As your company explores various opportunities for growth, there’s a good chance you may have considered data center modernization — or at least come across the phrase while researching options for upgrading your operations. According to a recent IDC report, about 30 percent of companies are placing it as a priority in their growth plans.
Most companies can make a case for data center modernization, also referred to as a modern data center or IT transformation, especially in the face of a work landscape that’s constantly in flux — shifting to accommodate new consumer demands as well as your company’s need to stay competitive.
However, it’s critical that your team gains an understanding of the overall benefits of data center modernization to determine if it is a worthwhile investment. If your company is poised for significant growth, the modernization of your data center facilities could be the strategic move you need to leverage that success.
Let’s dive in by tackling some questions and challenges that may arise as you consider different options.
What is data center modernization?
First, a definition. Everyone should be on the same page when discussing data center modernization or any other IT/data center initiative under consideration. The term data center modernization is clear cut, but what it means today is different than what it meant a few years ago — or even a year ago.
Today, when companies are referring to data center modernization it is typically in response to the need to address agility challenges. To stay competitive, companies must adopt disruptive technologies that allow them to keep up with the demand for Internet of Things products and digital data-driven business needs.
Trends in data center modernization
According to a report by Avanade, most of the 800 IT professionals responding to a poll said that ignoring trends in IT modernization could lead to negative consequences when it comes to growth.
The respondents said they believed that modernizing IT could boost their company’s revenue by up to 14 percent while cutting costs by more than 13 percent.
Another report, by IDC, forecasts that about 30 percent of companies will include data center planning and processes as part of their plans to speed digital transformational efforts. The IDC FutureScape Report also predicts that 65 percent of new data center infrastructure investments will focus on analytical and client-facing workloads.
Top considerations for data center modernization?
As Gartner, Inc. so aptly points out, data center optimization will mean different things to different people, depending upon their roles in the company. The perspectives among CIOs, IT leaders and technical professionals are among the top distinctions to make. Take a look at a few of the distinctions:
IT leaders: When considering data center modernization, IT leaders should focus on developing a plan that analyzes the need to increase compute, storage and network capacity to support the company’s growth against data center space. That plan also should include a cost-benefit analysis, potential benefits and pitfalls, and opportunities to consolidate. They should also determine where savings in the server, storage and network infrastructure can be gained as well as address legacy infrastructures.
CIOs: From the perspective of CIOs, data center modernization requires taking a broader assessment — analyzing the current infrastructure as well as overall organizational issues that could benefit from data center modernization and consolidation. As with IT leaders, it’s important to determine ways in which modernization and consolidation can lead to savings in server, storage and network infrastructure. However, it’s also key to look to the future to determine how well the company is prepared to address significant technologies and trends in the industry.
Tech professionals: With increased consumer demands for technology-driven solutions, companies can no longer rely on aging infrastructure to remain competitive. Tech professionals will need to focus on exploring technologies that allow data centers to support a highly agile infrastructure through automation, virtualization, edge technology, cloud-based technologies and other innovations.
Opportunities for growth
When analyzing various opportunities for data center modernization or consolidation, at least three areas should be considered. Many companies immediately think of data applications and mobility as prime considerations. However, security and reliability should also be a top consideration.
Business data applications
Big data has been a part of the conversation about business growth for more than a decade, but the pace has been accelerating in recent years. With the promise that the use of data brings for technological innovations, sales (i.e. consumer data) and other business services, IT departments are pressured to stay ahead or at least keep up the demand.
As a result, your team may consider modernization as a way of meeting that demand, maintaining agility and providing speed. This area could be among the important reasons to modernize — it could be the key to staying competitive.
With data center modernization, you open your team up to more opportunities for collaboration — no matter where they are. Many companies who have embraced modernization have reported increased productivity as a result of employees being able to work and collaborate remotely, access and complete documents, and perform other work functions without the need to be in the office.
When considering this as a priority, it’s important to outline the potential gains in productivity and savings in labor, server, storage and network infrastructure.
Reliability and security
Besides the more obvious risks of downtime resulting from aging infrastructure, companies are turning to modernization to provide additional security for data centers. Data center modernization that includes a cloud solution can act as a backup for data that is lost because of damaged or compromised equipment. Modern data centers can also lead to improved reliability and connectivity.
With any modernization project, make sure your team is ready to make the commitment to studying the impact, including savings and potential for growth while assessing any potential setbacks and budget limitations.