Last weekend, I spent some time talking with an old friend. He’s the CIO of a small business in the Southwest US. Over the last few years, he’s been having a lot of trouble keeping things running with a operations budget that is half what it was 5 years ago while supporting an organization that is twice the size of 5 years ago. While his operations budget has been slashed, his personnel budget has remained steady, which has allowed him to keep a good staff but his training and travel budgets are non-existent.
Like every other organization over the last few years, he and his team were asked to ‘do more with less’. After a few months of fighting against the ‘more with less’ mantra, the CIO decided to see just exactly how much more he could do with less.
He took a look at his data center and started looking for ways to save on operational costs while increasing capacity and capability. He finally hit on the fact that he could take a good number of the server he had running 24/7 and replace them with virtualized versions. After some analysis, he realized at that around 55% of his servers were under-utilized and could easily be virtualized. The remaining 45% of the servers were well-utilized but most of the operations on these servers where not heavy duty activities that required dedicated hardware.
A proper cost analysis was performed comparing a 2 year cycle of running the existing data center with the current servers and a new mostly virtualized data center. The virtualized data center won out in operating costs and licensing costs.
The decision was made to purchase new servers and VMware Sphere to begin the migration to a virtualized data center. The migration occurred over a six month period using with each server being migrated to VMware and then decommissioned after a testing period.
After another six months (a full year of running virtualization), the CIO and IT leadership took a look at their costs and saw that they actually did realize significant cost savings due to the move. Not only where operational and licensing costs down, but personnel costs to cover maintenance were down compared to previous years.
While virtualization isn’t the answer to everything, it can be an answer to the ‘do more with less’ mantra…and it worked for this CIO and his team. They’ve been quite happy with their new data center and have plans to look at more ways to virtualize their organization in the future.
Speaking of VMware and virtualization, you can now register for the VMware Online Forum 2013 event happening April 23 2013.
Photo Credit: less is more