The past couple of weeks have been a combination of flights, hotels, late-night meet-and-greets, early morning sessions, and overall mind exhaustion. It is conference time in the tech world, and while the sessions I've been speaking about and attending are diverse, there is an overall theme that seems to be running throughout: consolidation, saving money, and going green.
Optimizing solution environments is more critical now than ever. Challenging economic times have led to reduced budgets and the need to do more with less. And while some initiatives are being delayed or cut, it actually may make sense to move forward with others. I know spending money or making changes seems like a huge mistake, but there are times when it may benefit your organization to do so. Let's take Exchange 2007, for example.
[ For the latest virtualization news and views, check out David Marshall's Virtualization Report blog. ]
If like most, your Exchange infrastructure is distributed and you're on Exchange 2000 or 2003, or a mix, moving to the more scalable and feature-rich Exchange 2007 can actually save money. True, moving to Exchange Server 2007 requires x64 servers, but with the aid of consolidation methodologies and virtualization, you may be able to reduce your server count by up to two-thirds.
While virtualization is fast becoming common across the IT landscape, some are hesitant to deploy it in mission-critical environments such as e-mail. More and more organizations are moving past this risk aversion and have been demonstrating that it is indeed a viable option that can pay off handsomely. Getting rid of aging and expensive-to-maintain 32-bit servers can be a boon to the bottom line, and replacing them with far fewer x64 servers can further reduce expensive datacenter real estate, software licensing, power and cooling costs, connectivity costs, and management expense.
Virtualization's potential extreme consolidation
At the Exchange Connections event in Orlando two weeks ago, the solution vendor Unisys articulated its approach to Exchange -- Consolidated Exchange Solution (CES) -- which relies on a highly tested architecture for enterprise-class mission-critical Exchange. Using consolidation methodologies, including virtualization (both VMware's ESX and Microsoft's Hyper-V), Unisys has demonstrated impressive reductions in e-mail environments' footprint and cost while increasing service level and functionality. One of the customers discussed in the Unisys session reduced its number of e-mail servers from 60 to two, each with three hard partitions, while increasing the number of mailboxes by 33 percent.