Virtualization Consolidation to Cloud Foundation


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Over the last several years, virtualization has proven itself an invaluable technology for streamlining test and development environments, consolidating IT infrastructure, reducing costs and
setting enterprises on the path to cloud computing. Finding a company that hasn’t implemented at least one virtual server would be a daunting assignment indeed. The numbers are too compelling to ignore. Take consolidation, for example: experts agree that virtualization provides the ability to consolidate physical servers by approximately 20:1, cut capital and operational costs in half, and improve resiliency.

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Virtualization Consolidation to Cloud Foundation

  1. 1. PARTNERS IN EFFICIENCY White paper Virtualization: Consolidation to Cloud Foundation With virtualization comes a simple, automated infrastructure that leads to a dynamic, efficient enterprise. Over the last several years, virtualiza- end-all for virtualization. the real goal operational issues that stand in the tion has proven itself an invaluable is an efficient enterprise, one in which way of a full-fledged commitment to technology for streamlining test and the infrastructure is so simplified and a virtual infrastructure. Many organi- development environments, consolidat- automated that it can focus on in- zations are struggling to get past the ing it infrastructure, reducing costs and novating for the business rather than 25-30 percent mark for virtual serv- setting enterprises on the path to cloud keeping the lights on, as it were. ers compared to dedicated hardware, computing. Finding a company that Mann says. even organizations with hasn’t implemented at least one virtual andi Mann, vice president of research, aggressive consolidation plans have server would be a daunting assignment systems and storage management for undertaken them mostly with low- indeed. the numbers are too compel- Boulder, Colo.-based analyst firm enter- impact applications in mind. physical ling to ignore. take consolidation, for prise Management associates (eMa), infrastructure remains the preferred example: experts agree that virtualiza- describes virtualization’s evolution: choice for supporting business-critical tion provides the ability to consolidate “test and development came first, then applications. physical servers by approximately 20:1, consolidation drove explosive growth. cut capital and operational costs in half, But now virtualization is about flexibil- the reason? “they’re realizing that and improve resiliency. ity, with the real driver being the ability managing virtual servers is harder than to provide fast, efficient access to new they thought it would be,” Mann says. Virtualization End Goal: services and environments.” thE EfficiEnt EntErprisE But as many companies have dis- Yet as critically important a technol- covered, test and development and ogy as virtualization has become, the consolidation can’t be the be-all and average organization is grappling with
  2. 2. 2 Virtualization: Consolidation to Cloud Foundation PARTNERS IN EFFICIENCY White paper thE challEnGE of hEtEroGEnEous alization challenges are stymieing eSX Server virtualization software. Virtualization EnVironmEnts further deployment at many compa- Virtual infrastructure presents a dis- nies. “Unfortunately, many companies Cost and time savings have been tinct set of management challenges. that started the virtualization journey significant. at the 5,000 virtual server traditional management tools aren’t have run into a lot of roadblocks. mark, for example, Dell’s it group esti- as useful for virtual infrastructure as they’ve run into people, process, tools, mated saving $29 million in hardware some might want to believe, especially technology and performance issues,” purchases, reduced space and power when dealing with heterogeneous en- he says. “and these have nothing to do costs. “Our analysis shows that every vironments. although many companies with consolidation but operations.” nonproduction virtual machine we de- began their virtualization efforts with ploy saves us about $6,500 compared VMware’s market-starter hypervisor, this has led to myriad disparate to deploying and running a physical virtualization is fundamentally hetero- virtualization initiatives at companies. server, and every production virtual geneous, Mann notes. “Many companies say, ‘Yes, we’ve de- machine saves us about $9,300 over a ployed virtualization.’ But what they’ve three-year period,” says Matt Brooks, “Companies are deploying multiple done is deployed it in this business an it strategist at Dell. What’s more, hypervisors and multiple virtualiza- unit over here and this one over there. Dell’s it team can deploy virtual servers tion technologies—at the operating No one has collectively brought those and new applications to meet internal system, storage, server, network together,” Dina says. demand approximately 90 percent and desktop levels—from multiple faster than it could before virtualization. vendors,” Mann says. in fact, eMa the next phase in the virtualization research shows that only 2 percent of journey, Dina says, is about coordinat- Dell, one of the top VMware license organizations have a homogeneous ing, consolidating, grouping and shar- resellers, gears its service execution virtualization environment. the aver- ing virtual resources so that every- toward the same speed and predict- age organization has four different body—not just one business unit—can ability it has achieved internally. the vendors, technologies and platforms in take advantage of a universal virtual- goal is to create limited, fixed-price its virtual environment, Mann adds. ized infrastructure. “that model,” he engagements that assure operational says, “requires a change in operations.” readiness and practical executable this isn’t a tools issue alone. at many plans, Dina says. companies, virtualization also gives dEll sErVicEs: assEssinG rise to personnel problems. “Virtualiza- rEadinEss and spEEdinG Cadence Design Systems, a global tion puts its tentacles into everything, dEploymEnts electronic design company based in and organizations are finding that they Dell has parlayed its extensive inter- San Jose, Calif., can attest to the effec- can’t just have a virtualization team nal experience with virtualization into tiveness of Dell’s virtualization guid- managing the environment,” Mann a services organization that helps ance. three years into a virtualization says. “they have to have an entire customers quickly analyze and deploy program that began with data center management operations team working an effective virtualized infrastructure. consolidation, the company now runs and knowledgeable in virtualization. … Using a standard virtualization model a flexible, modular architecture that Once you get to a certain point, virtu- in its data centers worldwide, Dell’s it provides energy and cost efficiencies alization is computing, and computing team has built a massive virtual infra- and is easy to grow as needed. is virtualization, so you really can’t structure that today comprises more separate them.” than 7,200 virtual machines. the cen- Cadence Design Systems uses a Dell terpiece of the model is a four-socket solution comprising servers with intel anthony Dina, director of solutions Dell poweredge r900 server with intel Xeon processors and storage blades marketing at Dell, agrees that virtu- Xeon processors running VMware® to build a modularized architecture
  3. 3. 3 Virtualization: Consolidation to Cloud Foundation PARTNERS IN EFFICIENCY White paper “Virtualization puts its tentacles into everything, and freeing it staff to focus on new initia- tives rather than maintaining a legacy organizations are finding that they can’t just have a environment. the virtualization project virtualization team managing the environment. They paid for itself in the first two years, says rob Branson, director of the paC- have to have an entire management operations team Car infrastructure technology team. working and knowledgeable in virtualization.” emerson, a St. Louis-based global — aNDi MaNN, enterprise Management associates technology company, underwent a dra- matic transformation in its data center environment when it virtualized on that’s repeatable, easily deployable and a 26:1 consolidation ratio and avoid Dell™ poweredge™ blade servers with scalable. “the Dell modular strategy more than 2 million kilowatt hours. intel Xeon processors. the company enables us to solve our it challenges by all told, virtualizing and consolidating eliminated 3,600 servers and reduced giving us tools to help ourselves rather on intel Xeon processor-based Dell™ 135 data centers down to four. With than relying on an expensive, long-term poweredge™ servers enabled the the changes, emerson anticipates consultant engagement,” says Kanishka company to save an estimated $1.3 decreasing the operating cost of its de Lanerolle, director, virtualization million in capital expenditures. Windows server environment by 15 program, Cadence Design Systems. percent per year. the Dell servers have “the efficiencies we’ve gained by also helped make emerson’s global Since beginning its virtualization consolidating on Dell contribute to the production center 31 percent more ef- program three years ago, Cadence has company’s bottom line and ultimately ficient than traditional data centers. implemented more than 1,000 virtual help keep electric rates low for South- machines on 100 physical servers. Not ern Company customers,” says Dan thE importancE of having to buy 900 physical machines traynor, it infrastructure director at procEssEs and procEdurEs has saved the company $2.7 million the company. Following Dell’s processes and proce- in infrastructure costs, says Kaijun dures (Dell packages procedural guide- Zhan, it group director at Cadence. For paCCar, a $17 billion global manu- lines in operational runbooks) for iden- it also saves the company $900 a facturer of premier truck brands based tifying workloads for virtualization and day—$328,000 annually—in power in Bellevue, Wash., virtualizing on intel maintaining the environment was criti- and cooling costs, he adds. “We expect Xeon processor-based Dell™ power- cal to Cadence’s rapid deployment of that savings to rise as we continue to edge™ servers accelerated applica- virtual machines into its infrastructure. virtualize and consolidate our servers,” tion deployment time from 30 days “today we have a deployment rate of Zhan says. to about 20 minutes, enabling quicker approximately 100 virtual machines response to new service requests. (VMs) per month, which we expect to Virtualization projects at other Dell Likewise, integrating the virtual server double to 200 VMs per month when customers are equally compelling. infrastructure with Dell/eMC storage the Dell experts’ work is complete. as area networks helped speed applica- a result, we’ll be able to complete the Southern Company, which provides tion recovery time from five hours project much quicker than we could electricity to more than four million to about 20 minutes, enabling faster have on our own,” Zhan says. customers in the southeastern United backup and recovery. States, used virtualization to slash eMa’s Mann agrees it’s important to server deployment time by a week, in all, the company cut the number of establish strong processes and proce- drop data center space demands with physical servers by about 50 percent, dures for virtualization. “Some of the
  4. 4. 4 Virtualization: Consolidation to Cloud Foundation PARTNERS IN EFFICIENCY White paper serious humps to virtualization, and vices you’re offering to your business cloud, if you will, that will shape the eventually cloud computing, are hu- departments, then you’ll have a [much] way we approach it services for years man issues, particularly around politics easier time being agile and responsive to come.” and skills. the way to get over these and cost-efficient. humps is to establish standards, con- One of the first lessons Dell hopes to nect them to policies or translate them “and once you standardize,” he points share, Dina says, is this: Unlike virtu- to procedures and implement them as out, “you do simplify. and once some- alization, cloud is not a technology processes,” he says. thing is simplified and standardized, option. it’s a business model. “the it’s a lot easier to automate.” business model is ‘let’s let end users the virtualization modular solutions have the keys to the kingdom so they and runbook programs follow Dell’s Virtualization as can provision servers at their will on overarching strategy of helping cus- cloud foundation their own expense.’ that’s a cloud tomers standardize, simplify and auto- Once they’ve done all this, Mann model, and has nothing to do with mate. as Dell CeO Michael Dell said so adds, many companies may step from technology,” he says. succinctly during a recent presenta- virtualization into a cloud comput- tion, “Variation kills.” ing environment where users can tap While it might make great business into resource pools when, and only as sense for some companies to allow Not many organizations today have needed. it’s a logical (though unneces- users to buy infrastructure as a ser- standardized on x86 server infrastruc- sary) step. vice, it won’t make sense for others. tures, but the economics behooves So a company might ask itself, “‘Do i them to do so, Dina says. Cadence Design Systems, for one, looks want to be able to provision rapidly forward to tapping into Dell’s expertise and scale on demand? Do i need a Dell itself serves as a case in point. on cloud computing as it has with virtu- self-service portal?’ if the answer to in part by moving 97 percent of its alization. the promise of cloud comput- the latter is no, then cloud isn’t the systems to intel Xeon processor-based ing lies in the ability to add lots of flex- right business model. Does that mean platforms and using only two primary ibility to shared computing resources in being highly dynamic isn’t important? server images and one global client real time, says ron Smith, director of it Not at all—it’s highly valuable. But the image, Dell already has returned 30 customer enablement at Cadence. decision to move to the cloud is not percent of its it budget to strategic one of technology, inevitably, but one spending and is on track to achieve a Smith credits Dell proConsult Services of business model,” Dina says. 50/50 ratio in 2010. with helping them develop a flexible, scalable virtualized infrastructure that “Virtualization is more than likely eMa’s Mann agrees that enterprises will give the company the computing going to be how enterprises will be need to weed complexity out of their capacity to deliver innovative software cloud-like,” Dina says. “an efficiently infrastructures in order to achieve tools and chip designs well into the virtualized and automated environ- virtualization’s potential in enabling future. “the expertise Dell brought to ment—the most mature virtualization an efficient enterprise. “the more we the table was extremely valuable,” says environments—will look like clouds. customize things, the more they’ll Smith. “they helped us find the best What’s so highly valuable is the ability break and the more effort fixing them way to move forward with virtualization to be dynamic, a mid-step between will take. if you can standardize your and also to build on that foundation. today’s virtualization and tomorrow’s server types, your operating systems We’ll be able to build out a cloud that’s cloud options.” [and] applications, and even lift that specific to us but can meet a variety up a level and standardize the ser- of business needs—a generic Cadence