In today’s data center world, there is a lot of discussion over increasing rack density, utilizing the space you have without having to relocate, and more. Working with the space you have to accommodate growing data centers needs and increasing infrastructure demands may require some creative thinking but consolidation can be extremely beneficial. Data center square footage does not come at a cheap price and running large data centers or multiple data centers uses a lot of energy and manpower. Because of this, many data center managers are looking more closely at ways they can consolidate within their data center, or within their network of data centers, to save on the cost of overhead and energy use.
First, it is important to look at organizations that have multiple data centers. This can happen as a result of businesses acquiring other organizations that have existing data centers in place, or it can happen from gradual expansion of needs. During growth, it can seem or even actually be less expensive to simply keep those additional data centers open but, in the long run, it will not be. Separate data centers require separate energy usage, separate rent/mortgage, separate personnel, separate infrastructure and more. Those things add up over time and often what businesses find is that there are unnecessary redundancies that can be improved and solved with consolidation. The obvious concern with consolidation is downtime. Downtime can lead to loss of critical data, loss of money, and general frustration. Data Center Knowledge explains why consolidation is often the better choice, and what three areas to look at when beginning to consolidate, “In many cases, creating better efficiency and a more competitive data center revolves around consolidating data center resources. With that in mind, we look at three key areas that managers should look at when it comes to data center consolidation. This includes your hardware, software, and the users… There are so many new kinds of tools we can use to consolidate services, resources, and physical data center equipment. Solutions ranging for advanced software-defined technologies to new levels of virtualization help create a much more agile data center architecture… The software piece of the data center puzzle is absolutely critical. In this case, we’re talking about management and visibility. How well are you able to see all of your resources? What are you doing to optimize workload delivery? Because business is now directly tied to the capabilities of IT, it’s more important than ever to have proactive visibility into both the hardware and software layers of the modern data center.Having good management controls spanning virtual and physical components will allow you control resources and optimize overall performance… Data center consolidation must never negatively impact the user experience. Quite the opposite; a good consolidation project should actually improve overall performance and how the user connects. New technologies allow you to dynamically control and load-balance where the user gets their resources and data. New WAN control mechanisms allow for the delivery or rich resources from a variety of points. For the end-user, the entire process is completely transparent. For the data center, you have less resource requirements by leveraging cloud, convergence, and other optimization tools.” Every data center that has grown over time or has a network of data centers should carefully consider where consolidation can occur to save money, improve efficiency and improve overall quality of service.