Hi Chris. TCO (Total Cost of ownership) calculations are common in helping to select servers. I understand how server cost and operational expenses can be factored into that equation. Do factors like scalability and faster development fit into a TCO type analysis, or is it treated as a distinct component of the selection?
@ Winston. Yes I believe scalability and agility have a play in TCO. Agility is more of a soft cost variable and may be difficult to quantify in a hard $ calculation. However, in this paper http://download.intel.com/it/pdf/Quantitative_approach_ERP_Server_Sizing_final.pdf, Intel IT does evaluate and estimate the costs of scalability - specifically choosing incorrectly.
The approach here is that if you deploy a server with an intended project life, say 4 years, but find before the end of that 4 year period you need to upgrade the server or resize the application environment, you are placing a significant out of cycle cost onto your business. You may not reach your full deployment life for a variety of reasons including workload peaks (vs average), year-over-year growth rates or requirment for workload failover. The paper shows the different mid-life refresh options for an IT organization and what some impacts to TCO might be (figure 6 in the Intel IT server sizing paper). Clearly the best strategy is to size the server up front for the workload intended to run on it for the entire life of the project - that is a sizing decision.
For this reason, Intel IT deploys 4-socket or larger servers in about 15% of our office/enterprise server enviroment . The paper shows the typical types of workloads (Figure 7) we deploy on 2-socket vs 4-socket in our ERP - enterprise resource planning. The proper sizing of the server is an Intel IT best practice we have found as we seek to maximize the business value of our IT investments
Hope that helps.