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Data Center Transformation Part 1

by Hu Yoshida on Jul 1, 2010

Andy Kyte from Gartner was been sounding the alarm for data center modernization for a number of years. He warns that the data center is headed for a train wreck. and he provides the following warning signs which I am paraphrasing here:

Aging IT systems and infrastructures are creating an increasing burden to maintain and switching to new systems and infrastructure becomes more disruptive and resource intensive.  The resources required for change are often not available and the only recourse is to pile on with more of the same. “Information becomes increasingly difficult to access and analyze as data structures age. The business is forced to work without the information it needs to make decisions.“  The business world has become very spiky with rapid swings between extremes, triggered by unforeseen events around the world. On May 6, the New York Stock Exchange dropped 1000 points and then rebounded 600 point in the same day, triggered  by events in Greece or a finger check at some brokerage house. Businesses must become more agile but that depends on the agility of IT.
New interfaces like web connections and faster multi-core processors drive up transaction volumes which require legacy storage systems to scale up. Since storage systems are capitalized or leased over 3 to 5 year cycles and migration to new storage systems takes six months or more, the only solution seems to be to acquire more of the same legacy system even though they are two or three generations behind. Even though data ages quickly, it continues to accumulate on expensive tier 1 storage systems and gets backed up over and over again even though 80 to 90 % of the data is static. This alarming and unstoppable growth of data forces us to re-examine whether it is placed on the “right” tier of storage – but do we even know what the “right” tier is?  Have we established all the economic and performance benchmarks?  How can we take advantage of new cost saving technologies without throwing out our storage systems which still have 2 or 3 years left on depreciation?  In the meantime, operational costs become a greater part of the IT budget as the piling on increases and content data accumulates year after year.

Regulatory compliance issues and risk increase even for lightly regulated businesses. Encryption of data at rest is becoming a defacto requirement to ensure privacy, but encryption solutions seem difficult to implement and carry the risk of data loss with key corruption. Companies with legacy systems are at risk of compliance penalties or are excluded from certain markets as regulation and legislation increase around the world.    Reducing risk, or at least managing it, is also at the heart of many business continuity initiatives across all industries.  Are we using the right technologies to protect our data?  At the right cost?  Or is it about never “failing”?

As IT demands increase, the availability of power to drive IT is becoming a major concern.  In many regions, affordable power is becoming scare and companies are forced to relocate to continue operations. Substantial power savings can be achieved through replacement of power hungry legacy systems and more efficient utilization of current systems. However, these changes become increasingly more disruptive as data continues to accumulate.

If these warning signs are familiar, then now is the time to take action and transform the data center into an agile, sustainable, business oriented data center of the future.  The good news is that tools are available to transform your legacy systems through virtualization and systems management tools that link business objectives with infrastructure performance and provide an ROA, return on your total assets. Some companies are doing this today, using virtualization to seamlessly migrate off of peta bytes of legacy storage systems and recover 40% or more of existing storage capacity through Dynamic Provisioning.

In subsequent posts I will go into more of the specifics of Data Center Transformation, as well as how converged and unified infrastructure trends enable the next wave in Data Center Modernization.

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Comments (2 )

[...] is the second post in my series on data center transformation.  In my first post, I offered up several warning signs that indicate why it is time to take action and transform your [...]

[...] began this series on data center transformation citing Andy Kyte from Gartner, who warned of a coming train wreck if we do not modernize our data centers. [...]

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