Software Defined Data Centers: Moving Towards a Brighter Future
Companies that have not switched to a software defined data center model are missing out, maximizing existing infrastructure while throwing away money on upkeep costs. It’s time to move to a more efficient way of managing web applications and long-term storage. Modern computing requires more server power than ever: fortunately, server technology can handle more work than ever. Software defined data centers address the need for more power while being more economical in the process.
It’s Not New, but the Tech is Ready
Server virtualization is nothing new and these days it’s become a bit of a buzzword. However, the proliferation of web applications has shifted the need for computing power from the end-user to the server which marks a shift in how data centers operate. This concept is particularly important for mobile device applications because smartphones and cellular-enabled tablets have impacted the potential number of devices simultaneously accessing web application servers.
According to Wired magazine, data center virtualization works well for applications because it removes the application layer from the hardware layer. This means that the application’s resources can be pooled from multiple servers while allowing multiple applications to share resources from the same server. The servers do not even need to be in the same physical location.
Virtualizing data center servers allows operators to add or remove hardware assets as needed. If a business needs to keep running an older server application, it no longer needs to dedicate an individual server. A server that only runs the older application may sit around being unused 95 percent of the time whereas another application could take advantage of that idle CPU time.
Virtualization allows servers to split and share server hardware between applications as needed. This concept runs both ways. Adding additional hardware to address growing needs is a much easier process under this model. Migrating applications from system to system becomes easier because the implementations are no longer tied to specific hardware. Rationalizing, or allocating server resources to address individual implementation needs, is an effective way to minimize how much hardware a business needs to run its data center.
A Cost Savings Measure
Server virtualization is all about helping your business’ operational bottom line: data center servers typically are only using 10 to 50 percent of their CPU capacity at any given time. Businesses are paying for more server power than they need to do the required job. Virtualizing servers saves your business money by cutting the amount of server hardware the data center needs to operate and more efficiently using energy in the remaining hardware. For example, with virtualization a business can compress the applications running on 5 servers that are using less than half of their resources to 3 servers using most of their resources, saving 40 percent in infrastructure costs. While the three remaining servers are using more power to run CPU, RAM, and storage devices individually, other ambient expenses like cooling see a drop in overall costs. Idle CPU time translates into wasted operational costs.
The case for migrating to software-based data centers via virtualization trumps the old model across the board. If your business already has excess resources, the potential operational cost savings can quickly outweigh the cost to switch over.
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