The Future Data Center is Simple and Smart

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With the recent downturn, to invest or not invest in the data center wasn’t a question. Companies slashed capex budgets along with everything else.

But there is some recent good news according to 451 Research’s “Q1 2015: Voice of the Enterprise Datacenters, Quarterly Survey Results and Analysis.”

The report said that “a quarter of organizations surveyed plan to increase spending on datacenter facilities equipment in the next 90 days.” Some will be completing existing projects, while others will be upgrading and modernizing.

This is good news because neglect in infrastructure can breakdown not just business as usual, but affect the future of business. To support this we need future-proof data centers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is upon us, driving unprecedented demand for data. Aging equipment and manual processes are not robust enough to handle the onslaught.

Infrastructure and operations now need to be as smart (or smarter than) the machines and devices they are connecting.

What Makes Modern

Though the purse strings are loosening, IT will always face budget constraints and still has to get the most ‘bang for a buck.’ So, in the process of looking forward the question often pops up: How can you future proof a data center while keeping budget in mind?

The short answer is: keep it simple.

Begin by asking: What are we trying to achieve in the data center? Then conduct an assessment of inventory in order to prioritize and determine cost versus value.

Defining the goals — whether it be longer term cost savings, improved resiliency, better safety or greater sustainability or all of the above — will help determine how to most effectively invest in upgrades.

From there, it’s best to start with the basics; something as simple as changing the layout to improve airflow could quickly check a box on your list of objectives.

The Future Opens Up

New standards in design and build can also drive simplicity. Led by companies like Facebook, Google and Apple, there is an emerging trend of moving toward an “Open Compute” model, which can allow for huge economies of scale at a lower cost.

As this model evolves, it may trickle down to where enterprises could leverage the learnings, from both failures and successes, of the Tier 1 organizations.

Open standards are “vendor neutral” and refrain from over customization, which can lead to complexity. Custom and complex systems call for highly skilled specialists to run the data center and eventually impedes effective scaling.

As new capabilities and technologies are released, you will want to be able to not just keep up, but get ahead and essentially ‘plug and play’ new equipment from any manufacturer. Simple but smart solutions are also the platform for automation, which is a key requirement in the modern data center.

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