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Why reduction of data centres makes sense for organizations

Zafar Anjum | Sept. 23, 2014
“From a TCO standpoint, consolidation of data centres can reduce operational costs significantly,” says Kapil Uniyal, Global Head of Tech Mahindra Data Transformation in this interview with MIS Asia. “Hence, there is an urgency to consolidate the data centres to derive savings.”

Tech Mahindra is working with a global conglomerate to consolidate its 200+ data centers to just six core centres and 11 regional centres. Post-consolidation, the customer will be able to realise TCO reduction of 40% over three years.

Will security be compromised if convergence starts to cover also disaster recovery operations?

Convergence of disaster recovery (DR) operations can lead to security concerns due to reduced number of points of security, centralised DR data and data movement across geographical borders. However, an effective strategy to tackle such security risks is to ensure that an organisation's information security policies are strictly adhered to even in an emergency.

Standardisation of security policies across primary and converged DR sites has its merits. However, the technology must also be leveraged on to implement security protocols based on the data criticality and SLA requirements in addition to the manual procedures.

Tech Mahindra is helping a retailer in Switzerland design a DR site, in which the security policy and SLAs of the customer are the key design considerations.

What are the factors - technological, financial or cultural - that affect relative adoption of convergence of disaster recovery?

We have yet to see prevalence of multiple DRs for organisations except for the financial and healthcare sectors. Even in these industries, the convergence of DR depends on three factors - technological, financial and cultural. While some of factors are highly pragmatic, others exist due to wrong perceptions of high costs or fear of the 'unforeseen'.

Technological: Stringent SLAs required by businesses demand lower downtimes and faster recoveries in the event of a disaster. Organisations with global spread of data centres find it hard to meet these SLA requirements if their existing DR sites are consolidated. This has led to emergence of DR approaches such as metro-clusters and geo-based DR solutions. 

Financial: Cost is a major roadblock for DR convergence, as the IT department has to justify costs in terms of TCO savings or ROI. However, DR requirements are often misconstrued. Organisations often demand 100% DR even for non-critical and non-production elements. This situation is worsened by assuming one-to-one replication for existing devices even though it may not required.  

Cultural: Organisations which have highly decentralised IT P&L face challenges in DR convergence due to geo-political issues and compliance requirements.   

Do you foresee a purely cloud-based system of Disaster Recovery in the long run?

Cloud-based DR solutions present a strong business case for organisations intending to set up DR at low cost. However, during Tech Mahindra's evaluations of the customer IT landscapes, three factors are important for a typical customer moving its end-to-end DR to a cloud-based environment:

DR as a Service (DRaaS) maturity: Such solutions are relatively new and are still evolving. We have yet to see solutions that can be readily integrated into the existing IT infrastructure. To succeed, 'extra' resources must be deployed to build and maintain such solutions.


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