Prashant Baweja is currently working as a consultant with Infosys Ltd.
With increasing competition and high expectations from customers, businesses are working diligently to provide the best possible value at the lowest possible price for its customers. One way to achieve this is by optimizing the costs which a company is incurring across units.
IT infrastructure makes up a large part of a company’s cost and the biggest chunk can be traced to the data center. With increasing cost, effort and focus need to be on optimizing the data center. Companies that place an emphasis on data center optimization will see a variety of benefits including:
- Increased ROI
- Increased infrastructure utilization, increased virtualization and storage efficiency
- Lower operating cost
When looking at ways to optimize a data center, there are a few key areas of consideration.
Data center location. A well thought out location will help reduce capital and operational costs for businesses. There are a few factors to take into account when determining your data center site:
- Geographical location
- Telecommunication infrastructure
- Tax rates
- Human resource, etc.
Data center operations: in-house or outsource. You can keep your operations in-house or choose to outsource them. Regardless of the decision, there are pros and cons to both. In recent years, however, the trend to outsource operations has increased due to higher levels of cost effectiveness.
Another aspect of operations which helps data center optimization is the introduction of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tools. With these tools, redundancy can be avoided and better value can be achieved.
Scalability, growth plans. Scalability and growth are important factors when determining data center and IT strategies. Without proper planning and consideration, optimization will difficult. Modularity goes hand-in-hand with scalability and when applied to data center facilities, can reap huge benefits for the business.
Data center disaster recovery strategy. Data center disaster recovery hasn’t always been associated with optimization. However, because these sites sit idle for long periods of time, they present a great avenue for firms to optimize their costs.
Storage and backup strategy. Storage options and your backup strategy can play an important role in reducing costs for your business. Retention of data and archiving are major areas where optimization can be done and better value can be provided to customers.
Data center energy consumption. Energy consumption in your data center is also a key consideration. For example, how efficiently your building is cooled will have a huge impact on cost. And it’s not just the facility – remember to consider the efficiency of the devices within.
Human resources. A major factor to consider (and one that is often overlooked by businesses) is human resources. A human resource department that is involved in data center monitoring, servicing, maintaining and operating can be key to identifying points from which errors arise.
Additionally, proper training and education need to take place in order to facilitate and solve problems faster. Outlining processes and creating a proper knowledge repository will increase efficiency and keep costs down.
IT operations. Another crucial area to consider is application provisioning, roll-out and support processes at the corporate level. Tweaking these areas and making them more efficient will optimize infrastructure usage and positively impact your data center.
Above are a few areas of consideration when looking to optimize your data center. A well thought out plan and a thorough discussion with stakeholders should provide optimal results to your company.
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