on-your-markSure, IT consolidation is an excellent way to reduce costs and improve efficiency of your IT resources. Let’s do it. But what do they say about failing to plan? Consolidating servers, databases, and more can be a bit of tightrope walk to navigate not only technical and budgetary considerations but also business goals and even internal politics. In the consolidations that we’ve undertaken, there are a few things you have to get right at the start in order to set yourself and the business up for success. Here are three tips to get your IT consolidation off to a great start:

1. Have a goal. Do you want to virtualize certain servers? Do you need more storage? Consolidation without a goal can be a road to nowhere. It may seem common sense, but I’ve seen companies strive to “consolidate” without an end in sight. Sure, efficiencies are gained and some costs are cut with just about any consolidation, but the larger picture is missing and the consolidation might not solve the business’s most pressing problem if those performing it don’t realize what that is.

2. Take a comprehensive inventory. It’s important that you inventory not just the make and model of your hardware, your network topography, what’s running on each server, etc…but also that you inventory your data usage. Understanding how your data is growing will help you to better plan for future and be more strategic with your investments. In addition, you should be evaluating contracts and looking for potential gains and reviewing data center efficiency, power costs, and other issues beyond the physical inventory of hardware. Get a jump start on your inventory by downloading this worksheet.

3. Move strategically. This tip is twofold. First, to literally not rush into a virtualization or data center relocation if your current contracts or old equipment are set to expire/end of life three months from now. Waiting for a natural time to turn down and cut over will make the transition simpler and less expensive. Second, when making decisions on how to proceed with the execution of the consolidation, establish minimum requirements so that you can inch back from the gold standard that is proposed to meet the minimum requirements you’ve established. Project leaders or consultants should conduct a downtime cost analysis (if you don’t have one already) that will help you to understand what impacts your decisions will have.

These three tips will get you in the right mindset as you plan and deploy your consolidation. If you have questions about consolidating or are ready to start up a colocation or virtualized environment, contact us now.

We’ve created an IT consolidation worksheet to help you get started. Download it now.