Are you ready for the evolution of the data center? This centralized repository that houses computer systems and their associated components is often located on-premises, but more organizations are now turning to virtualization or cloud computing vendors to manage their data center assets and operations.
In this data center tutorial, learn how SMB CIOs are adjusting their data center and virtualization strategies to create greener, less expensive and more efficient operations in today's leaner, meaner IT organization.
This guide to data center evolution is part of SearchCIO-Midmarket.com's Midmarket CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on important issues.
Table of contents:
The next stage in data center evolution
Ask CIOs what they think their data center facility will look like in five years and they inevitably start talking about the cloud, but not in the sense that data center ownership will go away.
CIOs describe a hybrid data center approach that involves a blend of many strategies: renting data center space, turning over some applications to a Software as a Service (SaaS) vendor or disaster recovery (DR) to an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider, and continuing to update and virtualize their own data center infrastructure and develop an internal cloud.
And this seemingly hodge-podge description for the data center of the future isn't a collection of strategies across several different companies, but within individual organizations.
Learn more about what's in store for data centers.
A video guide to data centers and virtualization
These videos provide an overview on implementing virtualization, partnering with cloud brokers and the IT industry trends guiding next-generation data centers.
Data center evolution might mean smaller physical sites
In 2009, the Harvard Business Review pondered the "disappearing data center," warning that the corporate data center could very well be a casualty of the Great Recession. Two years later, Gartner Inc. predicted that by 2012, 20% of businesses would no longer own their IT assets.
With the end of 2012 in sight, it seems the demise of the on-site data center facility isn't as near as some believed.
"Enterprise-owned data centers won't go away. There will always be companies with business requirements -- security, availability, performance -- that demand they run their own data centers," said Matt Stansberry, director of content and publications at the Santa Fe, N.M.-based Uptime Institute, a data center research and consulting organization, and independent division of The 451 Group.
Rather than disappear, the corporate data center facility of the future will become more compact and will be reserved for operations that the business and IT, working together, decide need to be kept under corporate control, Stansberry and other experts said.
Read more on how the corporate data center is shrinking to fit organizations' needs.
A data center tutorial for glossary geeks
Are you following the latest terms and trends related to the data center and virtualization, which encompass service providers, mobile applications and green IT?
What comes next in the evolution of the data center?
At the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo last fall, Gartner analyst David Cappuccio took broad strokes at predicting the future of information technology. We all know that "big data" is a force to be reckoned with, but Cappuccio called it "the impending tsunami." As data growth continues, CIOs will be faced with an ocean of unstructured data. It's time to get ahead of that multiplication before it drowns the data center. Cappuccio suggested that the most critical will be inline deduplication.
With so many cloud options available to midmarket and small and medium-sized business IT executives, it's a veritable cornucopia of services from multiple providers. How they play together within your organization will be a key strength -- or a weakness. Cappuccio predicted that hybrid data centers will move noncritical work to open space on the network while moving critical work to improve availability. Cloud and colocation will be positioned for growth potential while deferring long-term capital investments. "This frees up floor space in the existing site for future growth, both solving the scale problem and deferring capital spending for potentially years," Cappuccio said. "An alternative to this is for older data centers to begin migrating critical work off-site, thus reducing downtime risks and business interruptions while freeing up the old data center for additional work or for a slow, in-place, retrofit project."
Learn more in this roundup of data center options and other IT trends for 2013.
Data center strategies quiz for enterprise CIOs
With 2013 in full swing, CIOs and the analysts who speak to their issues are making predictions on what their IT departments will look like in the year ahead. The data center remains a particular area of interest for CIOs as cloud computing and virtualization continue to shake up traditional infrastructure strategies.
Has your business kept up with emerging trends pertaining to data center strategies and virtualization, or will you fall behind in 2013? Test your knowledge of new data center strategies by reviewing some of our recent coverage and taking our quiz.