A Data Center Transformation Reality Check

It’s a familiar mandate: Keep up with the growing needs of the business, stay competitive, and keep costs down. There’s a lot of buzz about migrating to a converged data infrastructure; it sounds like a logical, cost effective plan that allows for growth and much more.

As an IT decision maker, you probably know that a converged infrastructure clearly calls for a data center transformation, which is no simple task. Implementing a converged data infrastructure, like any IT initiative, requires a strategy up front. But before you create a strategy, you first need to figure out what exactly your data center needs. Then, you’ll need to get buy-in from various stakeholders. Talk to your IT peers—not just at your company, but IT decision makers at other companies. Most likely you will hear about similar needs and goals, most of which are some of the top data center initiatives for 2015, as indicated by TechTarget’s recent Purchasing Intentions Survey of IT decision makers:

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Updating data center infrastructure. The recent TechTarget survey revealed that at least 40% of businesses will be deploying a data center infrastructure update during 2015. That’s a big initiative, but what does it really entail? And where do you begin? It’s not as if you can easily migrate legacy systems and sensitive data with a wave of a wand, not to mention the budget constraints. A new data center infrastructure must be scalable, flexible and well managed. And in the meantime, you have to do your regular job with its own demands. It starts with a data center strategy including goals, technology needs, business needs, sustainability, budgets and a deployment plan. And that’s only the beginning.

Migrating to Windows Server 2012. An important aspect of the data center infrastructure is updated servers. A server refresh with Windows Server 2012 allows not only better performance and processing, but also full support when necessary for parts and services. Migrating to Windows Server 2012 also enables IT to support modern computing: big data, mobility, social media, social computing and collaboration initiatives. Once again, better consolidation and improved performance allow for better TCO.

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Automating system provisioning and configuration. Automation tools can reduce TCO, increase efficiency and boost productivity. This allows IT workers to spend more time managing important big-picture issues, rather than fussing with the usual patches, upgrades and software deployments and configuration. When time is of the essence and productivity is a must, automation makes a lot of sense.

Creating a private cloud. A converged infrastructure allows secure management and sharing of computing resources in the cloud, including networks, server platforms and storage. It helps simplify cloud deployments, improve flexibility and agility and reduce costs. It also enables you to use existing server and network platforms while allowing expansion and future investments. IDC projects that the market for private cloud infrastructure will grow from about $12.3 billion in 2012 to more than $22.2 billion by 2017. Plus, a converged infrastructure in a private cloud enables more flexibility and choices.

Transforming your data center requires strategic planning up front. These are only a handful of many IT goals. What are your data center initiatives?

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