A business's IT network serves multiple critical functions, each often requiring its own server to ensure downtime-free operations. However, these dedicated servers are typically underutilized, only working at 15–20% capacity. This is not an economically viable proportion — having multiple physical servers operating at such low levels of utilization needlessly increases operating costs and requires more complicated administrative tasks.
Server consolidation is meant to increase hardware resource utilization and efficiency. This approach reduces the total amount of physical servers required by a business and, accordingly, decreases hardware, software, and administrative and maintenance costs.
To consolidate servers, businesses can make use of server virtualization. With this, different virtualized servers are run simultaneously within the hardware of a single on-premises physical server. Another solution comes in the form of replacing a network’s older servers with virtual, cloud-based alternatives, or availing of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products.
- Server virtualization within one’s own network
Server virtualization is done by running multiple virtualized servers on one company-owned physical server. It is a process that allows a single physical server’s resources to be split for use across multiple isolated virtual server workloads. These virtual servers can function independently; each receives an allocation of the physical server's resources, shared with the other virtual instances on the server.
- Cloud-based alternatives
Cloud-based and SaaS products present another method of server consolidation. These tools lend access to storage and processing power separate from a business's own network. This allows native network resources on physical or virtual servers to be free for use by other essential applications.
Benefits of server consolidation
Server consolidation presents numerous benefits, such as the following:
- Reduces the overall number of physical hardware that must be bought or upgraded
- Eliminates the need for full-time technicians to maintain complicated server setups and simplifies the series of maintenance tasks and processes
- Lowers energy requirements to both supply power to servers and maintain an optimal operating climate
- Lessens the amount of physical space needed to house servers, allowing downsizing to smaller, less expensive spaces
- Frees up valuable resources that can be repurposed for other business functions.
Creating and implementing a server consolidation plan
Forming a consolidation plan requires thorough research and study for businesses to be sufficiently prepared for any challenge. Backup systems, for example, should be in place should a server fail. Security must also be prioritized if, for instance, a virtual server shares physical resources with a different business. A careful inventory of current servers and anticipation of any new resource requirements that come with growth is also critical in future-proofing an IT network. Consolidation plans must also be continually optimized through close monitoring of resource utilization, maintenance costs, and other miscellaneous expenses to ensure significant improvement over the pre-consolidation environment.
Though not an entirely new concept, server consolidation remains to be a powerful approach to network management that presents tremendous potential in the way of scale and efficiency. Even potential drawbacks can be effectively addressed with careful planning and research.
If you’d like to know more about the importance and benefits of a consolidated server, get in touch with our IT specialists at 281-502-2582. Safebit Solutions provides advanced yet affordable technology solutions as well as round-the-clock support and assistance all over the country.