Virtualization helps Emerson eliminate 100-plus data centers
Acquisition is a fine way to grow, but as global technology company Emerson discovered, it also meant ending up with a hodgepodge of differing IT infrastructures and services.
- Lower real estate costs
- 50 percent smaller server footprint
- An estimated 15 percent annual savings in Windows® server operating costs
- Decreased server deployment time
- Improved processing capacity and memory addressability
- Significant energy savings
Knowing that Emerson’s long-term success was based on services — rapidly delivering customer solutions anywhere in the world, often through mobile field workers — the company’s IT team realized that to ensure future growth, it needed an interconnected, global IT infrastructure with quick response times.
Instead of upgrading the diverse systems in its 135 or so data centers around the world, the team decided that a better solution was to virtualize and undergo a wide-ranging consolidation. Emerson set a goal to drop down to just four data centers, with new virtualized infrastructure running everything from the Microsoft® Office Suite and SQL Server® databases to specialized manufacturing and engineering applications used by the company’s various businesses.
After considering multiple equipment options, the Emerson team selected Dell blade servers with the Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series to power all of the company’s x86 platform-based systems. “We looked at products from many manufacturers, and the Dell PowerEdge™ M710 and PowerEdge M610 blade servers really stood out,” said Vice President and Chief Information Officer Steve Hassell. “It was clear to us that Dell had thought through the virtualization requirements and created blades that directly addressed those challenges.”
For storage, the Emerson IT team said good-bye to network attached storage. Instead, it standardized on the Dell/EMC CX4-960 storage area network (SAN), which has the performance and reliability necessary to support the 600TB of critical enterprise data the company had centralized.
The consolidation is expected to eliminate 3,600 physical servers. The 200 or so new, more powerful Dell servers are capable of delivering worldwide IT services for the entire company. The result is a big saving for the company in data center real estate costs.
The chosen new infrastructure is also much more power-efficient, delivering a considerable increase in processing capacity and memory addressability, yet with lower energy use than Emerson’s previous equipment. In fact, Dell servers have helped to make Emerson’s global production data center in St. Louis 31 percent more energy-efficient than traditional centers.
In addition to increased energy efficiency, savings will also come from reduced support costs — having a common infrastructure means simplified administration and training — and reduced operating costs: The IT team projects that 2010 operating costs for the Windows server environment will be approximately 15 percent lower than it would be using alternate hardware.
Another benefit of the virtualized Dell infrastructure is that it reduces server deployment time from weeks to minutes, giving Emerson the agility it needs to respond more quickly to new business opportunities.
Overall, Hassell credits Dell with helping to build a powerful and efficient IT infrastructure that will take Emerson into the future with global access to flexible IT services: “We believe in meeting the future with innovation, and Dell is a great fit for us because they’re an innovation leader in computing platforms.”