Given the ever-increasing demand for computer services, physical space is essential in many data centers. On the other hand, a number of organizations are looking to consolidate their data centers in order to save money, streamline operations and improve the business. energetic efficiency.
There are a number of engines for consolidation projects. In some cases, the organization has grown through mergers and acquisitions, inheriting multiple data centers that replicate services. In addition, many organizations have reduced their IT footprint through virtualization and the adoption of hyperconverged infrastructure solutions. These technologies help to eliminate underutilized equipment and replace what remains with smaller form factors.
Streamlining these services can also facilitate consolidation. This has been a priority within the federal government as part of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative. Federal agencies have worked to reduce the cost of their data operations by eliminating waste and implementing a shared services model.
Similar efforts are under way at the state level. According to the National Association of Chiefs of State Information (NASCIO), 42% of states completed data consolidation projects in 2016, up from just 14% in 2007. In addition, 47% of states are currently working on consolidation projects. percent are being planned.
This data comes from a recently published report, "Shrinking State Data Centers: A Handbook for the Consolidation of Enterprise Data Centers." The report notes that consolidation enables the centralization of the data infrastructure, which streamlines maintenance and enhances security. Consolidation also offers the opportunity to introduce standards, better integrate systems and applications, improve legacy system support, and improve business continuity.
There are, of course, challenges. Resistance to change is always a huge hurdle – which only intensifies when technical problems arise or consolidation fails to meet the needs of the business. In some cases, costs are higher than expected and regulatory compliance requirements are not met.
To help minimize risk, the NASCIO manual recommends nine steps that organizations must follow:
• Conduct a needs analysis. The IT department should meet with business stakeholders to discuss their current needs as well as anticipated growth.
• Stay in touch with stakeholders throughout the project. Making stakeholders feel that they are part of the process helps to minimize resistance to change.
• Plan carefully, but stay flexible. The project plan must identify all impacts and provide sufficient flexibility to deal with unforeseen problems.
• Document existing assets. Comprehensive documentation helps identify underutilized or unnecessary resources, reuse opportunities, and resource gaps.
• Conduct a cost analysis. By understanding current costs, the organization can better calculate the savings achieved through consolidation.
• Implement standards where possible. Standards such as ITMS and ITIL help to increase efficiency and safety and further reduce costs.
• Expect the best, but get ready for the worst. Maintain constant communication with stakeholders to manage expectations.
• Get membership. If all stakeholders are involved in the project, it is more likely to bring long-term benefits.
• Report successes. Show the organization how much money has been saved, and the gains in efficiency and security increased.
While public sector organizations lead the charge of consolidating data centers, organizations in all industries can streamline and streamline their operations.