The Modern Data Center: An Integrated World

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Vanessa Alvarez is head of Marketing @ScaleComputing and a former Forrester analyst.

VAlverezVANESSA ALVAREZ
Scale Computing

The data center of yesteryear is no longer enough for businesses today. Businesses, large and small, are in a fast paced competitive landscape right now, regardless of industry. A big driver in this is the fact that technology has truly become part of a business’s competitive advantage. Virtualization and cloud have had a tremendous impact on IT. Mid-market and large enterprises are at different stages in their virtualization initiatives and have started to think strategically about private and public cloud and what it means to them.

These shifts inevitably change how data centers and IT environments in general operate. IT is forced to do more with less. The technology silos of server, storage and networking are breaking down, largely due to virtualization, which created interdependencies between these silos. As a result, organizational silos were forced to work together, something unheard of in IT. Legacy infrastructure can no longer meet the demands of new business initiatives. But making large dollar capex investments is something that needs to be considered and planned out.

What Choices Do Enterprises Have?

Luckily for businesses, there are many options to be considered. There is the possibility of leveraging public clouds to achieve some of the cost savings, agility and flexibility it offers. But starting at home is important. Creating more efficient and flexible data centers and IT environments is the first place to start. It’s no longer efficient or smart to manage three different technology silos that are very interdependent of one another. Integrating these into a single model that abstracts all the complexity of these silos and bring together server, storage, virtualization, networking, automation, agility and flexibility into a single platform is the first step in creating these efficiencies.

An integrated approach allows for infrastructure resources to be optimized automatically for business applications through intelligent software, eliminating the inefficiencies of over-provisioning and providing automatic cost savings. It also alleviates IT from the guessing game of how much resources are needed; managing three different boxes and multiple platforms; struggling through the myriad of licensing fees and multi-vendor red tape; and ultimately from the shackles of legacy infrastructure that no longer works. These operational challenges are often difficult to quantify but end up costing businesses a great deal of money. An integrated approach allows IT to be more focused on other areas, and become more valuable to the overall business.

When doesn’t this approach work? There are many instances where businesses have not quite gotten to the point where they’re able to let go of technology silos. It’s difficult when you’ve lived in one world for a long time and all of a sudden there’s change. Many businesses also have long-standing relationships with their existing vendors and can’t let go of the brand name IT infrastructure. The reality is that the status quo may work for a while, but in the long term, it’s costing the business money and resources.

Integration Preparation

Prepare your organization for the next generation of integrated infrastructure for your data center and IT environment. If you’re down the path of virtualization, look for solutions that will bring everything you need in one platform. Looking to build your own private cloud and achieve the same efficiencies of public cloud, but within your own environment? Look to integrated platforms that can serve as the foundational infrastructure for your private cloud.

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One Comment

  1. John Hanahan

    Vanessa makes very valid points regarding the need for IT teams to do more with less and enabling holistic management of the data center infrastructure. However, physically integrating systems is not necessarily required to achieve that. Through an SDN approach, Northbound APIs can be utilized to integrate the systems logically to achieve the same benefits. With our integration of our OneFabric Control Center with VMWare, Microsoft and Citrix server mgmt systems, you can achieve automated orchestration and synchronization between the server and networking environment, thereby achieving the same benefits of physically integrated systems, from a management perspective.