Are “Zombie” servers draining your precious IT resources?

by | Jun 6, 2016 | Blog

Have you ever heard that loud rumbling noise coming from your server room? Is it your IT infrastructure hard at work helping you to increase profits or is the sound of the “zombie” server? A zombie, or comatose, server is a physical server that is running but has no external communications or visibility and contributes no computer resources; essentially it consumes electricity but serves no useful purpose. For something you have most likely never heard of; it is a big problem. An estimated one in three servers in North America falls into the “undead” category. Given those odds, chances are most businesses are running servers that are no longer doing anything relevant and could be decommissioned. IT is not only at the center of your organization’s operations it is also a key line item in your budget. You certainly do not want to cut corners when budgeting for your IT needs; but are you wasting your money on equipment that is giving you no value whatsoever? Enter the nefarious “zombie” server. According to the Wall Street Journal, estimates show upwards of 10,000,000 unused servers remain plugged in and drawing power. The 4 Gigawatts of power consumed by these undead machines is equivalent to the “power from eight large power plants; power used by 3,200,000 households, roughly the number in New York City”.

But these zombies are not just a drain on your electric bill. There are a myriad of other costs you must consider. These include but are not limited to: cooling/heating, data center space if applicable, Network Ports, SAN Connections, Back Ups, Monitoring, Operating System licensing, Database Licensing, Maintenance agreements, Administration and support. In fact, according to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, the average cost to support a mid-tier server is $2,000 per year.

All business owners know that their IT needs change over time, as does their IT infrastructure. With changes in IT, sometimes no one is really clear what the server does. If an employee does know what a particular piece of equipment does and believe it can be decommissioned they often do not do so out of fear. Fear of creating downtime, or interrupting something that may be relevant. In reality, many servers can be re-purposed, licenses put back into the pool, and physical parts and storage space can be reclaimed. The more servers you have, the more consolidation you’ve done, the more the risk that this is an issue in your organization! Think about the efforts you go through to save a few hundred dollars here and there. You cannot afford to continue to overlook this potential drain on your resources. While you realize now that identification and eradication of zombies is important, even in a small business it could easily add up to many thousands of dollars. But you do not have the time nor the expertise to go through and audit your servers, in search of zombies. You need to get Tekmanagement on your side. As experts in the area of IT Cost Optimization we can not only identify where zombie servers are wasting your IT budget dollars; we can help you to strategically procure or negotiate your complex IT infrastructure needs. Don’t let zombie servers feed on your wealth, contact Tekmanagement today!