Investing in an automated data centre set up
The data center is the core of your IT. You need it to run smoothly and independently so you can focus on the rest of your business. Over the past decade, the data centre has been steadily evolving. I...
The data center is the core of your IT. You need it to run smoothly and independently so you can focus on the rest of your business. Over the past decade, the data centre has been steadily evolving. It’s transforming from a mega facility, filled with disparate infrastructure that’s difficult to integrate, maintain, and manage, into a more agile business response centre.
Businesses looking to refocus their IT efforts on delivering greater value are exploring ways to leverage automation to optimise utilisation and minimise waste. While vendors promise automation ‘in the box’, many organisations struggle with the complexities of achieving a fully functional, automated data centre environment.
It’s important that businesses understand what ‘automation’ really means before setting off down this path. The definition of automation has changed over the last decade. Ten years ago, automation was almost exclusively about provisioning. It wasn’t unusual for businesses to have upwards of 70% of their resources focused solely on provisioning new storage and configuring logical unit numbers. Cloud has fundamentally changed our expectations of automation, and now it’s as much about deprovisioning. Yes, cloud services are automated, but you still need to ensure that services are turned off, or you’ll waste resources and fail to realise the savings you anticipated.
Defining a policy relating to ‘what’ and ‘when’ to automate is a critical step. Do you want to use automation to burst into the cloud and manage peak workloads, or to coincide with specific business events? Do you want to configure a testing and development environment when your developers arrive at work? Is your goal to spin up resources to troubleshoot problems? Under what circumstances should you do so?
To answer these questions, you need to ensure you understand exactly where automation will add the most value. You can't automate everything. You need to ask yourself: ‘What's the value in automating this?’ It doesn’t make sense to automate workloads that remain relatively static throughout the year, and for which you’re already achieving 90% server utilisation levels. However, a workload that has three change windows a day is an ideal candidate for automation.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Innes Fresco has no end of experience in writing about automated data centres for the likes of http://www.agiledatacentre.com/automated.aspx and others.