Over the years, as dependence on the data center grew, some CIOs became more concerned with the size of their server farm than the quality of it.
But more isn’t always better. Having the capacity to handle a sudden traffic spike is nice, but keeping all of those unused servers around on clear days is a budget strain and a waste of management resources.
The term “server sprawl” was coined to describe these underutilized servers that cost businesses millions of dollars in the form of sunk costs, higher energy bills and wasted floor space.
It’s the result of servers left to run past their usefulness — older servers that take up space but aren’t being used to full capacity. These may also be servers that were turned on for that big campaign and never turned off. These servers contribute to overspending and can create security gaps within your infrastructure.
But there is a solution. The first step in taming server sprawl is consolidation. A consolidation project should be more than just an exercise in balancing servers, but also an opportunity to take a strategic look at your entire IT ecosystem for ways to transform and streamline operations.
Instead of thinking about how to simply replicate legacy environments with fewer servers, think about how to implement the right platform and technologies to empower the business.
One way to do this is with the flexibility of the cloud. A cloud allows you to control utilization by paying only for what you use. Instead of keeping servers around all year for a seasonal rush, you turn on the capacity you need to cover the spike, then turn it off when the rush is over.
Despite the prevalence of the cloud in business, many organizations are still apprehensive. Though the cloud was once thought of as inappropriate for mission-critical workloads, there are several private and hybrid cloud options that can meet the performance and security needs of demanding workloads.
For healthcare and financial organizations required to meet certain security and compliance regulations, a private cloud can be a viable alternative to the in-house data center. And as part of a hybrid configuration, private clouds can connect back-end elements like shopping cart functionality to image databases to create a fast, secure and seamless customer experience.
The infographic below shows how underutilized servers impact data center efficiency, and how a private cloud can accelerate server consolidation projects to help tame sprawl in your data center.