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September 24, 2012

It's Time to Rethink that Data Center

Posted by Chandra Shekar Kakal (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:16 AM

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What Ricoh achieved was no mean feat - removing more than 1000 servers across their Europe-Middle East-Africa operations and reducing their carbon footprint by nearly 17K tons of CO2 - the equivalent of emissions from 3350 cars. Ricoh, for whom Infosys implemented a private Cloud infrastructure, was recognized with a Green IT award

This is no isolated story. Very soon, 3 out of 5 data centers will be less than half their current size, and yet process 300% larger workloads than they conventionally did. Yes, the paradigm is clearly shifting. And the C-suite, not surprisingly, is sitting up and taking notice. Because, this means the CEO has another avenue to drive the 'go-green' and social accountability agenda. The CFO has found a great opportunity to shore up the bottom line. And, CIOs have their hands overwhelmingly full. 

With technologies for virtualization increasing in appeal, the CIO's organization must deal with the operational complexities of data hosted partly on-premises and in parts on private and public Clouds. Consolidating this distributed data - from a highly fragmented and hybrid environment - into a center is no mean challenge. Then, there are the complexities of data generated by a remote global workforce using personal devices for work. The CIO must support the security and assurance needs of this business-critical data as well. Given that this is the picture today, it comes as no surprise that organizations are expected to invest close to US$ 46 billion, in 2012 alone, in data center outsourcing. 

Global leaders like Harley-Davidson already have a head start. Their transformation exercise encompasses management of over 1,400 business applications, end to end infrastructure management and data hosting - center to network to help-desk.  

But, before you set out to script your data center success story, I suggest we ponder these points:
• Your IT infrastructure will inevitably grow as your business does. You may want to put in a structured approach to validate this burgeoning underlying IT infrastructure. Not just applications validation. Not just infrastructure management. But end-to-end infrastructure testing to provide reliable and efficient infrastructure all the time, anytime. This is the good housekeeping that must precede best-in-class data center management. 
• Thanks to public Cloud operators, business users, acting independent of the IT organizations, can create their own Cloud applications on demand. Now's the time for your enterprise to find the means and methods to unify this fragmented Cloud environment. And establish robust governance without compromising business flexibility. 
• The pressure on capital resources remains unabated, and hybrid Clouds will be the chosen favorite when augmenting IT capacity or even enabling infrastructure for disaster recovery. This means investments in technologies that improve storage efficiencies - like checks for data duplication - will not be wasted.
• The premise of the next-gen data center is around seamless value creation between providers on the IT side and consumers at the business end. In fact, that's the real promise of Cloud-led virtualization: enterprise users - without business-only or tech-only mandates - simply gravitating towards one goal: innovation.

I believe 'rethinking that data center' is really no longer an option. After all, if the need of the hour is to support private and public Cloud-led plug-n-play business innovations or the creation of a secure BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)-enabled virtualized enterprise or just plain and simple, yet powerful, infrastructure rationalization, why should your enterprise have to look beyond you - their CIO?

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