Consolidation, a challenge!

By , June 19, 2006 04:55

Last week I was talking to a customer. He has a big problem.

The topic of the meeting has been consolidating, and benefitting from Oracle’s licensing w.r.t. Sun. So far, the meeting went well, and then, during a small break, customer described his problem and asked for solutions to the following:

In his datacenter and under the desks in the offices, he often finds (and: Don’t we all do that?) small systems, running for years, some even decades, and doing real important stuff. These systems have never been part of the “real” datacenter, but still, can not be replaced, because they are vital parts of the overall environment.

Now, he faces the following problem:

These systems, as stated, are old, some are still Intel x386 boxes (mostly running Linux apps!). These systems are not fully loaded, but seem to run at some 20-30% usage (which we all know, is average, even today!). So, replacing these systems one-by-one with current boxes will not really yield a better CPU/performance ratio, because then these new systems would be used in the below 1% range. That’s a waste of resources, regardless of the fact, that such systems do cost way below 1000$ today.

So, he is looking for solutions to consolidate these systems, and have a proper way of doing accounting on the different workloads put onto these systems.

I simply stated, that we can do that, and he agreed to have a different meeting later this summer. Still, I’d like to outline, what we will be proposing:

  • With Solaris 10 we have Zones/Containers.
  • These can be put under control of the Solaris Ressource Manager and the Fair Share Scheduler.
  • With Solaris accounting tools, augmented by tools like TeamQuest, there are really flexible ways to generate accounting infos that can be processed by standard billing systems.

So, bare in mind: Consolidation does not always mean: Putting smaller systems on big systems. It can also mean: Making small systems even smaller!

So, small systems can now become even smaller, and I leave you with my initial answer to this customer:

“I do have an answer, but the initial statement might not be, what you expect:

The problem is not the technical solution, the problem is the acceptance of ‘partitioning’ OpenSystems. In the Mainframe world no-one really worries or even thinks about “sharing” pieces of the OS, or the hardware with a different business unit. In the OpenSystems world, no-one today really trusts this. With the certification of Solaris 10 as trusted, at least, we have the necessary technology and approvals to do just that.”

So, it’s up to you to start consolidating all your “long-forgotten” iron… ;-)

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