HP spells out three steps to hardware consolidation

Agencies looking to cut server and storage costs need to take three steps, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s John Whitesell said today at FOSE 2004 in Washington.

"Consolidation is a journey, one step at a time," he said. "It's almost like going back to the central mainframe," but with more factors to consider.

Whitesell detailed the three steps:

  • Identify existing applications that can run together on one server with hard or soft partitions, depending on technical and internal political factors'for example, one bureau refuses to share server space with another.

  • Determine the partition sizes necessary for the apps based on transaction volumes and use levels.
  • Price out the cost of a three-year consolidation, including cost of new hardware and support, and compare it against the projected three-year cost of maintaining the current environment.

    Hard partitioning is possible under Unix. Software partitions, multiple processors and server blades can divide up apps under Microsoft Windows operating systems. But there is no built-in partitioning as yet for Linux, Whitesell said.

    HP's 64-bit Integrity Itanium server line can support all three OSes and their apps on a single, partitioned box called Superdome, he said. It uses a Linux Web server, Windows 2003 for applications and HP-UX 11i for database applications.

    "It's a cookie-cutter server for data centers to swap all those types of applications in and out," Whitesell said. "Linux is the least expensive of the three in up-front cost'free'but the support is not free. HP-UX and Win 2003 cost about the same. Typically, we see Unix consolidations saving 15 percent to 35 percent over the three years, including new server cost."

    Organizations that consolidate their direct-attached server storage drives into storage area networks can save 50 percent or more, he said, and those that move from fat-client PCs to PC blades can save about 30 percent on their hardware.

    (Posted March 23 and corrected March 25, 2004)

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