by Christopher Lindquist

Consolidating Computers: Kill the Beige Ones First

Jun 15, 20061 min
Computers and Peripherals

Neal Tisdale, VP of software development at NewEnergy Associates, an energy market services provider owned by Siemens, didn’t require a lot of analysis to determine which of his machines needed consolidation. He found many of his best candidates by their color: beige. “We looked at our oldest, beige, putty-colored, 1990s highest-wattage, lowest-performance servers and started virtualizing those,” Tisdale says.

And while he’s aware that a wide variety of tools exist for measuring nearly every aspect of data center performance, he says that just by getting rid of the old boxes (23 servers consolidated to a pair of Sun 4100s running VMware virtualization software) he avoided an expensive upgrade to the cooling and power systems in his data center. That in turn helped him to postpone buying extra tools.

About the only consolidation tool Tisdale will recommend is a physical-to-virtual conversion tool called PowerConvert from startup PlateSpin, which helped him completely clone some older boxes right down to the MAC addresses on their network cards, thereby saving him from having to recreate from scratch ancient hardware configurations in a virtual space. PowerConvert is “a good time- and risk-saver,” Tisdale says.