As any good cook will tell you, too many obscure ingredients in a dish is a recipe for disaster. So putting bring you own device (BYOD), mobile applications, software-defined networks (SDN), and cloud services adoption into a mixing bowl with static or shrinking budgets, is producing a mixture that today’s CIOs are struggling to swallow.
So what can be done to turn this unpalatable combination into a recipe for success? Organisations are increasingly pursuing enterprise-wide virtualisation and consolidation as a means of improving the cost efficiency, manageability, security, resiliency and flexibility of the business. This is leading to a fundamental transformation in the modern datacentre.
In fact, according to research, 70% of IT decision makers across Europe and the Middle East are planning consolidation projects during 2013.
By consolidating and transforming the architecture of under-utilised assets, a business can reduce infrastructure, administration and power and cooling costs. At the same time, it can reduce the volume of hardware to manage, and more easily apply automation policies, improve security, and streamline data protection procedures for disaster recovery and business continuity.
The study found that 68% of those planning a consolidation project report data security as the key driver for their programmes. Other reasons for this type of project are the need to reduce the cost of managing distributed servers at the branch office layer (58%) and a desire for greater control of application and server upgrades (49%).
Consolidation and datacentre transformation can fundamentally change a businesses application delivery environment, making it more reliant than ever on the network. As the network becomes critical for centralised applications, changes that used to affect a single location can now impact an entire region.
It’s also important to remember that complexity is often perceived because it’s different from what has been the status quo up to that point. The cost of change is sometimes high, but when an organisation considers the overall savings that can be achieved, the true value of consolidation can be accurately ascertained. All of which can be extremely attractive at a time when IT departments are expected to do more with less.
Regardless of whether a business is seeking to improve performance after consolidation, or at the start of such a project, performance and simplicity needs to be at the heart of the network infrastructure.
Even when reducing the number of datacentres, a company’s services and applications will be spread across several locations. Virtual application delivery controllers make it possible to accelerate user and replication traffic between datacentres as well as ensure high availability of critical services.
To effectively manage such modernised datacentres requires monitoring of the traffic between virtual machines to keep tabs on the performance of virtualised services. With such monitoring tools in place, CIOs can rest assured that their investment is paying dividends and that any potential problems are fixed before adversely impact the business.
The tools exist to enable a business to successfully consolidate and transform its entire datacentre infrastructure. With the right partner, an organisation can easily ensure that network performance is maintained during the consolidation and transformation process.
The benefits of a well-planned and executed datacentre transformation approach can extend beyond merely cost savings, with companies improving the way they mitigate risk and grow. While many organisations have achieved some level of consolidation, beginning with server virtualisation, enterprise-wide consolidation efforts require overcoming greater complexity, distance and latency, and traditional IT organisational silos.
By ensuring that performance challenges are identified, addressed, and managed, organisations can realise greater flexibility in where they locate their IT resources. Doing so can mean greater economies of scale, control, and security. It all adds up to a mouth watering prospect!