IT modernization is a broad category that encompasses solutions ranging from hybrid cloud and multicloud environments to containerization, hyperconvergence and flash storage. With so many organizations in need of an infrastructure refresh, it’s understandable that high-level conversations about enterprise IT often start with the need to modernize technology environments.

But really, this approach is backward. Instead, business and IT leaders should begin with the problems they’re experiencing, and then look to see how modernized IT solutions can address them. Here are five common business issues associated with aging data centers, along with modern IT solutions that can address them. If your organization is dealing with any of these, it may be time to consider how to go about modernizing your IT infrastructure.

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Problem 1: Slow Innovation
Solution: Containerization

Containerization has been a hot trend in recent years, fueled by the emergence of management solutions such as Kubernetes. Containers aren’t a cure-all, and they’re not a fit for every organization. But under the right circumstances, they can dramatically speed up application development. In traditional software development, business stakeholders tell IT leaders what they want in an application, and developers then go off to write the code; if requirements change in the middle of the process, it’s often too late to change course. Containerization enables agile development practices that accelerate innovation.

Problem 2: The Need to Scale Rapidly
Solution: Hybrid Cloud

Organizations in some industries experience periodic spikes in demand — such as a retailer’s website getting bombarded in the run-up to the holidays at the end of the year — that temporarily increase their IT resource needs far beyond normal. Building out on-premises infrastructure to meet peak demand would obviously be inefficient, as much of this equipment would be sitting idle during the rest of the year. By building out hybrid cloud environments, organizations can “burst” workloads into the public cloud when business needs require it — and then quickly scale back down when demand ebbs.

Problem 3: Vendor Lock-In
Solution: Multicloud

As organizations have increasingly moved workloads into the public cloud, some have become effectively locked in to one vendor. So many of their resources are sitting within one public cloud environment that they lose much of their negotiating leverage, putting them in a tough position when it’s time to renew their contracts. By locking in with one vendor, companies also might miss out on opportunities to locate their workloads in a certain geographical region or take advantage of specific features and capabilities. For these reasons, more and more businesses are moving to a multicloud strategy, integrating their on-premises infrastructure with resources from several different public cloud providers.

Problem 4: Increased Management Burdens
Solution: Cloud Management Platforms

Moving to a multicloud environment will, of course, give IT professionals more to manage. Cloud management platforms can provide self-service capabilities and enable reporting and analytics. Users can more effectively manage resources such as virtual machines, storage and networks, and can deploy workloads into the most appropriate cloud environments based on region, cost and governance policies. A cloud management platform can also give managers the ability to process chargebacks/showbacks and forecast cloud expenses.

Problem 5: Poor Application Performance
Solution: Infrastructure Refresh

Sometimes, the simplest fix works the best. A number of companies have pushed their development teams to spend months trying to optimize an application, only to find that a simple hardware upgrade improved performance more than new code ever could. If organizations are experiencing issues with application performance, modern data center solutions such as hyperconverged infrastructure or all-flash storage arrays may have an almost immediate return on investment.