You can’t make the world move slower, change where markets are headed or hold back new technologies while focusing on day-to-day IT operational issues. But you can. To react faster, be more efficient and provide innovation for your business and your customers. A new vision. A better approach.

 

How do you find the time and resources to drive the innovation required to keep your company competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace? How can you react to business needs faster?

 

Because the distributed approach to the enterprise data center is challenged to keep up in today’s fast-paced business environment, a new centralized IT approach is needed. We must rethink IT service delivery to help move beyond operational challenges to a new data center model that is more efficient, service-oriented, responsive to business needs, has new economics and rapid service delivery, and one can provide tighter alignment with business goals.

 

The new enterprise data center is an evolutionary model that helps reset the economics of IT and can dramatically improve operational efficiency. It can also help reduce and control rising costs and improve provisioning speed, data center security and resiliency at any scale. It allows you to be highly responsive to any user need and aligns technology and business, giving you the freedom and the tools you need to innovate and stay ahead of the competition.

 

Market Forces Drive Change

 

Right now, technology leaders are challenged to manage sprawling, complex distributed infrastructures and an ever-growing tidal wave of data while remaining highly responsive to business demands. Additionally, they must evaluate and decide when and how to adopt a multitude of innovations that will keep their companies competitive.

 

Daily Operational Challenges

 

IT professionals spend much of the day fixing problems – keeping them from applying time and resources to development activities that could truly drive business innovation. In fact, many say they spend too much time mired down in operations and precious little time helping the business grow. These operational issues include:

  • Costs and service delivery: Time is money – and most IT departments are forced to stretch both. There is no question that the daily expense of managing operations is increasing, as is the cost and availability of skilled labor. In fact, IT system administration costs have grown fourfold and power and cooling costs have risen eightfold since 1996 alone.1
  • Business resiliency and security: As enterprises expand globally, organizations are requiring that IT groups strengthen the security measures they put in place to protect critical information - for good reason. Enterprise risk management is now being integrated into corporate ratings delivered by organizations such as Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor's. At the same time, companies are demanding that users have real-time access to this information, putting extra – and often conflicting – pressure on the enterprise to be both secure and resilient in the expanding IT environment.
  • Energy requirements: As IT grows, enterprises require greater power and cooling capacities. In fact, energy costs related to server sprawl alone may rise from 10 percent to 30 percent of IT budgets in the coming years.2 These trends are forcing technology organizations to become more energy efficient – to control costs while developing a flexible foundation from which to scale.

The bottom line? Enterprises report that IT operational overhead is reaching up to 70 percent of the overall IT budget. And that number is growing – leaving precious few resources for new initiatives.

 

Harnessing New Technologies to Support the Business

 

The proliferation of data sources, RFID and mobile devices, unified communications, service-oriented architecture (SOA), Web 2.0 and technologies like mashups and XML create opportunities for new types of business solutions. In fact, the advancements in technology that are driving change can be seen in the new emerging types of data centers, such as Internet and Web 2.0, which are broadening the available options for connecting, securing and managing business processes.

 

Ultimately, all of these new innovations need to play an important role in the new enterprise data center.

 

Transforming to a New Enterprise Data Center Model

 

The new enterprise data center provides a new approach to IT service delivery. Through it, you can leverage today’s best practices and technology to better manage costs, improve operational performance and resiliency and quickly respond to business needs. Its goal is to deliver:

 

  • New economics: The new enterprise data center helps you transcend traditional operational issues to achieve new levels of efficiency, flexibility and responsiveness. Through virtualization you can break the lock between your IT resources and business services – freeing you to exploit highly optimized systems and networks to improve efficiency and reduce overall costs.
  • Rapid service deployment: The ability to deliver quality service is critical to businesses of all sizes. Maintaining a positive customer experience and ensuring cost-efficiency and a fast ROI relies on your ability see and manage the business while leveraging automation to drive efficiency and operational agility. Therefore, service management is a key element in the new enterprise data center approach.
  • Business alignment: A highly efficient and shared infrastructure can allow you to respond instantaneously to new business needs. It creates opportunities to make sound decisions based on information obtained in real time, and it provides the tools you need to free up resources from more traditional operational demands. With a new enterprise data center, you can focus on delivering IT as a set of services aligned to the business - freeing up time to spend on IT-driven business innovation.

Enabling the New Enterprise Data Center - a Holistic, Integrated Approach

 

What makes this approach for efficient IT service delivery so unique? As businesses move toward a recentralization of the data center environment, a holistic integrated approach needs to be considered. Although incremental improvements to each element of the new enterprise data center can improve overall operations, you must take into account that modifications to one component may strain the performance of another.

 

For example, upgrading the enterprise information architecture to provide integrated and trusted information to users will likely require changes to security and business resiliency approaches. And, creating highly virtualized resources are most effective along with a stronger, more integrated service management approach.

 

As such, the strategy for the new enterprise data center needs to be holistic and integrate key elements such as:

 

  • Highly virtualized resources that are flexible to adjust to changing business needs to allow for more responsive provisioning and help deliver efficient resource utilization. Virtualization removes the bind between applications and data and underlying physical resources – granting IT organizations more flexibility and freedom in deployment options and the ability to exploit highly optimized systems.
  • Business-driven service management, in which a complex and difficult-to-manage environment is transformed for improved transparency and cost-efficient, easier management. This transformation involves raising management tasks from the simple monitoring of individual resources to the orchestration of the entire environment to be more responsive and efficient. Once transformed, the environment can be fully aligned with business needs and controls to ensure that customer priorities are met, business controls are maintained and availability and performance is maximized across the entire enterprise.
  • Security and business resilience approaches and best practices that become increasingly important with the consolidation of data centers and recentralization of systems and data while providing secure, open access across and beyond organizational boundaries.
  • Efficient, green and optimized infrastructures and facilities, which balance and adjust the workloads across a virtualized infrastructure and align the power and cooling consumption with business processing requirements across all IT and data center facilities. The result is balanced energy demands to help avoid high peak energy use and the associated higher energy billing rates and meet service level agreements (SLAs) based on business priorities. Through the introduction of an optimized infrastructure, the number of systems and networks in the data center can be reduced, cost-efficiency improved and energy efficiency enhanced.
  • Enterprise information architecture. Data that was typically contained in disconnected, heterogeneous sources and content silos is virtualized through a flexible enterprise information architecture. Therefore, IT can deliver trusted information to people, processes and applications to truly optimize the business decision-making and performance.

Many companies have begun to address some of these challenges head on. In fact, 30 to 50 percent of large enterprises have consolidated or are consolidating today, and most are doing some level of virtualization.3 Those that have really advanced these efforts are seeing significant returns or savings.

 

The Journey Evolves

 

Most likely, many companies have already started to implement a few key components on their way to a new enterprise data center model. Some have projects in place to consolidate and virtualize servers, data silos and storage. Others are exploring new ways to optimize information availability. In reality, though, few data centers begin with a clean slate.

 

To truly maximize the benefits of this new model, you must start planning your transformation – or journey – and that begins with consideration for where you and your priorities are today. You don’t build a house without a blueprint. Why would it be any different with your IT infrastructure?

 

How to Start on Your Own Journey

 

Transformation to a new enterprise data center is an evolutionary one. Therefore, getting started requires you to identify your starting point on the continuum - aligning immediate needs with your long-term vision. For example, some organizations may have critical operational issues that need to be addressed today. Others may be improving availability and security within the infrastructure. A partner that has years of proven experience and an established reference architecture will help you define your starting point, address immediate needs and develop a detailed roadmap that offers rewards at every milestone along the way.

 

Organizations in every industry are exploiting advanced technologies to gain competitive advantage. And, infrastructure complexity and rising energy costs are driving higher operational expenses for organizations. The new enterprise data center offers an evolutionary new model for efficient IT delivery – giving you the tools to overcome the minutia of daily operations to drive real business innovation.

 

References:

  1. John Humphreys. "Virtualization 2.0: The Next Phase in Customer Adoption." IDC, December 2006. 
  2. Gartner. "The Data Center Power and Cooling Challenge." Gartner, Nov. 2007.
  3. Merril-Lynch. " Virtualization: Killer Platform for the Next Generation Data Center." Merrill-Lynch, Oct. 2007

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