Question

What is server sprawl and what can I do about it?

Answer

Server sprawl is the inefficient or improper provisioning of servers to handle workloads. Server sprawl happens when underutilized servers proliferate across an IT architecture, and are not used efficiently. This can happen in both physical and virtual server provisioning.

One of the most basic ways to address server sprawl is to simply make sure that existing servers are used to their full capacity before adding new servers. Network monitoring tools can provide analytics and feedback on server workloads that can help human decision-makers figure out how to use servers efficiently. In many cases, companies can benefit from shifting some or all of the server workloads to cloud or vendor systems.

Another strategy that has worked well for many companies is to put a request process in place for every new server. This puts a gate on new server implementation, to make sure that server sprawl is minimized. For example, there may be a ticket process that looks carefully at existing networks before adding any new servers to the equation.

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Justin Stoltzfus
Contributor

Justin Stoltzfus is an independent blogger and business consultant assisting a range of businesses in developing media solutions for new campaigns and ongoing operations. He is a graduate of James Madison University.Stoltzfus spent several years as a staffer at the Intelligencer Journal in Lancaster, Penn., before the merger of the city’s two daily newspapers in 2007. He also reported for the twin weekly newspapers in the area, the Ephrata Review and the Lititz Record.More recently, he has cultivated connections with various companies as an independent consultant, writer and trainer, collecting bylines in print and Web publications, and establishing a reputation…