Part of planning any data center is establishing a baseline of operations for both today and tomorrow. Too often organizations find an attractive package without realizing the repercussions of that solution in the future. Contract or vendor lock-in can be a serious impediment to growth. This is why establishing a good IT plan and knowing the capabilities of a provider are vital to the success of the data center environment.
Data center scalability is one of the primary concerns for DC operators. So, why is this becoming a challenge? Many organizations forgot to plan out their environments for long-term growth. Sometimes, they are locked into some type of contract or inflexible data center that inhibits growth. This is why working with flexible providers and applying some data center selection best practices can really help keep an organization be agile.
Watch out for “cookie-cutter” contracts
- They can be limiting: The reality is that some data center services contracts can be limiting. This is especially the case when growth is a necessary component, which is true for most modern organizations. While for some companies such contracts might make sense, for rapidly expanding organizations working with a flexible data center services partner is the only way to stay ahead of the competition.
- Additional tools and features may end up costing a lot of money: In long-term leases, anything additional can cost some serious dollars. Part of the beauty of working with an agile data center is that tools, features, infrastructure, amenities, and even expansion can be done à la carte without blowing a budget away. This is why working with a flexible partner capable of adjusting to your needs is crucial.
- Infrastructure doesn’t lend itself to changing technologies: To support growing organizations, your data center partner must be able to grow and change with the needs of your company. In some scenarios a pre-built lease may hinder growth in that existing technologies don’t fare well with newer systems. Look for a flexible provider who is capable of adjusting systems and infrastructure to help your environment scale.
Work with dedicated, flexible solutions advisors
- Evolve the solution as your business evolves: This is one of the core underlying themes of this guide. Good support and the ability to change as the industry changes will help keep organizations ahead of their competition. It’s important to work with a data center services partner that clearly sees the business value in evolving in line with the needs of their customers.
- Adding new components proactively: Since the data center is at the core of almost any business, data center environments must be kept up and running at all times. This means shifting from a reactive model to a proactive one. Flexible data center services partners will actively analyze power flow, resource utilization, and even capacity needs for their customers.
- Deploy adaptable framework from day one: This is one of the key features of working with a truly flexible data center provider. By planning out and deploying flexible infrastructure from the onset, administrators are able to plan out their environments in the long run. Look for data center flexibility in the type of hardware they are providing. Can the data center adjust for more power and space? Will it support an increased number of users? Data center providers that deploy adaptable technologies can answer a resounding ‘yes’ to those types of inquiries.
Never forget about good management practices
- Set a good contract with the provider: As mentioned earlier, always take the time to develop a solid SLA and contract with your data center provider. Establish uptime metrics, determine critical systems, and ensure that your data center is capable of scaling. Under no circumstance should you enter into a rigid contract where new feature add-ons or environment expansions become far too costly to adopt. Flexibility ranges from infrastructure to contract development.
- Know your roles and don’t forget about good management: In working with a data center provider, it’s important to understand one simple fact: This is a two-way partnership. Look for a provider who will treat you as a partner, a customer, and a valued addition to their infrastructure. By partnering with a data center, you are able to align your vision and share that with the provider. From there, both the organization and the data center can build an infrastructure capable of growth, capacity, and efficiency.
By applying best practices and working with a partner who is capable of being flexible, data center administrators are able to better adjust their infrastructure needs. Getting locked into an agreement can have very detrimental results for any infrastructure. This is even the case when the upfront contract may seem less expensive. Remember, the benefits can be very thin in the long run. Flexibility within a data center infrastructure is a must for any organization looking to scale as their business and industry evolves, even if it comes at a premium.