Is Your Infrastructure Leaking Money?

Is Your Infrastructure Leaking Money?
reprinted with permission from HP

Whoever said “don’t sweat the small stuff” never managed an IT infrastructure—and certainly never during turbulent economic times.

According to independent analyst Forrester Research, global IT purchases in 2008 will grow by only 6 percent, versus 12 percent growth in 2007. So, although you’re already doing more with less, it’s time to do even more with even less.

Investing in management solutions to control infrastructure costs is one way to meet that challenge. Effective infrastructure management tools can lead to significant savings over time and help position your business to take full advantage of the upside when the economic tide turns.

Here are five ways effective infrastructure management can help keep you fighting lean:

1. Curb Power Use
The costs of cooling your data center can be as much as (or more than) the cost of powering its IT equipment. In fact, a study by HP and the Uptime Institute suggests that, in a majority of the world’s data centers, 60 to 70 percent of power use is associated with cooling IT equipment.

Management solutions that monitor, measure, regulate, cap and otherwise optimize power usage on an ongoing basis can keep power savings flowing long term. By moving compute power where it’s needed, when it’s needed, you can cut operating expenses in your data center and help keep the data center energy crisis at bay. And, sometimes, plans for costly data center expansions or new construction can be postponed or even abandoned.

2. Prevent Problems—or Resolve Them Faster
With remote management, IT administrators can discover, diagnose and fix a problem on a server halfway around the world, saving travel costs, wear and tear, and time.

Some solutions help IT employees collaborate and train more efficiently, too. For example, a database expert in Taiwan might collaborate with a storage guru in Singapore to work on a Hong Kong-based server–with both controlling the server in real time. And, with recording and playback, other IT employees can see how the problem was fixed, click by click.

3. Continuously Analyze & Optimize Server Workloads, Virtual & Physical
Capacity planning can be a complex, time-consuming and resource-consuming exercise if you’re using a patched-together spreadsheet to get the job done.

Today’s sophisticated capacity-planning software can monitor a mixed physical and virtual environment with fluid workloads, real time. Look for a solution that can handle complexity: a combination of large and small servers, blades, virtual machines, hard partitions, variable workloads and global demand. You also want a solution that works continuously behind the scenes, analyzing each server’s utilization, performance and power consumption. And it should incorporate significant quantities of historical data to help you make on-the-fly decisions.

4. Automate Deployment & Provisioning
Hardware investments might be slowing, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stop. Deploying and provisioning new systems is a big time drain that can keep people away from more value-added tasks.

Look for management solutions that automate deployment and provisioning with a simple drag-and-drop interface; instant, out-of-the-box functionality; and integrated storage and server management. Features such as auto-discovery, on-the-fly server configuration and scheduling can allow your team to deploy dozens of servers in minutes.

5. Increase Productivity with Unified Infrastructure Management
Unified infrastructure management software often results in all of the benefits cited above, plus the natural result of increasing server-to-administrator ratios. In fact, an IDC study of 12 enterprises using HP Systems Insight Manager, a management software solution, found that the companies were able to nearly double the number of servers managed per administrator, increasing the sever-to-administrator ratio by an average of 98 percent.

With the right infrastructure management solution, your IT staff can accomplish numerous tasks–decreasing deployment times, speeding time to problem resolution and balancing workloads, just to name a few—using a single console across multiple servers, both physical and virtual.

Smart Investment Can Be an Umbrella in Stormy Times
Investing in management software to control infrastructure costs is always important, never more so than during an economic crunch.

A recent IDC study found that HP Insight Control, which offers core management functionality for the full server lifecycle, provides positive financial benefits across the board, with three-year projected return on investment starting at more than 400 percent and payback periods of less than 10 months.

Not only can smart management tool investments help you pull through an economic downturn, but they can put you in lean, fighting shape for the inevitable recovery.

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