This week at the Gartner Data Center conference, at a session on reducing data center costs, IT managers filled both the primary and overflow rooms. Gartner analysts John Enck and Raymond Paquet laid out some tips for shrinking data center spending.
But you can’t manage what you don’t measure. According to an audience poll, about 20% of the audience had no IT cost accounting in place at all, and 32% only tracked costs on physical assets. Over half the attendees were basically flying blind on their IT budgets.
Gartner said data center managers need to start automating processes. Around 38% of IT costs are personnel. If you want to cut costs, you need to cut people, according to Gartner.
Data center managers should also take a hard look at IT asset management to see what costs can be eliminated. “This is not one of those tools you will spend money on and don’t see ROI, you should see cost savings,” Enck said.
Around 80% of the audience had some kind of asset management tool in place. The rest had no systems in place or did manual inventory.
Gartner also said IT shops should learn a few things from the cloud computing providers, organizations running IT on such small margins that they need to be efficient with cash as possible.
-Storage will grow 800% in five years, so invest in the cheapest you can get away with.
-Buy the cheapest x86 machines you can find, exclusively rack based, not blades. 1U skinless, x86 servers, last year’s model where the cost is stripped out.
-Cloud providers primarily run Linux and open source systems management tools
-Power and cooling infrastructure are extremely efficient
-Delay purchasing the latest and greatest x86 procesors. The first six months of new Intel or AMD server has a premium price. Do you need that performance? Wait six months? Price drop. Another six months? Another drop.
A data center manager that works for a public entity in Southern California said his tactic for reducing data center operating costs is to put as much into capital expenses as possible. When he buys a server, he pays for five years of maintenance support up front, turning what would normally be considered Op-Ex in into Cap-Ex.
For more on data center cost reduction, check out our recent article on IT Cost analysis tools.