Better Ways to Consolidate Servers

Jareva can help companies rein in their stampeding IT costs

With the sluggish economy, many companies are striving to cut costs and streamline their infrastructure. IT managers cannot afford to waste dollars on redundant data centers and management personnel, or on obsolete equipment.

Server consolidation initiatives are an increasingly popular way to get a leash on runaway IT expenditures.

Server systems that reside in crowded data centers usually dont operate at their full efficiency, with most systems utilized at only 15 percent to 20 percent of full capacity. With a large server population, sites require many IT personnel to keep things in order, working constantly on upgrading, patching and the occasional redeployment of new server systems to replace the old. Im sure most IT managers would agree that administering a large fleet of Microsoft IIS Web servers is not a simple feat.

The main focus behind server consolidation is to reduce cost by simplifying management, increasing hardware efficiency by having fewer systems doing more work, and providing ways to quickly respond to changes by redeploying applications or the ability to roll-out the latest upgrades.

There are currently several ways to consolidate servers, all of which are very time-consuming and not very efficient. Companies can centralize their co-locations into fewer data centers, or reduce the number of server systems running key applications by physically consolidating server and storage system into fewer and bigger systems. Alternatively, some companies attempt to consolidate applications and data by converting data into similar formats or platforms.

Microsoft has server consolidation kits that help IT staffs plot a course to consolidate Windows server platform and applications. In addition, Windows .Net Server 2003, slated for release next year, will offer better clustering and network load-balancing features that can help ease server consolidation.

This week, Jareva Technologies announced its OpForce Server Consolidation Solution that offers the enterprise with a tool to automate, streamline and control server consolidation processes.

Jarevas OpForce is already being used to consolidate regional or remote data centers. OpForce allows companies to make the transition to ultradense blade servers and move disparate smaller server systems to larger ones running virtual machines.

OpForce features automatic server hardware discovery of servers, network devices and storage systems. Creation and management Server snapshot creation and management capabilities—not only for the OS and application images, but also for user settings and configurations—are also provided. The new OpForce handles automated server reprovisioning of virtual machines or system partitions running within larger systems.

The OpForce Server Consolidation Solution should appeal to any company looking for ways to cut cost via server consolidation and can afford the up-front price, which starts just under $25,000.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at