federalcto.com The Blog of a Federal CTO


The Federal CIO’s guide to partnering with Quest Software for Data Center Consolidation, Part II

Note 1: the bulk of this blog post was done on an Apple iPad - I point this out not because of a fascination with the iPad, but because of the fact that such long documents were not readily possible from a mobile platform only a few years ago.  That still amazes me.

Note 2: this is a very rough, stream of consciousness blog entry.  Grammar, spelling and other writing errors should be ignored. If you want a nice, clean "white paper" type of document, please contact me offline, and I'll get you something cold and clinical.

Initial assessment and baselining
Let's dive right in and get started.

To begin, an assessment needs to be performed to determine all the things that will be part of the consolidation.  Presumably, this has already started as an initial plan is due to be submitted to the OMB for review and budgeting. However, everyone knows adjustments can and will be made. So I'd suggest you do an assessment assuming every item will be questioned.

There are lots of ways to survey what you have, but looking to Quest to help with that may not be something you thought to do.  Well, you should.  The reason is that we have a lot of tools, and lots of tools to help with your entire environment. From the operating system, to the databases and file servers, all the way to app and web servers as well as desktops.  And while we're not in the inventory management business, we can certainly hold our own if you need a list.

"What kind of lists can you provide," you ask? For starters, we can get you users and desktops. Nowadays, most users are in Active Directory. And most of their desktops and laptops are joined to AD. So you could use something as simple as Quest Reporter to pull a list of those objects out of AD.  Following the 80/20 rule, that should give you a good ballpark of your end-user environment. Need something s little more accurate? Then you'll need to do more work but get more results. You can either go with something like Desktop Authority to get you a good idea of what is actually out at the desktop level.  Or, you can fall back to your AD event logs, and monitor login events over some time period with Quest Change Auditor for AD. In both cases, the products are sure to give you a lot more benefits beyond the initial assessment. And both Change Auditor and Reporter give you a good feel for your Windows server environment as well.

But the assessment is more than just a 'survey.' You cannot just make a nice clean inventory of everything you are responsible for, and leave it at that. It is critical to know -how- those systems are performing. In other words, you need to set a baseline, and you probably need to do it in 2 ways. The first way is through some measurements and metrics. Quest's Foglight platform is fantastic for end to end monitoring, and it can serve double duty by providing those initial statistics up and down your entire app stack.

Foglight can also provide those initial lists I mention above.  You need RAM, CPU and disk numbers off your servers? We can get those to you, and help with some capacity planning as well. And if you run Foglight long enough, you'll have some very good trending and usage data to use beyond the consolidation effort.

The second baseline to check is subjective, and it's the user's perception of the current systems.  This wouldn't involve any Quest product, but to simply put together a quick, 5 minute survey of what the users think of the apps they use. There are many free and paid sites out there that can run such a survey for you but I'd really encourage you to get this initial feedback. And if it starts to look grim, and you're surprised by the results, check out Quest End User Monitor to walk through the apps, and see what the users are complaining about.

That's really it on the baseline side.  We can help with that initial assessment as well as providing initial metrics for how your environment is functioning.  Can we provide complete coverage of your environment?  Probably not, but the tools you'd use from us would continue to provide value beyond the assessment rather than being a throw away once the assessment is complete. And wouldn't it be nice to be in a new environment but with a familiar toolset? I think your IT staff would say, "yes."

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

No trackbacks yet.

Copyright (C) 2010-2011 Dmitry Kagansky – All opinions expressed are those of the respective author and do not reflect the views of any affiliate, partner, employer or associate.