David Merrill

Reduce Server TCO with Multi-tenancy

Blog Post created by David Merrill Employee on Sep 30, 2016

In my last few posts, I have shown some trends and costs areas of virtual machines (both in a converged, hyper-converged or DIY mode). One overlooked area of server cost optimization is where we can virtualize physical servers for applications that cannot run on a commercial hypervisor. We always see customers that have good progress with reducing costs with hypervisors, but don't tackle the costs of the existing non-virtual Wintel hosts. My own internal observation is that at least 70-80% of Wintel or Linux workloads are virtualized, but organizations may be unaware of cost reduction efforts related to the remaining physical servers.


I was recently involved with a customer project that had 950 VM running on 100 hosts; we are working with them to reduce the unit cost per VM from $477/mo to $95/month. There are lots of opportunity to reduce costs associated with these 950 VM as we introduce advanced management, storage systems, higher-density servers etc.


After the first round of VM cost optimization, the customer asked what we could do to reduce the costs of the non-virtual servers.  This client has another 750 non-virtual Wintel (and some Linux) servers -  the full operational costs of these systems topped $10M/year. Using similar cost estimating techniques as the VM TCO effort, we were able to show that by moving these physical servers to LPAR,  HDS could save them $7.2M /year in labor, power, floor space, maintenance and depreciation. These 750 hosts could be re-packaged into less that 210 blade servers.


Multi-tenancy with Logical Partitions is a feature of Hitachi's unified Compute Platform (UCP) that can accommodate hypervisor workloads and logical partitions on the same blade server and SAN storage architecture. This is the power of server & workload multi-tenancy buy leveraging the same architecture for physical server consolidation along with hypervisors.

  • Provides better asset utilization, there are less stranded assets (CPU, memory)
  • Single pane of management, provisioning that results in better management /labor cost for different types of workloads
  • Unified management also produces faster provisioning times
  • With fewer dedicated or stranded systems thereby reduces HW maintenance, purchase cost, floor space, power etc.


Some Interesting Links to LPAR capabilities




LPAR is a physical virtualization technology created by HDS, which allows customers to provide physical virtualization, enabling multiple operating system environments to run on a single physical blade, without a hypervisor.


LPAR, Multi-tenancy Case studies




When the IT department is looking for the next area of low-hanging-cost-reduction-opportunties, you might want to consider what can be done with a server virtualization effort for the remaining hosts and applications that cannot yet move to a hypervisor.