Can Your Data Center Infrastructure Keep Up with Modern Demand?
What is a data center if it is not agile, fast, and scalable? A dinosaur. Unfortunately, when the world of tech develops at a breakneck pace, as it has been, data centers must do more than adding some server racks to stay functional, they must find ways to adapt and modernize data center infrastructure in order to meet today’s technological and marketplace demands.
Prior to the pandemic, our world was already making a shift towards digitizing everything in business and the general economy. The pandemic accelerated that at lightning speed and many data centers were unprepared for such a rapid shift. It is clear that over the next few years and decades, more and more will continue to shift to the digital space, there is no going back, so data centers are faced with the question – do you want to move and start fresh or modernize data center infrastructure in your existing space.
Why Are Most Data Centers in Need of an Infrastructure Upgrade?
Data centers often struggle to meet modern demand because of things like siloed infrastructure and lack of modern infrastructure management systems and tools in place. Old hardware may not be able to successfully integrate with infrastructure management software if there even is such software in place.
When data centers rely on old, inefficient, and inconsistent manual processes, the risk of a problem occurring is much higher, as Data Center Dynamics explains, “Aging data centers must either be modernized or have its IT outsourced to cloud service and colocation providers to minimize the risk of business disruption. Remaining sites that delay modernizing also fail to benefit from recent technological advances. These improvements make data center management simpler, more efficient, and less expensive to operate today…It will optimize costs by focusing spending on process improvements, hardware upgrades, and replacements that have the biggest impact on reducing critical incidents and failures that can cause downtime of the IT systems and applications. And new business requirements may mean the infrastructure needed today may be much less than what you needed when it was first built.
When you combine that with the likely efficiency gains that modern infrastructure and their management tools bring, the real total cost of ownership of a newly modernized facility is often less than you expected.”
Data Centers Must Re-Evaluate Their Current Infrastructure
Unless you are the exception to the general rule, it is unlikely that your data center’s infrastructure was designed with today’s demand in mind. Though we have been talking about scalability for decades, being able to fully anticipate where we are at now would have been incredibly difficult. So, assuming that you are the rule and not the exception, you need to evaluate your data center’s infrastructure as soon as possible.
The sheer volume and size of data being transmitted at a lightning pace (as customers expect and demand), requires a data center infrastructure strategy. It is critical that your data center can reliably and efficiently meet the demands of today while remaining agile enough to scale rapidly. Investing in modern data center infrastructure management systems (DCIMs) that can help monitor, manage, and optimize your infrastructure will provide tremendous ROI in the long run.
Modern DCIM software and support technology is more equipped to systematically track your legacy equipment maintenance needs, monitor when performance appears to be decreasing, and help keep you on track to replace old equipment before it fails on you when you need it most. As any data center manager knows, whether you have a few racks or rows upon rows of equipment racks, easy monitoring and tracking is essential for efficiency and performance.
With a better idea of what infrastructure you are working with and how it is performing, you will be able to determine what equipment needs to be replaced right away and what can wait if you are trying to cut costs. This is cost-effective and sets up your data center for success in a competitive marketplace. At some point, your data center’s legacy equipment will become obsolete or simply more costly to maintain than it is worth. With a robust DCIM system in place, this will be easier to determine and will ultimately help your data center become more energy-efficient.
Updating Data Center Security Infrastructure
Cyber attacks are more prevalent than ever before. Businesses and individuals are all under the constant threat of having sensitive information stolen. The sophistication of malware today, compared to that of even 3 years ago, is dramatically improved. These security threats must be addressed by data centers or they are severely exposed to a cyberattack or other security issue. And, because security is an important component of remaining compliant, all data centers should be focusing on investing in modern infrastructure that improves security. Schneider Electric elaborates on what security strategies should be considered as you modernize data center infrastructure, “Customer data must be protected through a technology ecosystem that ensures a cyber and physically secure environment. Software as a Service (SaaS) based asset management products such as Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure™ IT are popular for providing the needed asset visibility. Data center staff members simply view their smart phones for easy access to all the devices on the network. Alarms are bundled according to relevance, and are sent out every 5 minutes. From a dashboard, administrators can dive into any device or alarm and can immediately start troubleshooting if required.”
Don’t Delay Modernizing Your Data Center
Though we know that many IT budgets have been slashed and obtaining the funds to update infrastructure can be challenging, updating your data center infrastructure should be a top priority. Every data center is different and the types of legacy equipment you have, along with your budget, may influence your approach to modernization, but it should not delay it. Whether you begin by phasing out legacy equipment or undertake a complete infrastructure overhaul, infrastructure should be updated and a DCIM system should be implemented that can help you effectively and efficiently equip your data center to meet modern demands.