There are only a few services and solutions that affect everything in IT — one of them is the data centre and the other is people. The two areas of people and data centre are where the most value can be gained in virtually any IT organization when it comes to reducing risk and the threat of fires.
That’s right, just two areas, both of which can be worked on with minimal impact to active production environments and in most cases without too much additional expense.
It’s well documented that humans are almost always the biggest single risk factor to the availability of systems. The more humans need to be involved, the more likely a mistake will get made and a failure will occur.
We all talk about hardware failure and power failures, even viruses and software bugs, but if you want to reduce risk, you reduce the human touch factor.
The simple answer is that you need a combination of three things: good leadership, excellent process/automation, and solid training.
When it comes to owning and operating a data centre as a system, it begins to get a little more complex. Most organizations fail to treat the data centre as a system and are constantly dealing with components or services independent of the DCaaP.
While there are hundreds of discrete components and services that make up a functioning data centre, it is no different than how you might work on a car. You don’t talk about replacing the tires on your car without considering whether they will fit on the rims, fit in the wheel well, or cause the handling to change.
The same holds true with a data centre, as there is virtually nothing in a data centre that can be changed without having some effect on the performance of the system.
Some of the more well known discrete components of a data centre include power, HVAC, security, water, and environment (I.e., humidity, cleanliness, and temperature).
Any one of these areas could be cause for fires in IT but all of them together combine for high overhead if they aren’t expertly managed. Oft overlooked is networking/connectivity. Which, while a part of the data centre, connectivity is also an underlying service bridging all applications.
All of the aforementioned DC services, including connectivity should be considered part of DCaaP. Imagine if instead of buying a bunch of air conditioners, routers, UPS units, PDUs, racks, sensors, ducting, cable, ladder rack and etc., you could instead buy a package?
This likely isn’t news to anyone, but that’s what a colocation provider is supposed to offer – Data Centre-as-a-Platform.
Not all colocation providers are created equal, so just moving from your data centre to theirs won’t necessarily solve any problems and in fact could cause new ones.
The real opportunity is moving to a colocation provider that can improve your level of service by driving down the risk of fires to zero and increasing your ability to address new opportunities.
Imagine improving customer and employee satisfaction, while giving your employer better tools, simultaneously lowering costs and reducing your carbon footprint.
Remove the issue and focus on business enabling priorities
Generally speaking I don’t believe in washing my hands of a problem, I prefer fixing it. However, building and operating data centres at the highest levels of efficiency, performance and availability isn’t for the faint of heart.
As mentioned earlier, the majority of businesses don’t have the organizational alignment that allows for building and running first class data centres.It’s also true that building a data centre means locking in a 15-year business plan and capital expenditure (CapEx) investment that isn’t easily adjusted on the fly.
In the modern IT space, building a 15-year business plan and locking in a bunch of CapEx isn’t conducive to agility.
Reduce your overhead and fire risks while improving agility and lowering costs
Find a data centre partner that makes it their life’s work to provide their customers the equivalent of an Indy car for agility, a Tesla for efficiency and safety, and an armoured car for security in the form of the most efficient data centres with Tier IV Gold availability ratings combined with connectivity options beyond compare.
What else can you do in IT that will reduce your overhead and put out many of your fires while also improving agility and lowering costs?
Another way of looking at this opportunity is that you’re helping to ‘future proof’ your investments. When it comes to value, what better way to obtain value than by actually improving your operational capability and agility? Wouldn’t you rather focus on capability and agility first and have efficiency go up while costs go down, all as a side effect?
Mark Thiele is the executive vice-president of Data Center Tech at Switch Communications. He is a long-time blogger and enthusiastic industry evangelist. He maintains a regular blog for Switch as the SwitchScribe, where this article originally appeared. It is re-published here with his permission.
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