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Driving datacentre efficiency through server storage virtualisation

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Datacentre efficiency is a big concern for IT managers as demands for services continue to increase while budgets continue to be reduced. Supporting growth and maintaining availability per their SLAs while mitigating the risks to critical data, systems, applications and the computing infrastructure in the event of system outage or disaster presents an ongoing technology and business challenge.

It is essential that organisations continually and consistently find solutions that not only meet application and data requirements for capacity, performance and availability but also have proven ROI and cost reduction capabilities. In the past, companies have addressed this issue with separate server and storage for each application. For critical applications, this traditional strategy may require multiple servers for redundancy or scaling which then causes a dramatic increase in the footprint the IT department must manage. The larger the footprint the larger the staff required to manage and maintain it. Plus rent and hardware costs rise while licensing becomes less efficient. As a result, launching a new application, spec development, software purchase and installation as well as server preparation can take many months.

The growing number of servers significantly hinders standardisation and requires a continually increasing spare part inventory. With each application and hosting server standing on its own, different tools are often required for each. This make the overall management, automation and reporting very difficult. Any system service requirements mean downtime which has to be scheduled and requires the system to be taken down manually which then in turn reduces system availability. This is required for every system update or hardware change. Also because of rising power costs, cooling problems, usage limits imposed by local utilities or requirements to deploy additional servers without expanding an existing datacentre or building a new one, energy efficiency is a top concern for IT managers.

To address energy efficiency, IT managers have to look at a number of issues ranging from the smallest piece of silicon to the entire datacentre. To effectively address the increasing datacentre efficiency concerns, many companies have opted to virtualise their environments. As a result, server virtualisation has become the cornerstone technology used to increase efficiencies and add dynamic capabilities to the datacentre. Combined with storage virtualisation a dramatic increase in efficiencies can be achieved providing the means to a highly efficient and dynamic datacentre.

Virtualisation is an end-to-end strategy that can profoundly affect nearly every aspect of the IT infrastructure management lifecycle. It can drive greater efficiencies, flexibility and cost-effectiveness throughout an organisation. Data lifecycle can be efficiently managed, storage use automatically improved and server performance increased.

A comprehensive virtualisation strategy can transform the IT infrastructure. Virtualisation can be used to accelerate application deployments and ensure the availability of the system, application and data. In addition, a good virtualisation strategy can simplify server and desktop shutdown and rebuild for test and development. These virtualisation capabilities reduce risk, cut costs and improve the agility of the entire IT environment.

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