Let’s face it, data centres are very different places compared to what they were just ten years ago. So looking forward another ten years, is it possible to say what your future strategy needs to be?
Looking forward, businesses will continue to be much more driven by the way they use data, which will transform the way they think about data centre management and how it supports their business model. These expectations are going to keep shifting forward with the momentum provided by big data, cloud computing, mobility and other technology trends.
With all this going on – is it really going to be possible to nail down a data centre strategy that’s adaptable enough to cope with future change? We believe it is. But to get there, you need to think more broadly than many people currently do and design a strategy built on three key foundations – infrastructure, people and future-proofing.
In our experience, it’s always best to start creating your strategy by analysing your current infrastructure and how it supports both present and future business objectives.
These investigations will reveal where additional investment is required to bring infrastructure up to scratch and deliver on what the business needs. However, you also need to consider that in the longer term your strategy is also likely to focus on consolidating hardware and software to reduce costs (without compromising resilience of course).
This is a difficult balancing act. However, a thorough and well documented audit of your infrastructure (with proper business context) will help you identify inefficiencies that need to be addressed. At the same time, it will help you find ways you can ‘invest to save’ to make those long term cost reductions realistic. This approach allows you to create a data centre strategy that keeps on delivering for the organisation year after year.
Increasing levels of automation and resilience mean that modern day data centres are much less resource intensive from a day-to-day management perspective. But people and their skills are still very important. In fact, organisations are increasingly finding that while they need fewer foot soldiers, they still need access to specialist knowledge to keep pace with their growing infrastructure complexity.
The solution often means looking outside the business for additional advice and guidance. Your choice of partners across the board is crucial, because you’ll need to make sure the ones you choose are capable of helping create a strategy that can deliver what the business needs in the long term while simultaneously consolidating and reducing costs.
In addition, it’s a good idea to make sure these third parties are interested in working alongside you, your engineers and end users to uncover what their real needs are. Only this way will you deliver a rounded data centre strategy that fits the business and is not driven purely by technology or vendor road maps.
‘Disruption’ is now affecting virtually every industry (think Uber, Amazon and Airbnb). Data centre strategies therefore need to have core flexibility to help businesses respond to new competitors and threats. But businesses can’t just go wild. At the same time, they need to keep finance happy by accurately calculating budget over the course of 5 years or more.
This means including provisions for upgrades in the most cost effective way. It also means asking yourself some very important questions. Will you follow OEM-defined refresh cycles, for example, or is there a plan that better fits your business needs? And how will that plan be applied across multiple sites?
It’s absolutely vital that future business plans are built around the ability to streamline these upgrades seamlessly. But if your strategy does not deal with outdated systems correctly, you risk ‘technical bankruptcy’ meaning you simply cannot afford to replace or upgrade legacy systems. For any business that is serious about the future, this is simply not an option.
The speed at which technology develops may make it seem like long term strategies are redundant. But the reality is that your organisation has long term goals and these have a direct bearing on your plans for the data centre.
Datum helps organisations to achieve a long term data centre strategy through co-location. We help them consolidate costs and infrastructure, offering flexible contracts that support any changes brought on by the transformation project, give them agility to cope with future expansion/upgrades and provide business-led expertise focused on supporting both present and future goals.
Our experts are always on hand to take you through how we can help you as part of your IT transformation projects and build an effective long term data centre strategy. Contact us today to find out more.