtualization is...
SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide                                       The administrator’s guide to server consolida...
SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide                                             The administrator’s guide to server con...
SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide                                             The administrator’s guide to server con...
SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide                                            The administrator’s guide to server cons...
SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide                                             The administrator’s guide to server con...
SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide                                           The administrator’s guide to server conso...
SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide                                            The administrator’s guide to server cons...
SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide                                           The administrator’s guide to server conso...
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E-Guide The administrators guide to server consolidation

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Many IT professionals realize the main benefit of virtualization is server consolidation, but consolidating servers can be more of a challenge than many realize. Developing a concrete plan for server consolidation is the first step organizations should take when moving forward with virtualization. This expert e-guide from SearchServerVirtualization.com uncovers the most frequently asked questions when devising a server consolidation plan. Learn ways to boost your server consolidation ratio and understand the benefits of a server consolidation project in your virtual infrastructure.

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E-Guide The administrators guide to server consolidation

  1. 1. E-GuideThe administrator’s guide toserver consolidationMany IT professionals realize the main benefit of virtualization isserver consolidation, but consolidating servers can be more of achallenge than many realize. Developing a concrete plan for serverconsolidation is the first step organizations should take when movingforward with virtualization. This expert e-guide fromSearchServerVirtualization.com uncovers the most frequently askedquestions when devising a server consolidation plan. Learn ways toboost your server consolidation ratio and understand the benefits of aserver consolidation project in your virtual infrastructure. Sponsored By:
  2. 2. SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide The administrator’s guide to server consolidation E-Guide The administrator’s guide to server consolidation Table of Contents FAQ: Devising a server consolidation plan Five ways to increase your server consolidation ratio Resources from Dell and IntelSponsored By: Page 2 of 9
  3. 3. SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide The administrator’s guide to server consolidationFAQ: Devising a server consolidation planBy Alyssa Wood, Assistant Site EditorServer consolidation is a main benefit of virtualization, but many admins struggle to developa server consolidation plan. How do you decide which servers to consolidate, and when?As you virtualize a data center infrastructure, take stock of resource requirements,performance needs and host capacities. Capacity planning and resource allocation areimportant elements of a server consolidation project, because the goal is to maximizecapacity and improve resource utilization.Server consolidation allows you to run multiple virtual machines (VMs) on a single physicalserver, which reduces hardware costs, saves data center space and improves resourcesharing. Most traditional servers use only 5% to 10% of their total computing capacity, butyou can run consolidated servers at nearly full capacity (although this isnt always a bestpractice).The responses to these frequently asked questions will help you create a serverconsolidation plan, decide which servers to consolidate and understand the benefits of aserver consolidation project in your virtual infrastructure.What are the benefits of a server consolidation project?There are many server consolidation benefits that come from server virtualization. Withproper server consolidation planning, you can increase physical server capacity utilization toabout 50% to 80%. And you can run a greater number of workloads on less hardware,which reduces data center power, cooling and hardware costs. Server consolidation makes iteasier to take backup snapshots of VMs and provide quick data recovery when VMs fail. Itcan also improve workload migration, management and intercommunication between hostsand VMs. In a server consolidation plan, you should consolidate less-critical servers first,then systematically consolidate more mission-critical workloads.Sponsored By: Page 3 of 9
  4. 4. SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide The administrator’s guide to server consolidationIs a server consolidation plan only beneficial for large enterprises?No, server consolidation also benefits branch offices. Smaller offices are often ideal sites fora server consolidation project because they have lower resource utilization, andconsolidation reduces space and power usage. Server consolidation planning can alsoreduce spare desktops or low-end rack servers that waste resources. When a data centerhas fewer servers, they are easier to secure, particularly in small offices where physicalsecurity is a main concern.How should I start my server consolidation project?To determine the number of physical servers youll need, identify which applications requirecertain hardware and organize VMs accordingly. Instead of traditional tape-based backups,you should perform VM migrations for backup. Setting up a test environment is anothergood way to start server consolidation planning. Before you execute your serverconsolidation strategy, its important to understand the benefits and what the payoff will be.How can server consolidation planning benefit test environments?Test environments enable you to stay up to date on virtualization strategies. But serverconsolidation in test and development environments offer numerous other benefits thanhoning your virtualization skills, including accelerated deployment time for the intendedinfrastructure. You can maximize CPU and memory usage, optimizing resources understress testing. You can even save test VMs as templates for future environments or newhosts. Server consolidation also allows you to create consistency in a test environment andcreate uniform backups.How does a server consolidation plan prevent sprawl?Running multiple VMs on a single server prevents a common data center problem: theproliferation of servers in physical environments. But of course, with virtualization, you stillhave to consider and prevent VM sprawl. When you deploy new applications or assign taskstoo quickly, this over proliferation of VMs often happens. A server consolidation plan,Sponsored By: Page 4 of 9
  5. 5. SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide The administrator’s guide to server consolidationhowever, helps avoid physical server sprawl by eliminating unnecessary servers in a datacenter.How can virtual systems management tools help my server consolidation plan?Virtual systems management tools can improve server consolidation planning. These toolsimprove server consolidation ratios through configuration management, VM management,workload automation and job scheduling. Important performance indicators include thenumber of physical servers retired because of virtualization, the percentage utilization ofresources and the number of VMs per physical server. With management tools, you cantrack and control resource allocation, dynamically manage VMs and dynamically balanceallocation between batch and online workloads.Sponsored By: Page 5 of 9
  6. 6. SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide The administrator’s guide to server consolidationFive ways to increase your server consolidationratioBy David DavisThere are several ways to increase your server consolidation ratio. Some require newhardware or software, but others you can do on the cheap.Server consolidation will always be the chief benefit of server virtualization. Withvirtualization, you can convert physical servers into virtual machines (VMs) and consolidatemultiple workloads on one physical server. And a high server consolidation ratio canincrease your returnLet’s take a look at five strategies for increasing your server consolidation ratio.Improving server consolidation with new serversReplacing an older physical server with a new, higher-capacity server is an easy way toincrease your VM consolidation ratio. For example, if you upgrade from a dual-socket serverwith two cores to a dual-socket server with eight cores, you quadruple your CPUperformance.The new server may also have more RAM than the previous one -- let’s say 32 GB instead of8 GB. By quadrupling the memory capacity, you may easily quadruple the number of VMson that host.Then again, calculating the exact number of VMs you can add to hosts depends on a varietyof factors, such as CPU, memory, storage and networking resources. But adding memoryand CPU resources will help improve server density numbers.Also, if you buy a new server with the same socket count as its predecessor, you likelywon’t have to pay more for licenses, because a lot of software is sold on a per-socket, notper–core, basis. VMware vSphere, for example, is licensed per socket, and all of the editionsup to vSphere Standard support up to six cores.Sponsored By: Page 6 of 9
  7. 7. SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide The administrator’s guide to server consolidationImproving server consolidation by upgrading memoryIn most virtual infrastructures, memory is a constraining resource. If you can’t purchase anew physical server, you can upgrading an existing server’s physical RAM. The price ofmemory is going down, so buying more RAM for your servers may be more cost-effectivethan replacing them outright.You’ll immediately see the server-consolidation effects of a RAM upgrade if you use VMwareDistributed Resource Scheduler (DRS). After upgrading a server’s RAM, you can watch DRSload the host with more VMs than it originally had.Software approaches to improving server consolidationVMware’s software offers are additional ways to increase your server consolidation ratio, butthey may cost more money, depending on your licensing level.DRS, for one, can make a virtual infrastructure more efficient and help you improve yourserver consolidation efforts. When a VM is powered on, DRS places it on the host that hasthe most resources available. DRS also migrates VMs to other hosts when they aren’treceiving the proper resources. By making the most efficient use of your hosts, DRS canhelp you achieve an optimal server consolidation ratio.Upgrading to the latest vSphere version can also help. Newer versions of vSphere typicallyadd features that improve performance. VSphere 4.1, for example, added memorycompression, which provides faster access to memory when resources are running low. As aresult, memory compression allows for a more efficient usage of memory at low levels, soyou can place more VMs in a memory-constrained.Right-sizing VMsIf you don’t have any money to spend on new hardware or software -- a common scenarioin today’s cash-strapped IT departments -- one way to get more out of your existingresources without spending a dime is to right-sizing your VMs.Sponsored By: Page 7 of 9
  8. 8. SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide The administrator’s guide to server consolidationTo right-size a VM, analyze its resource usage and adjust resource allocation accordingly. Inmany cases, the default RAM and vCPU allocations are more than what the VM actuallyneeds. Reducing the RAM and/or vCPUs assigned to a VM frees up resources for other VMson the host, creating room to add more VMs. You can right-size VMs manually, but vendortools such as VKernel vOperations and Embotics V-Commander can make the processquicker and easier.Setting VM resource limitsAnother way to free up host resources for more VMs is to set limits on the resources theyuse. You can place VMs in a resource pool and limit the resources available to that group, oryou can limit individual VMs’ resources.Resource limiting may reduce the performance of a VM, so take caution with this approach.But there are some low-priority applications, as file and print servers, that can have theirresources reduced without end users really noticing. You can also limit the resourcesavailable to users who take up more resources than they need to do their jobs (e.g.,capping the resources for a knowledge worker who watches videos or downloads largefiles). By freeing up these resources, you can accommodate more VMs in your existinginfrastructure.Sponsored By: Page 8 of 9
  9. 9. SearchServerVirtualization.com E-Guide The administrator’s guide to server consolidationResources from Dell and Intel6 Ways to Reduce IT Expenditures in the Next 3 YearsThis Is Not Your Father’s Server RoomSpecial Report: Your 2011-2013 Windows Server EnvironmentAbout Dell and IntelDell and Intel have worked together for years to bring you end-to-end solutions thatimprove business productivity, increase performance and reduce your total cost ofownership (TCO) across the enterprise.Sponsored By: Page 9 of 9

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