DataCenterKnowledge and WSJ, Moving Resources to lower costs

DataCenterKnowledge and WSJ write on the same subject today on moving resources around for optimization.

Hot spots in Motion from DataCenterKnowledge.

“The technology that delivers the most benefits for business but causes the most headaches for operation is virtual machine live migration,” writes Andreas Antonopoulos of Nemertes in a post titled “Dude, where’s my server?” An excerpt:

Live migration, also known as VMotion or XenMotion in the VMWare and Xen products respectively allows you to move virtual machines from physical server to physical server without any discernible interruption. … Wonderful features for business agility. But by making virtual machines mobile this feature makes troubleshooting even harder. Add the other features and you might have machines moving around automatically and constantly.

Andreas notes that tracking and managing VMs is critical to trouble-shooting. Moving virtual machines from server to server within a data center creates another challenge: as the computing load migrates, so does the heat load. A box that is underutilized one minute can become a high-density server in short order.

Retailers move employees to best times to maximize revenue from WSJ.

Retailers Reprogram Workers
In Efficiency Push

September 10, 2008; Page A1

LANGHORNE, Pa. -- Retailers have a new tool to turn up the heat on their salespeople: computer programs that dictate which employees should work when, and for how long.

AnnTaylor Stores Corp. installed a system last year. When saleswoman Nyla Houser types her code number into a cash register at the Ann Taylor store here at the Oxford Valley Mall, it displays her "performance metrics": average sales per hour, units sold, and dollars per transaction. The system schedules the most productive sellers to work the busiest hours.

[Retailers Reprogram Workers in Efficiency Push]

Shoshannah White for The Wall Street Journal

Ann Taylor saleswoman Nyla Houser, a retired teacher, has gotten fewer work hours under a new 'workforce-management' system.

"We are under the gun to be a much more efficiently running organization," said Scott Knaul, director of store operations at the women's apparel retailer, which said earlier this year that it is closing 117 underperforming stores over the next few years. There was an initial "ego hit" for some employees, he said at a gathering of retailers in May. But the system, he said, has helped turn more store browsers into buyers.

DataCenterKnowledge points out the problem with heat, but the WSJ wants the opposite to turn up the heat, and drive sales.

Let’s hope a retailer doesn’t get a job in a data center, confuse the objective, and try to make the most expensive machines the hottest ones. :-) 

But, it does bring up an interesting issue with virtualization, should environmental conditions be part of the criteria for evaluating a VM move? 

I’ve always laughed at whenever I hear vendors like Microsoft and VMware talk about dynamic data center initiatives, and how things will just move automatically.  Wait.  Too much change creates chaos, and makes it hard to optimize. Every transition is an opportunity for failure.