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Sunday, 16 April 2017

Transformed Data Centers Key To Future Business

Sachin Bhardwaj, Director Marketing & Business Development, eHosting DataFort explains why legacy Data Centres can no longer meet expectations of businesses that have started their digital transformation journey.

The arrival of the nexus of forces including Cloud, social, mobile and data has tremendously raised the expectations from Data Centre service providers. For IT administrators, it has created the challenge of continuous transformation being applied to their own Data Centres or identifying Data Centres that are digitally ready. Close to 40% of IT spending is now outside the IT organization, according to global consulting firm, Gartner.

A primary reason for this is that legacy Data Centres have been slow to adapt to the requirements of business decision makers while IT decision makers have struggled to keep the lights on with IT efficiency and IT management workloads. Business decision makers have wanted to move to Cloud, mobile, social, much earlier, but organizational Data Centres have just not been ready.

Gartner estimates that IT spending outside the IT organization, will soon reach 50% of total IT spending. In order to remain relevant for business, IT administrators now need to move into a bimodal and multimodal forms of engagement.

IT decision makers must realize that one of the primary benefits from the nexus of forces is the ability to tap into business data in much faster and effective fashion. Digitally transformed Data Centres are able to provide this flow of information and data to business decision makers in a much more intuitive fashion. Data Centres that can do this, manage workloads intelligently, use different platforms and technology partners, leverage software defined networks, use containers for virtualization, deliver efficiently across countries if required, and efficiently use a bimodal business approach.

The recent Cloud-first approach being adopted by early movers of digital transformation is likely to be the most transformative driver for the global IT industry, since the start of the early digital era. The basis of the Cloud-first approach being adopted by transformative businesses is to prepare themselves for new business opportunities, increased market competitiveness, and cost optimizations.

The Cloud-first approach is the basis for a business to invest in new digital opportunities while divesting themselves from the older models of engagement. This dual play of invest and divest of technologies and platforms is a critical factor in the scale-up and transformation expectations for Data Centres of tomorrow.

Other than the above macro environmental factors, legacy Data Centres are also under a variety of pressures from different technology vendors. New market entrants and startup technology vendors are increasingly using software as a basis to manage available system infrastructure, thereby leveling the playing field for Data Centres. The key benefit is that these new technology solutions are also inherently built on new business models, which IT administrators can no longer ignore.

Legacy Data Centre looking to transform themselves and become more relevant for the business of tomorrow typically goes through the following stages:

Stage #1
Data Centre transformation is less of an IT project and more of a business enablement initiative. All aspects of computing, server, networking, storage, security, Cloud technology is mapped to business benefits. Typically, this would involve senior management buy-in in the early phase increasing the levels of responsibility and commitment to the transformation project.

Stage #2
Next, an audit is completed of the technology assets that exist and their performance and utilization levels. However, as the Data Centre transformation progresses, these audit reports should be ongoing and not become one-off exercises.

Stage #3
Based on the above audit, business decision makers spell out their requirements into the future, taking into consideration cost, reliability, flexibility, efficiency, functionality and capacity.

Stage #4
A good test is to draw up service level agreements at this stage, stress testing the ability of technology vendors and solutions embedded into the Data Centre to meet future requirements. At this stage, measurable milestones of the Data Centre transformation project can also be finalized.

Stage #5
By now, the key vendors, key solutions, and a road map for the project would have been finalized. The more rigorously this road map is planned out with well-defined milestones and deliverables, the more likely that the real-life outcome will be successful.

By familiarizing themselves with the above drivers and stages of transformation, IT and business decision makers can make more intelligent decisions about selecting a Data Centre provider or driving their own Data Centre transformation projects.

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