Ways 5, 6 and 7

By David Strom Print this article Print

Server strategies that can help you make your data center more efficient and cost-effective.

5. Look at what moving to blade servers can do.

Certainly, any server upgrade should include a look at what savings can be realized by moving to blade servers to save on space and common core components. The MD Anderson Cancer Center is a heavy HP ProLiant blade user.

“We took all our all pizza-box servers out and purchased HP blades,” says Sankhavaram. “We reduced power, footprint and cut our maintenance costs. These are very sweet machines: Some of the newer ones have 48 cores and can automatically turn themselves off when the processors aren’t in use.”

6. Keep track of your ports.

One problem brought on by widespread virtualization is port proliferation. It is easy to see more than seven or eight connections per physical server as the number of VMs on it increases.

“We have several different communications networks for VMotion heartbeats, storage and general networking,” says David O’Berry, the director of ITSS at the South Carolina Department of Probation, Paroles and Pardons, in Columbia, S.C. “They all need to own the port or the pipe.

“You end up with multiple networks even within your core networking infrastructure. You require a number of ports to handle all the virtual machines and virtualized input/output to maintain flexibility and scalability.”

7. Bump up your thermostat.

One simple fix for saving energy is something that every homeowner knows: Raise the set-point on your data center’s thermostat. You can do this safely because modern servers can tolerate more heat than yesterday’s mainframe could.

“After we built our new data center, we could raise the temperature four degrees without adversely affecting our machines,” says Eric Gorham, the director of IT for REJIS in St. Louis, Mo., a supplier of IT services for regional government agencies. “It saved us about $8,500 a year in cooling bills, and we don’t have to keep the place like a refrigerator.”

Manchester Airport’s Bazler agrees: “We run at 79 degrees now in our data centers. We could go even higher than that, but we want our staff to be comfortable.”

Deciding on the right server strategy can help you increase efficiency, offer better service, save money and provide a greener data center.

This article was originally published on 2011-04-06
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