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discussed the importance of data center efficiency in today’s evolving business
climate and four important steps your
organization can take toward achieving it.
As you work
through making your data center more efficient, it’s vital to assess what kind
of data center you have to determine how best to improve it. A January 2012 study of 308 IT executives from seven
countries and 25 industries to find out the state of organizations’ data center
operational efficiency identified two extreme categories of data centers:
Strategic and Basic.
data centers have a
widespread adoption of policy-based automation tools. This reduces the manual
complexity of the data center and ensures that the organization’s requirements
for data are available and that movement of applications and data is dynamic.
In Strategic data centers, instrumentation and metrics are consistently used to
validate compliance with governance policies.
data centers have a
relatively stable environment and are maintained based on short-term
objectives, with standalone infrastructure as the norm. Organizations with
Basic data centers gain the advantages of server consolidation, but they have
not implemented tools to improve availability levels, which vary widely from
application to application and site to site.
type of data center has the advantage when it comes to efficiency? According to
the survey, when using the four characteristics
of efficient data centers, Strategic data centers see the most results.
first characteristic — optimizing IT and facilities assets to maximize capacity
and availability — Strategic data centers are more likely than Basic data
centers to have virtualized servers, use storage virtualization and use data
deduplication. This means that organizations with Strategic data centers are seeing greater flexibility and sustained cost and operational efficiencies. Administrators are able to manage
2.5 times more servers and almost twice as many virtual machines per server.
data centers also are more likely to design for flexibility to support changing
business needs. The vast majority of Strategic data centers have active-active
configurations for their primary data center, and many use replication for
storage backup and upgrade mechanical and electrical equipment without
disruption. This means organizations are able to confront network pressures and forecast capacity and power requirements with precision.
characteristic of efficient data centers — using automation tools to improve
service levels and availability — is likely to be present more often among
Strategic data centers than in Basic data centers. Strategic data centers are
likely to have implemented a storage service catalog, moved virtual machines to
meet SLAs, and monitored thermal conditions. Relying on automation tools and
technologies removes manually intensive tasks for system administrators,
reduces error rates, and ensures the performance of applications against their
data centers also are more likely than Basic data centers to satisfy the fourth
characteristic of efficient data centers: having a plan that aligns with
business goals and keeping it current. Organizations with Strategic data
centers are among the first and fastest to adopt technology. They also are able
to forecast to be flexible to the needs of the business. This means that
organizations with Strategic data centers have lower disruption during changes
and build-out, and they are more likely to be resilient to dealing with changing
take some overhaul to get your data center to the Strategic level, but when
we’re talking about improving efficiency, it’s a worthwhile undertaking.