5. Consolidate hardware, software, and operating systems: Consolidation across the board appears to be an ongoing trend in IT. Fewer servers doing more work, software from only a handful of vendors, and fewer operating systems is the preferred approach. That said, the “one operating system to rule them all” concept is on the decline. Enterprises may desire fewer operating systems, but they also want some choice.
“We have noticed a broader use of operating systems than before,” said Li-Sevilla. “Customers are looking to harness the right operating system and platform for a specific usage.”
6. Use vendor tools, resources, and other freebies: Most vendors offer a host of tools, resources, and planning materials to smooth the migration path. In many cases, they are offered free of charge — provided, of course, you are using the gear of that specific vendor.
Microsoft, for example, offers a wealth of tools specific to various migrations. Anyone wanting to move from NT, NetWare, or Unix to Windows Server 2003 will be well-serviced with Microsoft-authored resources.
It makes sense, then, to be fully aware of the intended fate for your platform of choice, and to invest only in those that have a future.
“In order to assist customers in the server migration process, Microsoft has numerous resources, including toolkits, services, courses, best practice whitepapers, books, and Web casts,” said Samm DiStasio, a manager in the Windows Server group at Microsoft. “Through our work with partners, customers, and industry experts, we have developed frameworks and prescriptive guides that help with planning, deploying, and implementing server migration and consolidation projects.”
7. Think ahead: Most vendors know where they are going in the next several years. HP, for example, has a detailed road map that outlines its ongoing efforts to streamline its server hardware into three main lines — Integrity, ProLiant, and NonStop. This road map extends years into the future and details planned upgrades, changes, and product discontinuation dates. IBM, Sun, and other hardware vendors have similar plans.
It makes sense, then, to be fully aware of the intended fate for your platform of choice, and to invest only in those that have a future. By doing so, you can take advantage of trade-up programs and other incentives if you’re moving from a platform that is, or will be, discontinued, to one that will be around for a long time.
Another avenue to consider is proof-of-concept offers whereby the vendor sets up a system under consideration alongside the existing environment in an attempt to demonstrate the value of the upgrade. The advantage of this is that you don’t need to change a thing. HP, for example, offers up to $50,000 of proof-of-concept services for free in some instances.
Finally, think ahead in terms of your own needs. Yes, a 4-way processor may be enough today. But will it be enough two years from now? It may turn out to be more economical in the long run to purchase a computer system that supports eight processors instead of maxing out a 4-way system to save a few pennies in this year’s budget.
“It is far better to design a system that meets today’s goals while having the capacity for future growth,” said Nickolett.