Sizing Servers: How to Create Your Ideal Infrastructure


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This white paper looks at how businesses of different sizes use servers in their data centers. Server sizing and server refreshes are discussed, as well as virtualization and storage considerations, with an emphasis on how Dell and Intel products serve various size organizations.

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Sizing Servers: How to Create Your Ideal Infrastructure

  1. 1. Reference Guide Series Sizing Servers: How to Create Your Ideal Infrastructure Contents Overview. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Today’s Server Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Server Needs for Small and Medium Businesses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Why Optimizing for Business Size Matters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - Optimize for Your Size: 50-Person Business. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 - Optimize for Your Size: 100-Person Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 - Optimize for Your Size: 250-Person Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Dell/Intel Solutions for Storage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Brought to you compliments of: Overview This white paper looks at how businesses of different sizes use servers in their data centers. Server sizing and server refreshes are discussed, as well as virtualization and storage consid- erations, with an emphasis on how Dell and Intel products serve various size organizations.©2011 Dell, Intel and TechTarget
  2. 2. Reference Guide Series Today’s Server Challenges Inefficient data centers aren’t a goal for any business these days, no matter the size. Siloed data centers with badly utilized servers, rather than pooled storage or virtualized systems, often waste resources. And whether it’s a 50-person or 5,000-person business, cutting back on the electric bill is usually a priority. Today’s data centers might be a separate building or a glorified closet. Either way, think carefully about their design to optimize heating, cooling, power and space, while still handling added performance and capacity. Even small organizations can use technologies like virtualization and blades. However, doing it the right way on the right servers can get the most for the money. Server performance and reliability are the building blocks for a well-run company. Server Needs for Small and Medium Businesses Organizations with fewer than 250 employees likely need to keep an eye on their budget and get the most out of every technology component they buy. When it comes to servers, build a lean infrastructure that still has enough power for performance and growth. And consider server refreshes carefully, weighing out-of-warranty costs and higher maintenance fees against server purchases every three years. Virtualization can add great benefits, but not all servers are created equal for virtualization. Check out the power and performance numbers on servers, along with price, during the evaluation process. On a day-to-day basis, small business servers usually have to process a lot of data efficiently, and be able to keep up when the company adds new applications, data and employees. Using mobile technology for new remote workers, for example, adds the need for processing power and server needs. During every server purchase, think a few steps ahead. For example, if cloud computing is in the future, then creating a solid server base is a must. Why Optimizing for Business Size Matters Servers are the foundation of a data center. They need to fit the business, especially small or midsize businesses that are growing fast. The right server configuration can help a data center run smoothly and enable growth. And, choosing ideal servers means a business won’t be either underutilizing or over-provisioning. Look carefully at how much and what kind of storage a server offers, and also examine how it handles CPU and memory and how flexible it is. Finding that kind of server balance can save money. Many size businesses are looking for reliability and performance with the fewest numbers of servers. Servers with solid performance can be the key to future growth for small businesses. Look for servers that dynamically distribute power among workloads to reduce power consump- tion and add density, which can be a major money-saver for lean organizations. And keep in mind that server performance can adjust to match application needs, with policies that IT sets and can change as needed. As business grows, research other socket options in servers. Consider moving from one-socket to two-socket servers, especially as virtualization and better energy use become priorities.2 ©2011 Dell, Intel and TechTarget
  3. 3. Reference Guide Series Optimize for Your Size: 50-Person Business Some common considerations for 50-person businesses are probably related to getting the most possible use and performance out of the fewest numbers of servers. And, small IT teams are likely busy managing all facets of the technology infrastructure. The servers and configura- tions these businesses choose may be the foundation of bigger data centers down the road. IT teams need servers that are easy to fix, redundant and as intelligent as possible within the budget. That can save valuable time. A 50-person business often needs servers that are user-friendly and easy to deploy and main- tain. Look for servers with advanced management capabilities that can automate daily tasks. Those capabilities could include automated provisioning functions, like updates, hardware configurations and diagnostic testing of other servers. This size business might be using physical and virtual servers, with physical servers that include redundancy, and low wattage power supplies that help save money. Shop around for servers that are made for virtualization. And consider external storage connectivity options to help tie components together and offer flexibility. And while 50-person businesses need performance and reliability, they’re also probably looking to avoid unnecessary extras. Optimize for Your Size: 100-Person Business For an IT team at a 100-person business, some concerns might be around adding applications and users without giving up server performance. They might be virtualizing more servers to get the most out of the server room or data center. These companies may also be considering more redundancy and backup options as they serve more customers and need to protect more data. In general, growing the IT and server infrastructure under budget will likely be a continu- ing challenge. The to-do list for IT at a 100-person organization might include adding servers with faster performance speeds. Look at blade servers, too, to add density in limited space. And, think about better server diagnostics that continue to automate tasks and reduce management time. Businesses of this size have probably already thought about adding data protection and security features within their servers. Use hot-swappable hard drives to ensure easy server fixes, or add redundancy in the power supplies. Multiple RAID options on a server also allow for further protection and peace of mind. Optimize for Your Size: 250-Person Business A primary consideration for a 250-person business is probably continued data center growth without wasted resources. When to refresh servers to keep up with growth is a concern, as is maximizing the efficiency of current servers. Server management without added IT overhead is key for this size business, and so is managing virtual and physical servers efficiently. Intelligent server features around CPU and memory management can make a big difference in budget and resource utilization. For businesses considering the next level of virtualization, they may research flexible solutions, like those that help virtualize different generations of processors within the same pool. That means that workloads can migrate to fewer servers at night, saving energy. Consider blades or more compact servers to add density, too. Blade servers plus virtualization can help growth without physical expansion. Along with those expansion considerations3 ©2011 Dell, Intel and TechTarget
  4. 4. Reference Guide Series comes the need for managing power and cooling costs; check out highly efficient, power- optimized servers to meet those needs. And, it’ll be important to get more storage capacity on more hard drives per server. Performance and speed are necessities too, and high availability may be a concern. Data protection doesn’t cease to be a priority, so built-in server security and redundancy are key for these size businesses. Dell/Intel Solutions for Servers Dell’s servers are tailored for different size businesses. Most of Dell’s PowerEdge servers — blade, rack and tower — use the newest Intel Xeon processors 5600 series, which automati- cally regulate power consumption and intelligently adjust server performance according to specific application needs. Intel’s microarchitecture uses Intel Intelligent Power Technology to reduce energy costs over single-core servers by automatically shifting the CPU and memory into the lowest available power state, while still delivering needed performance. That adds up to a 15x11 performance improvement over single-core servers. Intel Turbo Boost Technology automatically increases processor frequency and utilizes hyper-threading to meet the demands of complex applications. Intel Virtualization Technology can virtualize different generations of Intel Xeon processor-based servers within the same virtualization pool, offering the ability to migrate workloads to fewer servers at night to save energy. Smaller businesses usually need to cut costs wherever possible. Dell server options include Energy Smart technology, designed for lower power and cooling costs. Many servers contain low-flow fans, better layout for airflow, and can include power capping, inventory and budget- ing. A server refresh often saves money too by cutting down maintenance costs. And those older servers are very often points of failure that are wasting too much of IT’s time. Any of these size businesses probably need to save time as well as money. The Dell Manage- ment Console — free with all servers — adds much-needed automation. Dell design also ensures that servers are easy to use, install and maintain. Hot-swappable, redundant technology means that fixes are easy and don’t lead to unplanned downtime. For virtual servers, there are em- bedded hypervisors that depend on Intel architecture to ease integration. And Image Direct cuts out manual configuration while managing physical and virtual servers. The bottom line is efficiency and performance for small and midsize businesses. Conclusion Servers are the backbone of a business, so choosing the right ones matters. Intelligent server technology can take some pressure of IT teams, along with powering systems in an energy- efficient way. No matter the business size, the right balance of server performance and utilization can power future growth. “Up to 15x performance per server” Disclaimer: Intel performance comparison using SPECjbb2005* business operations per second between four-year-old 1 single-core Intel® “Xeon® processor 3.8 GHz with 2M cache based servers and one new Intel Xeon processor X5670 based server. Performance tests and ratings are measured using specific computer systems and/or components and reflect the approximate performance of Intel products as measured by those tests. Any difference in system hardware or software design or configuration may affect actual performance. Buyers should consult other sources of information to evaluate the performance of systems or components they are considering purchasing. For more information, visit – Baseline platform: Intel server platform with two 64-bit Intel Xeon Processor 3.80Ghz with 2M L2 Cache, 800 FSB, 8x1GB DDR2-400 memory, 1 hard drive, 1 power supply, Microsoft* Windows* Server 2003 Ent. SP1, Oracle* JRockit* build P27.4.0-windows-x86_64 run with 2 JVM instances – New platform: Intel server platform with two six-core Intel® Xeon® processor X5670, 2.93 GHz, 12MB L3 cache, 6.4QPI, 12GB memory (6x2GB DDR3-1333), 1 hard drive, 1 power supply, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 64 bit SP2, Oracle* JRockit* build P28.0.0-29 run with 2 JVM instances4 ©2011 Dell, Intel and TechTarget