Many of today’s sleekest, most sophisticated data centers have the humblest of beginnings. Whether you are upgrading your existing facility, building a new one, or considering outsourcing your data center to one of the growing number of hardened hosting facilities, here are five things to think about while preparing for the future.
1 – The Cloud: Design for Remote Access
Contemporary data center designs must account for cloud functionality that may:
- Store their archive data in multiple places,
- Route their voice-over IP (VOIP) phone traffic and voicemail from other sites, and
- Process web business transactions from a variety of integrated backend partners.
And that’s before we talk about other considerations that will eat up bandwidth. Things like:
- Interoffice messaging systems like Microsoft Skype for Business
- Uninvited user applications
At some point in the last decade meteorology seemed to enter the IT field, and everybody started talking about “The Cloud.” But the cloud isn’t a new thing. Any elementary school computer lab that ever ran a learning game for 20 kids on a server stashed in the data center has utilized the basics of cloud computing. It’s about remote access to centralized data and storage.
As connectivity, bandwidth, and storage have increased and virtualization has increase the density of computing environments, the ability to shift applications away from premises based resources to external resources (the cloud) has revolutionized the way we compute.
2 – Virtualization: Harness the Power of Server Technology
Virtualization is running more than one guest operating system instance, whether server or workstation, on the same physical hardware. Virtual applications have been delivered via Terminal Services and Citrix for years now, but today we are seeing a new wave of applications designed from the ground up to be delivered from the cloud.
In the good old days, computing was centralized in room sized mainframes and accessed from “dumb” terminals. With the advent of the PC, the pendulum swung to distributed processing on “smart” PCs. Virtualization is driving the pendulum back towards the data center offering highly available centralized compute and storage resources as a foundation for cloud optimized applications.
3 – More Storage: Gimme Data
Your data center should account for not just the rate at which your users consume and store data today, but how much they are likely to rely on it tomorrow. All consumer facing web applications and commercial sites generate a tsunami of data that contains potentially valuable indications of trends in the marketplace. It’s not called “big data” for nothing!
This rapidly expanding data pool and the need to back it up drives the requirement for high capacity, highly available, and highly scalable storage. Storage cost and physical space must be a constant consideration.
4 – Colocation Space: Sharing Data Center Space
The challenges of the modern data center are enough to keep IT directors up at night, so more of them are opting for a service that stays awake for them, managing the multitude of environmental and technical details.
Here are the pros and cons of leasing a colocation, or “colo,” space in a data facility:
- Pro: Security—The services a colo provides are substantial. Colos see to the all the details: from physical and cyber security, to regulatory compliance with wiring and construction codes, fire safety, and more. Offering 24-hour staffing, Fort Knox-like security, guaranteed climate control, and multiple redundant power and data protections, investing in a colo space as a secondary or even primary data center can help IT managers get their beauty sleep without undertaking massive construction and planning costs.
- Con: Cost—Colo solutions are not necessarily cheap. Facilities charge premiums for square footage, bandwidth, storage rack rental, and other incidental costs, maximizing their return for the service they provide.
5 – Total Cost of Ownership: Investment Level on the Decline
Even including the cost of a colocation option, the budget news for IT leaders isn’t bad:
- Centralized or ‘cloud’ technology actually lowers administrative costs.
- Faced with major hardware refreshes, it may be an opportunity to shift from a CapEx based approach to a cloud based OpEx approach.
- The need for storage grows constantly, but its cost is falling just as fast, so diligence and planning will be as or more important as price.
With a smart, considered approach to your data center and the work it handles, sharp IT leaders can actually lower the total cost of ownership for their organizations even as they rely more than ever on data. Addressing growth and planning needs for your data center will position you for success. And more restful nights.
Designing a Data Center for Tomorrow
Today, businesses and organizations understand that data is the core of commerce. Tomorrow’s data center is developing around the critical need to provide instant internal and external communication safely and without interruption.