Today, your data center is more important and essential than it has ever been!
Let me explain. We are at a cross-roads in thinking for IT Infrastructures. For nearly 40 years (about the time when the first connected computing systems came into being), bigger has always been better. Bigger processors, bigger disk drives, bigger servers, and bigger data centers to house it all in. Most seasoned IT professionals have taken great pride in the amount of stuff they could acquire and then cobble together to create bespoke IT solutions that could meld and adjust to changing business conditions. And for many years, bigger worked. Every imaginable application was thrown at the IT organization and more stuff would be added to the infrastructure to allow for these new services and expanded capacity. Bigger really was better!
But that all changed in the last ten years as applications and infrastructures were virtualized and all of the essential active devices increased in density and at the same time shrank in physical size. And all of this was happening at the very same time that the public cloud was coming into its own stride and offering new ways of running applications without consuming any owned and operated gear at all! In-house data centers began to shrink in size and take on many of the attributes of the Public Cloud, forming Private Clouds.
Now, some of our colleagues are already equating this shrinking trend to the elimination of data centers altogether. They see the physical size as trending downward and extrapolate this to zero footprint at some point in time. Not so fast partner! This isn’t a statistical and theoretical discussion. Its about identifying all of the business services that are needed to run a business, and then determining the best platform to deliver those services upon. And the platform choice is not one-size-fits-all…. it is a balancing act based upon cost, capacity, timing, security, support and regulatory needs!
Perhaps counter intuitive, but the shrinking footprints of these data centers that you and your team are operating and optimizing into private clouds today are actually becoming MORE important to the business itself! Think about it. What are the applications and services that are being kept in these owned and/or operated data centers? Well, typically its the most critical ones. It’s the secret sauce that you hold close to the vest. It’s the stuff that runs the very essence of your business. It’s your customer detail and your confidential data. It’s the stuff that can’t leave your four walls for jurisdiction, regulatory and/or security reasons.
Make no mistake, the public cloud will help us all offload capacity and allow us access to new applications that can not be brought in-house easily or cost-effectively. The Public Cloud provides a great platform for some applications, but as we have all learned in our IT careers, this is NEVER a one-size-fits-all game, and to focus on a zero-footprint end-game is irrational, and contrary to good business and technology understanding. Each IT business service needs to be delivered on the most suitable platform. And it is the definition of “most suitable” that will get us all in trouble if we are not careful. In cases of security, jurisdiction or regulatory compliance, that definition will be more stringent than many other applications and your ability to reliably deliver those ‘bet the business’ core applications has never been more critical.
In 2018, those IT professionals that really get their business’ needs, and can defend WHY they have satisfied those needs in the various technology platforms available to them today, will be handsomely rewarded….
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