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The Data Centre is Dead…Long Live the Data Centre

Simon Ratcliffe

Simon Ratcliffe
Principal Consultant, Advisory

Businesses and IT leaders today face myriad challenges. Gartner’s annual CIO Agenda survey for 2019, for example, shows digital business has reached something of a tipping point: just under half (49 per cent) of CIOs report their organisations have already changed their business models or are in the process of doing so.

IT is under pressure to act at speed, deliver transformational change, adopt new digital technologies and tools, and react to constantly changing customer behaviour and expectations. But this must all be underpinned by a robust and secure IT infrastructure, especially where the applications and services being delivered are mission critical to the organisation.

What does this mean for your data centre?

A sizeable proportion of organisations still own and operate their own data centres, whether on premises or co-located by specialist providers. But the disruptive influences of the digital world are putting these more traditional IT environments under pressure. There has even been talk about the end of the traditional data centre.

That viewpoint is echoed in a prediction by analyst IDC five years ago. IDC said the majority of organisations will stop managing their own infrastructure, make greater use of hosted managed services for existing IT assets, and turn to dedicated and shared cloud offerings in service provider data centres for new services.

Has the death of the data centre been overstated?

Five years on, more recent research suggests the picture isn’t so black and white. A survey by IHS Markit last year of just over 150 IT professionals at North American organisations with their own data centres found most of them expect to at least double the amount of physical servers in those centres by 2019. The main reasons cited? Security, application performance and scalability.

The reality is the data centre is here to stay, albeit in a very different form to today. As organisations continue to move their IT to public cloud, service provider data centres and service provider clouds, core functions will still remain within their own data centres. The rise of edge computing and the need to retain certain core systems in a more traditional hardware-owned model mean data centre space will still be required. These modern data centres are very compact. But they still represent a local environment that needs to be managed and operated in conjunction with the assets that have been moved to other platforms.

A hybrid future

However, transforming away from the very traditional, all-in-house approach to a modern hybrid approach isn’t a simple exercise. Especially not for organisations with a significant investment in a traditional data centre environment and operating model.

Despite the on-going pressure to achieve speed and agility, transforming a data centre environment and optimising it to run effectively on a modern hybrid environment requires careful planning and organised execution across a number of phases of activity.

The five-step approach to data centre transformation

Ensono has developed a tried-and-tested five-step approach to data centre optimisation and transformation. This has enabled many organisations to successfully create a modern IT operating environment and realise the benefits associated with this.

These five steps of data centre transformation are:

  1. Establish a clear strategy
  2. Embrace new delivery models
  3. Understand and prioritise risks
  4. Integrate public cloud
  5. Implement the plan

In the second part of this blog, we’ll explore in more detail how to use this five-step process to optimise and transform your data centre environment. And for more on this subject, watch our webinar.

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