District IT managers looking to optimize their data center have a range of options at their disposal. Focus on these areas to make the most of your efforts.
This often takes the form of consolidation. Consolidation encompasses not just large, glass-house facilities, but also small server clusters and wiring closets. If there are too many data centers (no matter their size) supporting the organization, they add unnecessary cost, chip away at manageability and lead to power inefficiencies. Plus small "vampire" facilities that suck power needlessly tie up inventory and cash that could be pumped back into the IT department.
Virtualization is fast spreading to individual users and their personal resources. Its benefits extend beyond merely improving the efficiency and usage ratio for central servers and storage systems. They also include faster provisioning of new projects, applications or users, as well as greater reliability and business continuity thanks to fast replication of virtual machines as backups.
A growing number of organizations have begun migrating select applications (principally e-mail and other utilitarian functions) to cloud environments run by third parties. That frees up staff and infrastructure for more mission-focused work such as application development.
To support a wide range of users and services with easy scalability and rapid provisioning, many organizations have launched their own cloud computing infrastructures. Internal cloud strategies force a rethinking of hardware architectures, utilizing consolidated, converged or data-center-in-a-box approaches.
New form factors, principally blade servers and converged infrastructures, need up-to-date cooling strategies. Rather than simply chilling the interior of an entire facility, the latest cooling technologies now focus concentrated cooling where and when it is specifically needed within racks and aisles to radically reduce cooling costs.
End-to-end enterprise data architectures require rethinking the long-held strategy of continuously adding expensive disk storage to take on new loads. Instead, IT organizations now must update networking protocols and architectures to make the most use of bandwidth and capacity. This will more tightly weave together the organization's data infrastructure.
For more tips and information on data center optimization, download our Data Center Optimization Reference Guide.