Data Center Consolidation

Data center consolidation is a hot topic in today’s IT world.  Considerations for saving power and money are key to the survival of any organization.  Data center consolidation can aid an organization with corporate green initiatives, can be an opportunity to bring in new technology and, in the long run, and can save the organization money.

Organizations are finding that IT vendors are making amazing claims and projections regarding how data center consolidation can benefit and save money for the consumer.  While there is definitely some truth to the benefits of data center consolidation, some claims are not always backed up by a solid, objective cost analysis. Fortunately, Galorath’s SEER for IT can help you objectively and effectively evaluate the cost and financial impacts of data center consolidation.

A prime consideration for data center consolidation is that organizations are looking to reduce the overall size of a facility or to merge multiple facilities into one, thus reducing both costs and the overall IT footprint.  But organizations have to ask if this is the best use of their available funding. Likewise, they have to assess whether the vendor is providing accurate estimates.

Dan Galorath writes that, “Studies show that about 21% use consultants and about 17 use ROI calculators from vendors.”  Galorath says that, “Hopefully, these analyses provide accurate costs and savings.”

Data centers gather and store database information that is necessary for an organization to function and make informed decisions.  Management of the data center can include computer and server operations, data entry, data security, data quality control and management of the applications and services that are used in data processing.

What do organizations need to look at when considering data center consolidation?

Each organization will begin the process of data center consolidation at a different point.  The need for data center consolidation is not necessarily an annual or even semi-annual consideration.  In fact, for most organizations, data center consolidation will happen once or twice every ten years or so.  Because data center consolidation can cause disruption in the normal day-to-day business process, it’s natural for executives and management to have a lot of questions.

Here are several reasons to consider data center consolidation.

  • The organization may no longer be able to support the growing business with regard to space, power needs, or cooling needs for the system.  Data center consolidation can help with the reduction of power usage. This is not only a cost saving measure but also important for those companies who are trying to go green.
  • The organization is being restructured or merging with or acquiring additional business.  Data center consolidation can be used when newly acquired business is being moved into the company or likewise when certain units are being sold or divested from the business.
  • The data center(s) may simply be aging and need to be updated or replaced.  Data center consolidation can be the best option when new technology is being introduced into the system.  Consolidation can help boost system performance with improved technology.
  • Data center consolidation can lead to more profitability as well as improve efficiency.  Consolidation can reduce costs by introducing energy efficient equipment as well as streamlined operations.

So, you’ve made the decision to move ahead with data center consolidation.  What points do you need to consider in defining the process?

  • ROI: It’s important to look at both the investments for the change as well as the cost of current operations.  In order to do the kind of evaluations you need, you have to have a good assessment as to what the costs are as well as what it’s going to cost once you have the new configuration.
  • Consideration of training and documentation of new procedures.
  • Decommissioning of the existing data center or programs.
  • Risk Analysis: What are the costs and time associated with completion of the project?
  • Service desk: Is first tier support part of your data center operations?
  • Cloud computing is becoming more viable and is a great tool when applicable.
  • 3rd Party considerations:  Will you be using 3rd party providers for SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS?
  • Upgrades: Are upgrades to the system a part of the consolidation effort?

The first place to begin answering these questions, and where Galorath’s SEER for IT (or SEER-IT) can help, is to begin with an inventory of IT assets.  SEER for IT can provide your organization with the answers you need to avoid project delays and cost overruns.

SEER-IT provides IT managers with better cost control and planning for IT projects and the ongoing support and maintenance of IT infrastructure and services. SEER-IT uses high level attributes such as the number of users, servers, applications, or databases.  With this information, SEER-IT allows IT managers to evaluate the cost and schedule trade-offs before committing to a project.

SEER-IT uses parametric modeling to replicate real-world scenarios and outcomes.  Combining sophisticated cost modeling technology with an easy-to-use interface, databases of industry and user inputs and rates and factors, SEER-IT brings best practices to the planning and estimation of IT projects.

SEER-IT estimates have been proven to be within a targeted range of plus or minus five percent on some of the most complex projects.  In addition, SEER-IT can accurately gauge nearly all aspects of projects that are needed to support an organization’s major IT initiatives.

When SEER for IT was released, Dan Galorath said, “We envisioned SEER for IT as a response to new compliance regulations, tighter budgets and calls by senior IT manager for help in running their departments more like a business.  CIOs tell us that inaccurate estimates account for almost all IT project cost overruns and delays and that the larger the project the more likely it is to be late and exceed budget – SEER for IT aims to change that.”

Components of SEER-IT include:

  •  IT Project Estimating Software: SEER-IT supports planning efforts throughout the entire project lifecycle, from the beginning conceptual stage through design completion, testing, implemention and ongoing support.
  • IT Project Planning Software: SEER-IT can provide detailed analysis into the risks, uncertainty and costs that are associated with the development and management of an IT project.

So, when looking at data center consolidation, SEER-IT can help IT organizations work well beyond just the management of routers, disks and servers.  SEER-IT can help IT orchestrate complex disciplines into effective business delivery systems, as well as helping to reconfigure IT systems as needed.

Studies have shown that more than 50% of IT projects will significantly exceed budgets or time schedules.  Many are abandoned before they’re even fully implemented. SEER-IT will help to avoid those pitfalls and waste of time and resources.

SEER-IT uses parametric modeling to improve success rates on IT projects.  Parametric modeling was developed to accurately assess what is known or unknown about a project using meaningful comparative data.

This is what SEER-IT can do for you and your organization:

  •      Estimate the effort and cost of IT projects and ongoing support
  •      Build project plans
  •      Objectively estimate costs
  •      Provide a consistent framework for estimating and planning IT projects
  •      Help with the understanding of project cost drivers
  •      Develop a realistic plan, which in turn increases the probability of success

IT professionals are constantly under pressure to deliver more to their company or organization, but often they have to do this without an increase in budget.  What they are faced with is finding ways to reduce costs without limiting, or instead actually improving systems. Data center consolidation is one way of reducing costs in the organization. SEER-IT is an effective, and cost friendly tool that can help IT managers meet those challenges.

Organizations can confidently rely on Galorath to provide accurate costs and savings projections.  In estimating data center consolidation, Galorath models the system as it currently is, then estimates what it could be including a risk analysis.  Galorath wants to make sure that the customer understands all available options. SEER-IT is the tool for gathering and providing that information.

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