Although executives often use terms like “life blood” and “mission critical” to describe their in-house data centers, a striking number of these data centers are encountering performance issues and require modernization in order to maintain their strategic edge. Each data center is somewhat different and the approach to modernization could vary depending upon the individual circumstances. Variables such as cost, cash flow and strategic factors (e.g., deployment time frame, regulatory environment, company culture) all impact modernization choices.
Most modernization initiatives share the same goal of attaining better performance while generating lower operating costs. Below are four general categories of modernization approaches:
- Low budget – This approach consists of quick fixes like consolidating underutilized assets, enhancing airflow, and stepping up preventive maintenance practices. The goal in these cases is to buy time when little funding for improvements is available.
- Upgrade of core systems at existing site – Aging core systems decrease reliability, increase maintenance cost and lower efficiency. Modular, scalable power and cooling systems now allow for easy upgrades through delivery of pre-assembled, racked components. This speeds up access to new capacity and allows for “pay as you grow” planning and investment.
- Building a new data center – This approach makes the most sense if the expected life of the new data center exceeds five years, and allows the stakeholders complete, direct control of their operation.
- Outsourcing to colocation centers or the cloud – Companies with a high aversion to upfront capital expenses may prefer a colocation model as it converts the data center into more of an operating expense even though the TCO is higher in the long run.