by April 3, 2003 0 comments

RAHUL SABNIS, MPL Technologies, Bangalore
The problem faced by Kasim Sayed can be divided into two categories, whether to consolidate the servers at one location, regionally or otherwise and whether to do away with multiplicity of hardware and OSs. Both the problems need to be addressed separately considering the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

In the case of first, the consolidation of servers looks a better bet. This though has two major disadvantages. First, the time and cost required for the setting up the servers at a totally new location, which could scale up higher, in case the consolidation is at the national level. This would mean that the company has to decide how critical are the applications running on each one of the servers and how much time the company can afford to lose. Second, the company has to take into consideration future growth plans and decide where to consolidate the servers. But this solution would actually reduce the manpower required to manage the servers.

In case of the second problem, I would suggest doing away with the multiplicity of hardware and OS and go for common hardware and OS. Before going for this the company has to look at two issues. First, whether the software running on one OS can be ported to another OS easily and quickly without data loss. If no, then whether there are other options available which allow data to be imported. Second, of course is the time constraint. 

Firstly, the servers can be consolidated at regional centers and local system administrators can be assigned to each of them. An enterprise solution with Web-based administration that can be accessed only within the VPN, can be used by the administrators at the main center to manage the servers at local centers whenever required. 

Consolidation of servers at the local centers using virtual servers may also be considered, as it helps in reducing the hardware maintenance efforts.

PRASHANT S SHARMA, Idealake Information Technologies, Mumbai
The suggestion of having all servers in one location, even though sounds good, carries the risk of single point of failure. Considering the distributed nature of the organization, it is not a very good idea to put all the servers in one location and thus create a huge dependency of all the regional offices on one location. 

Doing away with the multiplicity of hardware and OSs, and moving to a uniform server spec and OS would call for purchase of new hardware as well as software. Over and above all the existing software applications needs to be rebuilt or purchased to suit the new platform. This might cost the organization quite a sum of money. 

The idea of consolidation of servers at regional levels and adopting enterprise wide network management software seems reasonable and cost effective. 

A primary issue in any such problem is the balance between centralization and decentralization. Overcentralization results in rigid systems that cannot handle their respective local functions. Similarly excessive decentralization creates systems that that solve local problems but may not solve problems that span across departments. 

TH PRAMESHWOR, Principal Systems Analyst, NIC, Imphal 
The organization is spread across the country with number of servers increasing rapidly. So, Kasim Sayed should implement the third option: “let the servers remains scattered as such and instead, install an enterprise-wide network-management software.”

ANILKUMAR.C, Senior Faculty, Accel IT Academy, Kochi
Kasim’s problem can be best solved by using VNC and Remote X server. Let the servers stay wherever they are now. For deploying VNC client and X Servers, he can choose a location from where all the servers can be easily reached. He could use Terminal services in Win 2000. Unix flavors can use Remote Xserver.

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