Data Centre Strategy Development
Is your IT infrastructure creaking at the seams? Does IT spend its time fighting fires or fielding complaints about performance or delivery timelines? Is the business demanding better, and faster service? Has the business gone through significant change and/or made significant acquisitions recently, or about to? Is your current strategy out of alignment with your business due to changes in the market or in overall strategy? If you can answer yes to any of these questions then it means you should consider updating your current data centre strategy, or if you don’t have one, writing one. Sounds complex? Not really. The Why, What, and How of Data Centre Strategy development are actually simpler than you might imagine.
A solid data centre strategy is an integral part of an overall IT and business strategy and should always be considered jointly with them. It will form the core IT ‘engine’ to power your company in reaching its strategic goals by creating a joined-up, achievable roadmap for the future of your data centre landscape.
Neglecting the creation of a comprehensive and aligned Data Centre Strategy can lead to problems ranging from the ‘simple’ problem of running out of IT space and power just when the business wants to grow, to the real game changers of spiralling costs or failing systems and outages that result in a direct loss of revenue. Harder to quantify but maybe even more important are the lost opportunities that can come from an out-dated data centre environment being unable to support rapid changes in the market.
To create a comprehensive Data Centre Strategy there are four areas that should be covered, answering specific questions in each of these areas.
- Design – How many data centres do you need? What roles will these data centres play in supporting your IT strategy?
- Management – How will the data centres be managed? Should these be run in-house or out-sourced? Do you have the right tools and teams to manage the data centres properly?
- Infrastructure – What technologies should be used? Does ‘Cloud’, or distributed services, provide the organisation with viable solutions? How leading edge do you need to be?
- Facilities – What is the state of the current facilities, are they fit for purpose? Should you own the facilities or should they be sourced?
While a Data Centre Strategy can be complex in its totality, at its core it is very simple and should do two things:
- Provide an understanding of where you are today – What areas do you have problems in?
- Define where you want to go tomorrow – What will drive the right benefit for you?
The definition of a successful data centre strategy can be distilled into three key factors:
- Knowledge – What you have, what state it is in and where the issues are
- Clarity – Goals of the organization, what do you want to do differently?
- Engagement – Aligning the strategy with all the stakeholders
For a Data Centre Strategy to provide value it must align with your organisation’s IT and Business strategies, and these will be its principal drivers. The degree to which IT is a differentiator for your businesses will dictate the level of control you require, and therefore your chosen strategies in regard to Management and Facilities – e.g. Investment Banks with their unique computational requirements that drive the business. Understanding how the business is planning to grow, organically or through acquisition, will determine strategies and decisions for Infrastructure. Design and Facilities decisions will be heavily influenced by the direction of the business’ focus – will it be local, regional, or global?
The creation of a data centre strategy doesn’t have to be a very complex undertaking, but can still go into technical and organisational detail. If it clearly answers the key questions facing your organisation, and is aligned with the IT and business strategies, it will be worth the effort. At DMW we have helped many organisations create and implement viable Data Centre Strategies aligned with our client’s goals. If you think your organisation could be at a stage where a new or revised strategy is needed why not contact us to see how we might help you on this important journey?