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Consolidation Planning


September 29, 2009 by Mike Hillwig

Last week, my boss handed me a gift. He asked our network admin and myself what our infrastructure should look like in the next six to eighteen months.

Right now, we have about 35 primary production servers. Many of them have a web/app server and a database server on them. I would love to do some serious consolidation. Our servers almost all fit into one of four generations, all IBM hardware, the 306, 346, 3350/3550, or the 3650.

In my perfect world, our universe would look something like this:

This is what I’m hoping to do:

  • Consolidate all of the MS SQL database servers into three clusters. I need to segregate these by network segment.
  • Consolidate all of the application servers into three corresponding VMWare server farms.

If we do this right, we can pull it off without buying many servers. Our existing 3350/3550 and 3650 servers are perfectly capable servers. They may need additional processors or memory. I’d rather spend the money on the right SAN and less money on servers. Imagine, consolidating your infrastructure down to half of what it is today!

My question to other DBAs out there is whether or not clustering is the right option here. I’m looking at clusters for high availability. The plan was to leave the servers as physical servers for now and then to virtualize them later. Or would I be better off to have them as virtual servers and leave the clustering to VMWare.