Voice of Experience: Cruise Control

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 2006-09-07

Nathan Myrold
Systems Administrator
Polaris Industries
Medina, Minn.

MANAGER'S PROFILE: Oversees server architecture for Medina, Minn.-based designer and manufacturer of snowmobiles, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. Polaris had $1.9 billion in revenue in 2005.

NEEDED A JUMP: In 2005, Myrold and his team set out to consolidate Polaris's server infrastructure by getting rid of servers at remote offices around the world and consolidating them in the data center at company headquarters.

HIS PROJECT: But the data center was already packed; they needed a space-saving server option with the processing power to replace the remote server load. That spring, Polaris bought blade servers—compact circuit boards packed into a chassis that has shared processors and connectivity—from Hewlett-Packard, its vendor for rack-mount servers.

REVVING UP: To accommodate the energy requirements created by the increased density of the blades, Polaris's data center needed additional power. With rack-mount servers, Myrold used two 20-amp circuits per rack. To meet the power needs of his new blade servers, Myrold paid almost $3,000 to add four three-phase 30-amp circuits to each rack. "The electricians asked if we were really, really sure we needed that much power," he says.

SPEEDING AHEAD: But without it, Polaris wouldn't have been able to move forward with blades. And Myrold's glad they did. Before blades, the single rack-mount server handling e-mail at the Medina office ran at 25% processor utilization. But on three clustered blades in Medina, Myrold and his team were able to run e-mail environments from nine different global sites—at only 20% processor capacity.