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Data Center Design

Rack. Tack. Relax. How to build a future-ready data centre

The following is a contributed article by Margaret Franco, Executive Director, Enterprise Center of Competency, Dell EMEA

 

The only thing we can rely on in today’s fluctuating business landscape is change. There is no doubt that enterprises are going to be buffeted by more and more change in the days, months and years ahead. Now obviously we cannot predict the future and as much as we would like to be able to gaze into a crystal ball and tell you with absolute certainty what the cool kids will be putting in their data centres in 10 years, we simply can’t. What we can do however is build these data centres to be ready for change. Ready to face the next disruption that the market offers up and be truly future ready in order to help the organisation survive new and evolving business pressures.

When looking to futureproof your data centre you need to consider your infrastructure in a truly holistic manner and talk to the frontline troops – their feedback is crucial. For example, the sales team might have a niche set of needs that you may not have considered and this could significantly impact your plans. Getting buy-in from the big guys (aka the C-suite) is also key as without their backing, your dream data centre might stay just that – an unfulfilled pipe dream.

Once this feedback is collected and buy-in secured there are a few fundamental steps that you can take to help make your future-ready data centre a reality:

  • Invest in simplicity - Simplicity doesn’t mean maintaining the status quo. Start by understanding the value of your existing system and evaluating the return it offers. Then invest in simplicity by transitioning off aging, proprietary systems where necessary to achieve future flexibility.
  • Embrace open standards - The IT industry is producing powerful technologies that are open standard. Take advantage of these innovations to ensure compatibility between the solutions you buy today and tomorrow.
  • Think software first - Software allows for flexibility and agility in IT systems. Decide which operations you can move into software – from the cloud to the data centre – to ensure your enterprise is capable of responding quickly.  
  • Build end-to-end security - The IT security market is highly fragmented. Find an end-to-end security solution that is simple, efficient and connected to avoid creating the pockets of vulnerability that occur when solutions don’t fit together properly.
  • Modernise and automate - Old programming languages and obsolete IT platforms are inherently restrictive. Migrate onto more modern systems to reduce cost, improve agility and lay the foundation for the future with automated processes.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but it’s a good place to start the dialogue and begin listening to the teams. The next step is educating and training people in using the new technology and adapting their business processes. If no one knows how to use the shiny new equipment then it quickly becomes redundant.

Working with your providers and using their support services will ensure that you have as little downtime as possible and your staff are appropriately trained. Following this guidance should hopefully make your next IT refresh that much easier and it should just be a case of: rack, stack and relax. 

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