Modernizing and Consolidating Your Data Center: Tips from Gartner


Modernizing a data center means that a company has to reconsider its business plan both operationally and organizationally in response to shifts in the economy and developments in computing. With this report, based largely off advice from Gartner, you can work toward cutting your costs and becoming more flexible while pursuing your business objectives.

  • The CIO Perspective: 5-Point Checklist
  • IT Director Perspective: 8-Point Checklist
  • IT Pro Perspective: 9-Point Checklist
  • Organizational Perspective: 5-Point Checklist

By modernizing and consolidating your data center, you can adopt greater agility and streamline your expenses – effectively giving yourself a better market position. You can make your firm more flexible and better suited to serve an increasingly mobile staff. By adopting the methods listed below, you should be able to cut your yearly operating expenses by at least 10%.

The CIO Perspective: 5-Point Checklist

CIOs should look at the requirements of the organization, the shape of the economy, and technological factors as they think about their plan for data center modernization and consolidation. Here is a basic five-point checklist to ready yourself for this effort:

  1. Review the company’s infrastructure. What could be improved?
  2. Think about how you can trim costs with your servers, storage, and network.
  3. Ask everyone who will be involved in this project to be forthright about any political concerns that could make it difficult to succeed.
  4. Increase your awareness of potentially game-changing technologies and approaches.
  5. Finally, look at your facilities themselves, advise Gartner analysts Mike Chuba and Matthew Brisse. “Map out the number and location of data centers,” they say. “Determine whether they should be stand-alone, colocated or outsourced.”

IT Director Perspective: 8-Point Checklist

IT directors must strike a balance between improving capacity and being careful not to overprovision space. Overprovisioning is, after all, a widespread problem and challenge, notes Sead Fadilpašić in ITProPortal. “[M]ore than three quarters (76 per cent) of IT pros overprovision IT infrastructure to save themselves capacity-related problems,” he says. “Capacity-related issues have had more than half (59 per cent) still experiencing downtime and service degradation, and in almost two thirds (61 per cent) of cases, IT staff is blamed for it.”

To address this challenge head-on, IT directors must create a thorough plan and cost-benefit analysis. Here is an eight-step checklist:

  1. Assess the infrastructure and meet with the CIO.
  2. Promote the importance of looking top-down from well-strategized infrastructure to all aspects of the business. Consider possible political snags.
  3. Look at how you could change infrastructure to create savings.
  4. Review newer strategies such as web-scale IT.
  5. Create a web-scale IT plan and collaborate with HR to move it forward.
  6. Review your data centers and decide if you think they should be standalone, colocated, or outsourced.
  7. Think about the impact modernizing might have on your systems.
  8. Do a full review of your vendors and technologies.

IT Pro Perspective: 9-Point Checklist

IT professionals understand that optimizing agility is increasingly necessary for businesses. In order not to be outpaced by competitors, organizations must look toward strategies such as virtualization, automation, software-defined anything, and cloud. Follow this ten-point checklist:

  1. Reconsider operational value. Think in terms of turnkey solutions. Get away from customizing excessively. Instead, use that time to collaborate with business units for better speed and security.
  2. Promote innovation. Create systems that facilitate access to innovations (either via traditional or cloud models).
  3. Embrace convergence. Integrate and connect services.
  4. Expedite assimilation. Get into a mindset of rapid-fire research and deployment of new technologies.
  5. Standardize. “Reduced complexity improves speed, agility and availability,” say Chuba and Brisse. “Worry less about lock-in and more about ways to accelerate orchestration and automation of IT tasks.”
  6. Focus on brokering. Take on the role of assessing technology and managing risk.
  7. Consolidate. Partner with business and IT leaders for business continuity.
  8. Review vendors and technologies. Look at infrastructure configurations, cost modeling, and performance.
  9. Use cloud. Figure out the best storage and app locations: public cloud, private cloud hosted internally, or colocated private cloud.

Related: At Superb Internet, our cloud hosting infrastructure is the result of a full six years of design and development, including tens of thousands of hours spent researching, testing, and troubleshooting. Get 100% high-availability cloud.

Organizational Perspective: 5-Point Checklist

Here are guiding principles to help the organization move forward with this project:

  1. Plan. Figure out how you can reduce your costs. Know how modernizing will impact other elements of your infrastructure. Calculate ROI.
  2. Craft a solution. Where should data centers be located (real estate professionals similar to Walt Coulston could be contacted in this regard), and how should they be configured? Consider colocation and outsourcing. Create a cloud plan. Update your business continuity plan.
  3. Select the pieces. Determine what technologies will best improve your agility, reliability, and energy-efficiency.
  4. Build. “Focus on design efficiency and an incremental build-out methodology,” say Chuba and Brisse. “Factor in density zones and multitiered designs.”
  5. Continue to adapt. Closely watch efficiency moving forward. Put a plan in place to continue consolidating servers and a policy for virtual server deployment so you don’t end up with virtual server sprawl.
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