[LINK] Consolidating Data Centres Like Compacting Garbage
tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Fri Aug 13 14:41:38 AEST 2010
Greetings from Data Centre Strategics in Sydney
<http://www.dcstrategics.com/strategics_sydney_overview.html>, where I
just talked on Green ICT
But I got a little tired of hearing talks about the value of
consolidating data centres and virtualising servers. So I strayed from
my prepared talk and described consolidation of data centres and server
vitalisation as being like using a garbage compactor. If you have a
large volume of garbage, you can use a compactor to make it smaller, but
you still have the same amount of garbage, just in a smaller space. The
material you have has not improved in value, it is still garbage.
In a similar way server consolidation results in the same software and
data running on a more compact computer system. Most of the software and
data on the systems, in my experience, is garbage. An organisation can
be running dozens or hundreds of instances of web servers, mail servers,
database applications and other software, when they really just need a
few. Similarly most of the data in the systems is duplicated and in
inefficient formats. As a result, perhaps 99% of the hardware capacity
is wasted dealing with unnecessary software and data.
The way to deal with garbage is to is sift it, retaining the small
amount of valuable material and disposing of the rest. In a similar way
IT people need to sift through the applications and data in their
systems, to retain the small amount of value and disposing of the rest.
As an example, I pointed out that the Learning Management System used
for my Green ICT course is outsourced to specialist companies. Rather
than have the software run on a computer at the ANU which is running
assorted other software, it is on a system dedicated to running this LMS
and related software. This then allows the hardware and operating
system, to be tuned to this application. Also the use of the LMS removes
the need for many other specialised applications. The LMS needs a
database server and a web server, but that is about all.
Similarly the course content has been carefully tuned to be efficient. I
avoid using inefficient PDF documents, instead using HTML. This results
in much smaller files (about one tenth the size). The LMS helps with
this as it will format the web pages for printing, without the need to
turn the content into PDF.
As a byproduct of this web design, the content can be displayed on smart
phones and tablet computers as well as ordinary desktop computers. Along
with other optimisations this results in a course which takes about 1%
of the resources which would be typically required. This saves the
university some money, but more importantly benefits the students, who
can access the course from a remote location over a slow Internet link.
Tom Worthington FACS CP HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Computer Science, The
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/
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