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Tools Ease Consolidation Calculations


In an earlier IBM Systems Magazine series, I focused on the project-management aspect of server consolidation. There are many tools available to help you justify your project, architect your systems, and perform capacity planning and performance analysis around a server-consolidation and virtualization effort. IBM and its business partners provide these are special tools and utilities (all free) to help you realize the full benefits of server consolidation through virtualization.

Alinean's IBM Systems Consolidation Evaluation Tool

Let’s start out by discussing Alinean's IBM Systems Consolidation Evaluation Tool. Companies can use this tool during the assessment piece of a server consolidation. It’s designed to provide a preliminary, high-level analysis of the estimated potential consolidation savings by switching to IBM Power Systems server from other platforms. It allows you to take a single workload, enter basic account information and then uses benchmarks and other research elements to set normalized response values.

Among other features, it provides an executive summary and detailed ROI and total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) illustrations—based on the input you provide (see Figure 1). This worksheet compares the server hardware costs for ongoing maintenance and growth expectations for the current environment versus the purchase price and growth expectations for the server hardware for the proposed IBM server solution. It also provides elaborate documentation on your current configuration and the proposed changes.

IBM System p Consolidation Guide

Another tool worth looking at is the IBM System p Consolidation Guide, which was developed by IBM PartnerWorld group IBM CompeteLine. This guide is a complex spreadsheet full of dynamic formulas, which are used to help size Power Servers. It supports consolidation from systems including, HP, Fujitsu and Sun servers and even supports older pSeries and RS/6000 server migrations. It uses data from IDEAS International and Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) to help determine the number of POWER processors needed to support competitive workload consolidation to IBM Power Systems servers. It uses the server models to be consolidated, their current utilization, workload, and the OS that the workload will be moved to (AIX 6.1, AIX 5.3, AIX 5.2), and Linux as input. Its output is an estimate of the number of processors needed to support the workloads. I’ve used this tool to determine the number of servers and processor cores necessary to migrate from Sun and HP to IBM Power Systems servers, and in the process saved customers hundreds of thousand of dollars because I didn’t over architect the solution, which some consultants have a tendency to do.

Power on Wheels

So what’s a customer to do if you’ve brought into the concept of server consolidation, but really want to see a demo? The answer is Power on Wheels. This is an incredible offering—a real system that consists of a POWER6 processor in a Power 570 box, and 8-way XXX, a Hardware Management Console (HMC), and a Cisco network switch (see Figure 2). It’s actually meant to go to a customer for a two-three week period to demonstrate the benefits of server consolidation and virtualization. It’s prepackaged so customers can even add their own applications. It allows you to look at the benefits of virtualization, including CPU sharing and utilizing a virtual I/O server. It also allows you to look at green features such as Active Energy Manager. It even provides graphical monitoring and management tools and contains multiple LPARs of various OSs, including AIX and Linux. I’ve seen this tool demonstrated at one of my user-group meetings and I recommend this wholeheartedly for any customer who is seriously considering IBM’s Power Systems product line.


Ken Milberg, CATE, PMP, is a diverse IT Professional with 20+ years of experience. Ken is a technology writer and site expert for techtarget and has also been a frequent contributor of content for IBM developerWorks. Ken has also been a freelance writer for IBM Systems Magazine and is a former technical editor. He can be reached at

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