Clearly the “next big thing” in the data center is virtualization. But we believe that IT shops that virtualize wholesale, without first retiring applications that they no longer need using tools like Solix EDMS or Solix ExAPPS, are missing a large chunk of the potential ROI.
The real benefits of virtualization are the substantial energy, cooling, and space savings, which have allowed organizations to extend the lives of data centers for extra decades. The big offenders in the data center are underutilized servers. An idle server uses 60%-70% of its maximum power and cooling requirements. Thus by raising server utilization from the 15% rate typical in pre-virtualized environments to the 85% rate normally seen in virtualized systems, the CIO can eliminate many of the boxes on the floor, cutting power and cooling demand while making room for future growth.
But virtualizing software that the organization no longer needs is not the best answer for those applications, and actually can make them harder to identify as they get lost in the overall virtualized environment. Often these obsolescent applications are forgotten and only found when someone does a systematic audit of what is running on each server or blade in the data center.
How important is this? Gartner estimates that 10% of the applications in an unoptimized portfolio are candidates for retirement while an additional 33% are candidates for migration or rationalization. Why? All applications eventually outlive their usefulness. Business needs and processes change, new technologies supplant old ones, the enterprise buys new divisions with duplicate processes running on different software. But those old applications are often never shut down. Users still need access to data, some users prefer the old application, others find that it is better for one or two lingering tasks.
Virtualizing these obsolescent applications still leaves them using up valuable resources and costing the enterprise money in software licensing and maintenance, support costs, and associated personnel. The better answer is to use application portfolio management (APM) to identify these candidates for oblivion and retire them first. This can have a major impact on resource use even after virtualization, maximizing ROI. And APM then can become the basis of managing the applications environment in a more sophisticated matter going forward — for instance by identifying applications that might be replaced by SaaS and those that should not be virtualized at all.
The problem, of course, is what happens to the data. And the solution is Solix ExAPPS, which relocates the data from retired applications with its full metadata into its repository with almost 90% compression and makes that data available to authorized users through a single viewer, replacing multiple large applications with a single, efficient tool, taking the ROI for virtualization to the max.