Server virtualization allows flexibility in resource deployment

By : |July 25, 2005 0

MUMBAI: Cost reduction and utilization are driving server decisions today. Many organizations currently run a single application on one or more servers. Hence, there is much more to manage, leading to more costs and headaches.

So why is our server utilization so low? According to Rajiv Sreekantan, product manager, eServer pSeries (64-bit POWER5 Servers for UNIX and Linux), Systems & Technology, IBM India, organizations have many non-production servers — development, test, backup and training (typically, two or three times more than production servers). These servers have low day and night time uses. Next, there are few ’24-hour’ production applications — most run during the office hours with very low overnight use. Further, real ’24-hour’ production application/database servers run at ‘full’ at 60-70 percent utilization, fluctuating between a low of 10-25 percent upward and up to a high of 70-80 percent. Sreekantan was speaking at the recently held Enterprise Connect 2005-06 event in Mumbai, organized by CIOL.

Innovations in server technology are changing the economics of computing to help enterprises improve server utilization and productivity, and hence, reduce costs. IBM’s new ‘eServer p5’ series servers focus on virtualization that helps consolidate discrete systems, allows flexibility in resource deployment and helps manage resources better. These are high-performance systems for high bandwidth infrastructure, have a higher performance/processor, and facilitate the reduction of the overall number of systems in the enterprise.

He said, “Virtualization is the ability to aggregate pools of resources for increased utilization and flexibility, simplified management and lower costs.” The virtualization engine virtualizes all system resources. It supports over 200 systems images on a single machine through micro partitioning, can move memory, CPU and I/O across all of the virtual machines that require them, and allows each image to be unique with its own OS.

The eight-processor POWER5 module is actually a server on a chip. There are eight processors in this module. Each center chip has two processors. All interconnects are available on the module, which also has 150MB cache memory. Regarding performance, as an example, it is capable of supporting approximately 400,000 OLTP transactions per minute and approximately 2,600 concurrent SAP benchmark users. This allows significant cost savings in at least the range of 25-30 percent. One hundred percent of p5 customers have experienced cost-savings benefit, with 60 percent seeing moderate-to-large benefit in cost savings.

According to the latest IDC report, businesses recognize the advantages of POWER5 and AIX 5L — as IBM continues to be the leading UNIX platform. The IBM pSeries is also the emerging UNIX leader. As per trends by Gartner, through 2008, the server OS shakeout will continue and the server microprocessor shakeout will accelerate as well. Windows, Linux and AIX are the three server OSs predicted to grow in share. Microprocessor architectures are also predicted to grow in share — IA-32, x86-64 and POWER. Next, AIX will likely overtake Solaris as the number one UNIX OS.

The breakthrough virtualization from IBM eServer p5 will help enterprises lower costs, improve utilization and TCO, and keep them prepared for tomorrow’s needs through a more agile infrastructure.

During the panel discussion on “Adoption of Latest IT solutions in Enterprises: The Pros and Cons” Ritu Madbhavi, systems director, FCB Ulka Advertising said that the key challenges a CIO faced today was managing rapid growth in business, matching technology investments with requisite growth, avoiding commoditization of technology and moving beyond labor cost arbitrage. “We should justify the adoption of any new technology. It should not be adopted for the sake of adopting it,” she said
Satish Pendse, CIO, Hindustan Construction Co. said companies that work in remote areas keep on adopting new technologies. However, it is important to upgrade the existing technology that is in place rather than adopting a new one.

R.P. Dumasia, GM-IT, The Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd, stressed on the need for close alignment of IT with business processes so that technology was intrinsically involved in all business strategies. “We should not look at the RoI factor for the deployment of any new technology in the businesses. All the resources, users and business process should be aligned together,” he added.

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