Although the IT staff at Bryant is happy with its Intel blades, it intends to transition to IBM JS 20 blades to accomplish yet more consolidation.
“We want to move from the H to the J blades for the sake of greater reliability and more robustness,” says Gloster.
This is part of a plan to eliminate the servers at the Bellow Center so the college has only one data center. Already the entire network core has been consolidated into the operations center. In the meantime, two IBM P550 servers have been added as an interim measure. These are 4-way processors with 16 GB of RAM. Rather than VMware, Bryant is using IBM LPAR technology to create virtual servers. Five Sun boxes have been moved over to two P550 systems. In addition, another Sun machine used for messaging is being moved onto an HS 20 blade.
“We are waiting for certification of our Oracle database by Sungard in the next month or so we can run Linux on the P550.”
However, this does not represent the end of the line on this initiative.
“We tested Sungard on the HS 20 and realized it wasn’t the right platform for ERP,” he says. “As we wanted to stay with blades, IBM recommended we wait for the next generation of Power blades — the JS 20.”
Bryant plans to purchase JS 20 blades next year. It will have more processors and will be configured to operate beyond its traditional role as a supercomputing platform. Until those new models become available, ERP is being shared between Sun and HS 20 boxes.
By January, the goal is to have one data center for the campus. The following year, it will move to a brand new facility. At that time the consolidation program will be complete.
“Consolidation has meant that we have been able to take on the management of our network internally and add more applications such as VoIP without adding staff,” says Gloster. “I’d estimate we have gained at least two FTEs by consolidating and minimizing the number of OSes.”