Data Center and Server Consolidation

Posted 2008-02-06 Print this article Print

Consolidating, organizing and distributing enterprise information assets in a disciplined CPM program is enough of a challenge without the burden of collecting those assets from around the globe with every new request. Among the many excellent reasons for consolidating application servers, ease of implementing CPM ranks with data security and cost-reduction in the top tier. Consolidating applications simplifies CPM implementation dramatically, by reducing the scale of data collection and management.

But the network implications of consolidation are significant. After consolidation, information users outside headquarters once accessed locally is now available only across a WAN (Wide-Area Network). Higher traffic across a poorly designed or implemented network increases latency and creates resource contentions, which combine to cut users' productivity and capabilities for collaboration. Worse, poor network performance raises demands for local control and "ownership" of information that can stymie CPM in its earliest stages.

Overbuilding data centers and networks is a solution, but rarely a cost-effective one. Instead, organizations use application acceleration technologies to combine data compression, "creating" bandwidth by eliminating redundant information before transmission, and implement QoS (quality-of-service) controls to prioritize mission-critical and time-sensitive information. Application acceleration increases the network's information capacity and keeps a spike in e-mail traffic, for example, from delaying mission-critical transactions or disrupting VOIP (Voice over IP) phone calls.

The best application acceleration technologies target major network traffic offenders for further gains. The Internet's TCP and UDP, and the Web's HTTP protocols require multiple transmission acknowledgements that increase network traffic, and can introduce significant delays-with frequent timeouts when information travels long distances or through satellite links. Microsoft's file services and Exchange add to this "chatter" by breaking transmissions into small blocks of data that clutter network links and slow application performance. Application-aware acceleration optimizes such traffic to near wire speed, improving effective bandwidth and quality of service without modifying the individual applications.


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