Creating Agile Datacenters Boosts Business
Rajesh Rege, Director, Datacenter & Cloud Sales, at Cisco India & SAARC
Business success in the 21st century is clearly associated with IT enablement and CIOs across the table realize that they need to build IT services that help them achieve business objectives like revenue growth, customer retention and regulatory compliance in order to succeed in a competitive market. Critical for making the best business decisions is the underlying IT infrastructure, which includes an agile datacenter.
Creating agile architectures provides the foundation for business growth by supporting multiple business goals like cost savings, reduced energy consumption, improved space utilization and optimized IT assets. By virtualizing and consolidating datacenters, business can save on capital, shrink support costs, mitigate risks and enhance service quality. This is why a datacenter strategy is a critical part of business today.
As we understand, the ways and means of IT deployment can make the difference between an efficient, successful organization and an ineffective one. Today, IT support workload is increasing, along with the number of applications for business operations and new services for competitive differentiation.
The IT environment has become increasingly complex and shows no signs of easing up. This has placed greater burden on the IT staff in times when budgets are flat or decreasing. One of the major burdens is the management of the IT environment, with considerable staff time needed to configure, deploy and manage applications and infrastructure.
In India, like elsewhere in the world, the emergence of trends such as Big Data, cloud, mobility and BYOD has spurred the need for datacenter consolidation and transformation. Today, many companies focus on datacenter consolidation to solve issues regarding capital and human resource constraints.
New-age datacenter technologies provide a way for companies to scale server and storage capacity to quickly acquire, as well as analyses, more sources of customer data. Datacenter technologies like virtualization provide flexibility and scalability to help businesses adjust to changes in demand for resources. They help create a resilient environment that scales transaction volume. By giving businesses access to better customer intelligence, they directly impact a firm's decision-making ability and hence, business growth.
A consolidated datacenter environment also supports business goals like acquisition integration. It facilitates information-sharing across the new entity and makes it easier to gain efficiencies through application and database consolidation.
Technologies like virtualization help centralize the management and automate many manual functions - so that IT can focus on providing tools that foster business innovation. Technologies like cloud computing help drive innovation through business processes, customer connections and the creation of new business models.
Virtualization and cloud computing also allow businesses to achieve the benefits of dedicated computing resources without the need to build physical infrastructure in each office location where businesses expand their presence. Regardless of the geography, most companies can reduce physical their server counts by 50-60%.
The new datacenter economics is all about reducing the costs associated with infrastructure while increasing application performance. The use of converged cloud solutions as an alternative to traditional procedure and delivery models has become one of the most important developments in the evolution of IT infrastructure. Motivations for IT to utilize converged cloud infrastructure include:
- Faster time to service/market
- Increased cost advantage and IT efficiency
- Greater infrastructure and operational improvements
Roadmap for successful transformation
In order to create agile datacenters using technologies like virtualization and cloud computing, businesses need to adopt an effective strategy/roadmap. Datacenter transformation can be successful only when businesses bear in mind the following:
- Businesses must not build a datacenter that exceeds the required performance characteristics. While it is important to plan for future requirements, the design should be scalable and not over-engineered. Once the requirements are understood, IT should build a budget based on the total cost of ownership (TCO), comprising equipment cost, the cost of operating and maintaining the center including maintenance contracts and the energy costs.
- In addition to planning the proper capacity for datacenter consolidation or expansion, IT must plan how long it will take to migrate to the new system, what skills are required and what the interdependencies are between the software and the systems that support these applications.
- An accurate inventory is critical for proper capacity planning within the company and streamlining the consolidation process during a merger or acquisition. IT should also work with business leaders to define success metrics in advance because IT and the business units must agree on what metrics indicate success. Either way, the goal must be represented as a business value, such as transaction scalability, that can be measured by IT.
- The benefits gained through technologies like virtualization can be lost without an effective management strategy. Virtual server management requires changes in policies surrounding provisioning, naming conventions, chargeback, security and skills. While many server and desktop virtualization technologies come with their own sets of management capabilities, businesses should also evaluate third-party tools to augment any gap in the management.
Clearly, proper planning is critical for business units to respond to changes in customer demand. They need to create agile architectures that will help drive growth and deliver best technology services at the best value