As cloud computing enters the mainstream, opinions regarding the future of the enterprise data centre appear to be sharply divided. Certain experts and analysts predict that the days of businesses owning and operating their own data centres are numbered, while others maintain that private clouds will dominate, with a few casual workloads running in the public cloud.
Over the years, we've seen the pace of technology pushing the ICT industry to a tipping point, and the data centre market is in the midst of a revolution. It's impossible to say with certainty what the data centre will look like in 2024. However, organisations that don't embrace data centre transformation could face profound consequences, and there's no better time than now to evaluate the options available to ride these waves of change - or risk being swept away.
The need to right-size the data centre is one of the most pressing challenges facing businesses today. And given the hefty capex involved, the merits of building additional data centre facilities to cope with additional capacity requirements must also be carefully considered. On top of that, there's timing to consider because building a new data centre is a 20-year investment.
Traditional planning approaches that don't include the notion of cloud will likely leave businesses with excess capacity and idle resources. Contrary to popular belief, a large percentage of businesses have over-planned their data centre facilities considerably and will be looking to shrink - rather than grow - their environments over the next few years. In addition, decisions about when to use the cloud, how much to use, and which workloads are optimal candidates for an initial migration, also require a structured approach.
From the Get Go
As a first step, companies will need to assess the workloads that they are currently running and identify those that can be removed out of the data centre and into the cloud. Workloads that aren't cloud-ready can be run on-premise, or moved to a colocation facility, depending on their nature and business-criticality.
Colocation providers rent equipment, space, and bandwidth to individual businesses. Their facilities include space, power, cooling, and physical security for the server, storage, and networking equipment of their customers. Colocation is a popular option for businesses looking to eliminate the burden of providing logistical support for on-premise data centre facilities. While colocation is an ideal arrangement for many businesses, moving to a colocation facility involves more than just moving infrastructure. Ideally, the process should be managed within a formal framework that covers, people, processes, and operations.
Location, location, location
In addition to modernisation and right-sizing considerations, there's the question of data centre location. Today, many users are mobile, or work from regional, satellite, or home offices, so it's no longer necessary to locate a data centre in the immediate office vicinity, or even the same city. Organisations can use WAN optimisation technology to deliver the performance outcomes you need in terms of latency and network speed.
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