Three Roadblocks to Data Center Transformation
The cloud has added a completely new dimension to the design and implementation of data architectures, and it now serves as the foundation for many of today’s innovative applications and services.
However, the on-premise data centre remains an important part of most enterprises’ business operations. For one thing, data centres are large expenditures that should not be thrown away on the spur of the moment. But, more crucially, the data centre possesses a number of critical characteristics that are difficult and costly to get on the cloud. These characteristics are generally concerned with control, governance, security, and the business sector in which you operate—for example, the banking sector is heavily regulated.
Many organisations are caught between a rock and a hard place: they want to preserve their data centre for its assets, yet there is a rising demand for more speed, scale, efficiency, and support for totally new digital operations. Add to that the requirement for C-suite executives to consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) for both existing and new digital assets, and it’s no surprise that many organisations are starting to rethink their data ecosystems from the ground up.
What is the solution? Makeover your data centre. This, however, is considerably easier said than done.
Here are three reasons why data centre transformation initiatives fail, as well as suggestions for how to avoid them:
1. Perilous Cloud Migration
Jason Lamb, an Intel cloud solutions specialist, Most transformation efforts become bogged down in infrastructure minutiae, believing that simply embracing the cloud or adopting SaaS designs will suffice.
Instead, executives from all departments—both business and technical—must get down and explain exactly what they require from IT and technology in general, according to Lamb. Because determining larger business plans is critical for any new business venture, this process should include stakeholder representatives from the larger business. Having buy-in from your key stakeholders also makes it easier to get funding for an IT project.
Only after determining their needs can organisations begin to develop solutions to meet them now and in the future.
However, transformation is more than just infrastructure. According to IT blogger Brian McHugh, corporations frequently migrate old apps to the cloud without considering the impact on performance.
The smarter way is to start with a larger perspective, identifying how business models and procedures must adapt to remain competitive. Organizations must recognise that they have a new opportunity to produce something relevant to today’s digital ecosystem rather than reusing outdated and problematic technology.
With the desired business outcomes identified, the transformation of physical and logical infrastructure—and possibly many of the business processes they support—can continue in a more coordinated, simplified manner and has a much better chance of success.
2. Improper Timing
According to Markus Lutz, CTO of SiTime Corp., a precision timing system developer, time synchronisation will be a critical component of the data centre transformation puzzle. Precision timing will allow this collection to function more accurately as an integrated whole as resources become more scattered across data centre, cloud, and edge infrastructure. Timing is also crucial in critical applications such as banking, service delivery, and security.
In network communication, timing is everything: out-of-sync equipment, whether real or virtual, can cause disconnects, integrity, and availability concerns.
Fortunately, new generations of microelectromechanical systems (MEMs) are converting resonators and other devices to reduce the cost of implementing precise timing across dispersed architectures in comparison to previous quartz technologies.
Simultaneously, they are increasing resilience and reliability while reducing energy use by 90%.
3. Poor Coordination
When everything from finance, HR, and supply management to sales, marketing, and support is going to experience some sort of transformation, it is critical that this process takes place in a non-disruptive manner. Part of the equation will be determining what should be kept on-premises, what should be moved to the cloud, and what should be left on the edge.
This can be difficult to assess, but in general, the most critical, customer-facing applications, such as autonomous vehicles, medical system data, and smart city operations, should be located on the edge. The cloud offers the scalability and cost benefits of high workload processing, and it can also be utilised for archiving.
The local data centre should store the most vital data that an organization’s knowledge workforce requires on an ongoing basis for strategic planning and operational supervision.
However, in most circumstances, there will be significant overlap between these three layers of infrastructure, therefore they must be constructed cohesively.
How the Cloud is Transforming Data Centers
While it may appear that the cloud has been there for a long time, there is a noticeable push toward integration today that reflects a rather quick and radical shift in what had been a continuous evolution of local data resources for more than a half-century. Many modern organisations, not just the largest, have constructed integrated, hybrid architectures that include resources on-premises, in the cloud, and even in the cloud.
Indeed, Gartner predicts that by 2025, up to 85% of enterprises will have these mixed environments in place to support increasingly diversified sets of applications.
And, while there are several opportunities for this change, there are also numerous risks.
Ideally, a converted data centre will be operationally indistinguishable from the cloud. Workloads should naturally and organically drift to the most efficient and effective tier of infrastructure. This is being driven by the advent of intelligent automation, which, in theory, should allow human operators to step away from day-to-day management tasks in order to focus on more strategic topics that provide more value to the overall data environment.
Finally, there is no right or wrong method to approach data centre transformation for the new digital age: each organisation is unique and will necessitate distinct capabilities from local and distributed architectures. What’s the bottom line? The first step in determining the best plan is to understand your organization’s needs and how the data centre can meet them.
But one thing is certain: the data centre can no longer handle even a modest organization’s digital obligations on its own. It must integrate with the rest of the world, and the sooner that happens, the better for the business.
Indeed, many observers feel that integration will be a key driver of digital transformation. As more devices—from wearables to smart thermostats to self-driving cars—join the workplace ecosystem, it will be hard to keep data isolated within an organization’s network. The Internet of Things (IoT) is allowing organisations to transform their sectors and develop new business models. Businesses, on the other hand, must be prepared for the challenges of digital transformation.