Seven ways to trim data center costs

By : |June 11, 2009 0

MUMBAI, INDIA: Removing a single x86 server will result in savings of more than $400 a year in energy costs alone In the face of organizational budgetary cuts.  hardware rationalization projects usually yield savings of five per cent to 10 per cent of the overall hardware costs, when measured post project.  These are some of the seven effective ways enterprises can reduce costs in the data center during a 12- to 18-month period, according to Gartner, Inc.
These include sweating your assets and rationalizing hardware.
"While responding to contracting budgets, IT managers are expected to deliver an ever-increasing level of service to users, and many are charged with showing tangible financial savings as part of cost-cutting measures," said Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner. "Significant savings can be made in the data center. For example, removing a single x86 server will result in savings of more than $400 a year in energy costs alone."
According To Gartner, there are seven ways to go for.
First is rationalize the hardware. “Hardware rationalization will result in savings in several areas. First, it will help with asset and inventory management and provide a clear picture of the boxes that are being used effectively and those that are not. Second, server rationalization should lower maintenance and support charges. Third, serverrationalization will lower energy costs, typically more than $400 per server, per year. Finally, hardware rationalization projects usually yield savings of five per cent to 10 per cent of the overall hardware costs, when measured post project.” 
Second is consolidate Data Center sites.  Gartner opines that consolidating these multiple sites into a smaller number of larger sites will often result in financial savings. Such economies go beyond real estate savings and include getting rid of redundant IT assets, software, maintenance and support, and disaster recovery contracts.
While these projects often result in reducing the number of data center operational staff needed, Gartner advises users not just to get rid of people but to retrain them to fill skill gaps in other parts of the data center or wider IT organization. Site consolation can typically result in savings of between five per cent and 15 per cent of the overall data center budget.
Gartner also talks about managing energy and facilities costs. “Energy costs are rising for most data centers because the energy consumption of the underlying hardware continues to increase as new technologies, such as blade servers, are more widely used. As floor space runs out, more hardware is crammed into the space, thus requiring higher levels of cooling.”
Gartner recommends employing the following tools and techniques to manage the energy cost curve: raise the temperature of the data center to 24 degrees Celsius to reduce the level of cooling required; use outside/free air as an alternative to expensive air conditioning; use hot aisle/cold aisle configurations, blanking panels and economizers; and use server-based energy management software to run workloads in the most energy efficient way, such as taking advantage of lower energy tariffs.
Among other ways, managing people costs, renegotiating contracts and sweating the assets come up too.
“Data center managers must work with finance and procurement teams to revisit all hardware, lease, software, maintenance and support contracts. In some cases, it may be appropriate to terminate a contract because it’s too expensive, while in others, new terms and conditions may secure a lower payment schedule. Vendors are used to reviewing contracts during downturns.”
As to the sweating of assets go, Gartner views that delaying the procurement of new assets should be considered a necessary step for all data center managers. “Upgrading based purely on the book value could incur unnecessary costs earlier in the life cycle. This may result in a performance disadvantage and possibly an energy use increase but will defer the capital expense of a new acquisition. Users should negotiate on maintenance and support costs in such instances, as well as ensuring that software is still supported on servers whose working life is being extended.”
It also mentions virtualization of hardware to be encouraged to improve operational efficiency, as well as to support consolidation, decommissioning and cost management programs. “Although virtualization requires license and project costs, users can expect to see net savings within 24 months, and the effective use of virtualization can reduce server energy consumption by as much as 82 per cent and floor space by as much as 86 per cent.”


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