Step 2: Virtual Server Consolidation

Here are three tips for taking it to the next level

OK, you've virtualized as much as you can. Now what? Consolidating physical servers through virtualization doesn't address underlying complexities because it doesn't reduce the total number of servers you're managing. Here are three tips for taking it to the next level.

1. Contain virtual server sprawl. Just because it's easy to deploy virtual servers, that doesn't mean you should. Have a policy in place that adds some "friction" to the process, says Gartner analyst Tom Bittman. For example, every new server deployment should carry a significant chargeback cost.

2. Rationalize applications. Do you really need all of those apps? Ask users to take ownership of and justify both existing and proposed server-based applications.

3. "Horizontalize" the application infrastructure. A shared infrastructure is good; shared software is better. Business units serving different vertical markets might be using similar types of applications. You might be able to consolidate those applications -- and the infrastructure and development efforts that surround them -- into a single shared resource.

Consolidating applications is a priority for James Fortner, a general manager at P&G. "This is a change that has to happen," he says. "We will focus on the business value [of each application] and driving more business value with shared services."

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