When we talk about digital transformation, we tend to think first of end-user devices and edge uses: smart objects, automated operations and streamlined processes. But none of those solutions or outcomes is possible without the right back-end infrastructure to support it.
Forward-looking organizations must move beyond a “keep the lights on” mentality and strategically design data center facilities that will power the technology of tomorrow. Here’s how:
1. Simplify Infrastructure
Data centers often house a complex web of hardware, software, cabling and power. Usually, this setup requires extensive time spent on testing, integration and deployment — all of which can cause issues for customers and the business. In an increasingly digital world, users expect their tools to work with no exceptions, and even valid excuses for downtime in the data center are unlikely to pacify users.
Converged and hyperconverged technologies that incorporate computing, storage and networking into a single solution can reduce complexity in the data center and free up IT staff to focus on more strategic initiatives. Of course, careful planning is essential to a successful deployment. Organizations that invest in hyperconvergence should also evaluate their data protection and backup solutions to ensure they’re a fit for the new infrastructure.
2. Enable Extreme Performance
In the past, IT professionals often had to treat performance problems in the data center as facts of life — conditions that could be worked around but never totally avoided. That’s changed. With today’s technologies, poor performance in the data center is a problem that can — and should — be solved.
High-availability flash storage, in particular, represents a tool that organizations can use to dramatically improve performance and provide service at the “speed of expectation.” The fewer spinning disks that stand between customers and their data, the better positioned an organization will be to deliver transformative tools. And while not every organization requires an all-flash array, most enterprises would benefit from making at least a significant investment in flash solutions.
3. Convert Data into Revenue
Organizations spend money to collect data. They spend money to store data. They spend money to manage, back up and archive data.
The time has come to achieve a return on those investments.
While technology departments have traditionally been viewed as cost centers within the enterprise, Big Data solutions empower IT shops to consolidate and apply logic to relevant data, transforming them into revenue generators. And because the strategic use of data also helps organizations anticipate users’ wants, needs and behaviors, user satisfaction improves alongside revenue.
4. Embrace the Internet of Things
Finally, organizations should look into ways their data centers can support the storage, computing and networking demands brought on by the Internet of Things (IoT). New server chips designed to handle complex data calculations offer viable solutions for managing huge volumes of IoT data. Cloud storage also makes sense, since organizations can scale capacity up or down as needed. And considering that industry estimates project IoT will encompass more than 20.6 billion connected devices by the year 2020, that sort of flexibility will likely prove vital to overcoming challenges and gaining value from IoT initiatives.