Data center managers, it’s time to commit to those New Year's resolutions

Is your IT infrastructure fat with energy inefficiency and wasted resources?

Data center managers, it’s time to commit to those New Year's resolutions
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Whether it’s a new exercise program, volunteering for charitable causes or deciding to go gluten-free, studies have shown that nearly half of people who fully commit to New Year’s resolutions were over 10 times more likely to succeed at realizing real change as compared to 4 percent who do not.

The concept of New Year’s resolutions dates back to the Babylonians, who at the start of each year made promises to their gods to return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Romans, too, would begin each year by making promises to Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions, for whom the month of January is named.

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But wait, dear data center manager. You say you don’t have time to do gut-crunchers every morning and balk at the prospect of giving up bread and pasta? To be perfectly clear, I understand but do not condone your lack of commitment. Change is difficult. And besides, some who follow cultural trends claim that dad bods are slowly coming into fashion.

But I’m not here to lecture you about your burgeoning waist line. Today’s subject matter is the growing impact of the data center on your business’s bottom line and what actions, tools and behaviors you can implement in the new year that will immediately have a positive impact on both the human and economic resources of your organization.

Rationalizations notwithstanding, the data center’s influence on an organization’s balance sheet is a reality, presenting energy savings opportunities that align with green initiatives, better planning with automated tools, and disaster recovery plans that keep businesses up and running through the duration of an outage. A mature data center strategy in 2017 will not only help your data centers run more efficiently, but it will also add to your company’s economic and operational well-being by providing a reliable network capable of handling larger workloads, safeguarding information and resources from unexpected downtime, and offering insight into how to run your infrastructure more effectively. 

So, speed walk with me for a moment, and for goodness sakes, put down that 300-calorie slice of pizza as we tour your facility.

New Year’s resolutions to bring your data center to financial and functional optimization

Remove manual tasks from your IT team’s to-do list

Mind you, this resolution doesn’t mean these tasks won’t be consummated. But not capitalizing on your team’s true potential because they are distracted with tedious manual processes—for example, taking a manual approach to capacity planning and forecasting—are tasks that can be accomplished via automation tools and represent a waste of your most precious resources.

Make a commitment to invest in automated tools, and remove these duties from your IT team’s to-do list. Allowing each individual on your staff to leverage their respective expertise while freeing them to start thinking years in advance about how to improve your facility, better utilize space and infrastructure, or address some of the more demanding issues within the data center, will lead to optimization and growth.

Adopt the cloud for your cloud

Any company with serious brand or financial credibility at stake would do well to rethink their disaster recovery strategy in the next year. Making sure you proactively monitor for problems that can cause an outage is the first step, but accidents happen. Having a solid recovery strategy in place to get back on your feet is crucial to avoiding multimillion-dollar mistakes such as the Delta Airlines’ data center fire. A backup cloud can help companies quickly move information to a safe haven in order to stay operational and mitigate downtime

Keep your data and options open by passing on PaaS or SaaS and offering more IaaS     

According to a recent survey by Intel, The State of Enterprise Cloud Services, over half of companies that deploy cloud solutions use Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) versus Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). If you’re an IT manager, system engineer or DevOps ninja who hasn’t already resolved to implement more IaaS this year, consider that IaaS offers a level of control and flexibility that’s not available with the other services.

Cross-functional groups can best implement these goals and articulate the ROI

Understanding what to focus on, how to implement and best convey the results that these resolutions will have on the operational performance and economic payoffs at your data center will be most convincing when facility managers, IT and DevOps are all working from the same page. Leadership can come from any stakeholder, but recognition of data center cost and value will emphasize the need to quantify project impacts.

A pivotal piece to the overall business puzzle, regular maintenance and monitoring is mandatory to the overall success and longevity of a data center. Having a mature data center strategy will be top-of-mind to business leaders in the coming years as more cost and time saving opportunities are discovered. When companies evaluate strategies for 2017, many progressive, financially responsible data center stewards will emphasize these imperatives and commit to these New Year’s resolutions accordingly.

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