How many of your servers have been around for a decade? Not many, it’s safe to assume. (None ideally.) Chances are that the servers you deployed in 2001 were replaced 3-5 years later. And if there are a couple stragglers still around, they’re costing you a bundle in electricity and rack space.
Fortunately, longevity is creeping into the server landscape thanks to virtualization and hardware vendors that are all to0 happy to cater to the efficiency-boosting software technology. In his latest post, InfoWorld’s Paul Venezia offers some great insights that are sure to please IT execs. Sure, it flies in the face of folks that anticipate accelerated server replacement schedules because of virtualization, but there’s good reason to hope Paul’s vision plays out.
What lifted the current generation was a combination of mature hardware support for virtualization and the multicore NUMA boosts from AMD and then Intel. Those elements worked hand in glove to get us to a position where most medium-size to large enterprises find they need a remarkably small number of physical servers to run their entire data center. Unless we see a massive rise in software resource requirements, the same state of affairs could hold true for the next decade.
Neat, right? Complicit in this conspiracy to slim down the data center are Intel and AMD (soon ARM?). Both chip companies have made huge strides in crafting virtualization-friendly processors and chipsets, furthering technologies like NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) that make juggling multiple server workloads possible.
This is also proving key in numerous data center consolidation projects, like the one announced today between NYC and IBM. Nestled in the press release were clues about the virtualization-heavy, cloud-ready infrastructure that will replace the city’s creaky, multi-site IT platform. Although not explicitly stated, it’s a given that virtualization — and IBM server hardware that supports it (virtually all of it, nowadays) — will feature heavily and enable the city to reduce 50 data centers to a handful, if not less. If you’re thinking big savings, you’re right.
And if the tech runs well and endures for the next 10 years, that’s great news for cash-strapped NYC — energy savings and reduced carbon emissions aside.
Image credit: Flickr user Tim Dorr – CC (Lost fans, check out those names!)