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Case Study:

Data Center Consolidation

Background

This financial services company grew organically into a large number of businesses, including mutual funds, institutional, 401k services, and HR services, as well as hotel, limo, and food service companies. Over time, these businesses often built their own processing capabilities, including data centers. This grew to over 250 “data centers” in place, often with separate support staffs and processes.

What We Did

Systems inventory and capacity profiles were gathered on 13,000 devices (30% more than the company estimated at the beginning of the study.) The Mainframe complex was managed closely to high utilization rates, while firmwide the average Windows Server usage was 13%, and UNIX, on average, was 17%. Profiles on staffing and command centers were gathered.

A strategy was developed around support and data centers. Fundamentally, there was a desire to combine all support into two main areas: portfolio management and the rest of the firm. Two geographically diverse main data centers (40,000-80,000 sq. Ft.) were designated as the target for consolidation.

What We Achieved

The organizational structure was quickly aligned to the target, and more than 150 data centers were repurposed to the corporate space portfolio for use as needed, including conference rooms, call center, labs, and general office space.
Physical server count has been reduced to 6,000, with excess servers retired or designated for future capacity requirements. Virtualization was used to drive Windows and UNIX usage to over 70%.

Summary

Industry: Financial Services
Scope: Corporate-level exposure, with $875M annual IT spend
Impact: Reduced facilities requirements by 150 data centers
Duration: 6 months assessment and planning, 2+ years implementation

Harvard Partners Skillsets

  • Project management
  • Data center strategies

Technologies

IBM i, p, z-Series, Sun, HP, EMC, Network Appliance, Cisco, Avaya, Aspect, Windows, AIX, Linux, Solaris

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Harvard Partners brings practical solutions to strategic IT issues in a collaborative and engaging manner. We inspire excellence from IT organizations by identifying opportunities for improved performance, minimizing risk, and training and coaching staff.