Save through consolidation

Do you know how many servers your organisation runs? If the answer is no, you are not alone.

Do you know how many servers your organisation runs? If the answer is no, you are not alone. An asset inventory would leave many UK outfits surprised at the rates of server proliferation they discover - many of them probably purchased without IT's knowledge by other business departments.

And of all these boxes, how many are running at anything near capacity? Probably few or none. Gartner statistics reveal that Unix server utilisation is usually below 20%; and the figure drops lower still for Wintel servers.

In these straitened times, users have to consolidate to accumulate. Leaving significant "white space" idle on servers is unforgivable, and so is running a jumble of non-standardised software and hardware. IT departments need to wring maximum value from their assets, and server consolidation is as good a start as any.

Trimming the number of datacentres you have, bunching applications, rationalising your portfolio of hardware and software versions and suppliers - Gartner calculates that such actions can deliver savings of as much as 30% of your IT running costs.

Canny IT directors will be scouring their corporate architecture for ways of cutting costs. This week's IT consolidation feature on page 22 should provide clues galore.

Foreign interests could skew the skills agenda

The IT Sector Skills Panel, the body responsible for advising Work Permit UK on the IT market's need for overseas workers, could soon have a new permanent member.

Panel members last week learned that the India Business Group, a trade body representing Indian software houses, would shortly be joining them. Their response has been that while they are happy for the IBG to air its opinions, they view full membership as inappropriate. The panel, they point out, was created to represent the best interests of the UK economy, and the introduction of foreign members could compromise this aim.

Computer Weekly has already voiced its concern that, while recruiting overseas workers may, in the short term, appeal to IT managers looking for skilled workers on the cheap, in the longer term it could cause the pool of skilled contractors in the UK to dwindle too far. With the news that Work Permit UK proposes to allow overseas interests to wield power on the very body responsible for monitoring our IT skills base, our concern grows all the more acute.

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