This sponsored post is produced in association with Intel Network Platform Group.
Fueled by the increasing importance of big data and the emergence of complex software and storage needs, data centers are becoming both more expensive to operate, and of growing significance to the enterprise.
As a result, companies of all stripes are seeking ways to ensure the speed, flexibility, and interoperability of their data center assets. The ability to scale dynamically while leveraging every penny of multimillion- dollar data center investments is an absolute must for the future.
This is leading to the emergence of new models in the world of data center provisioning, including a new spin on an old product strategy: bundled offerings. The idea makes a lot of sense.
Lack of integration, backwards compatibility issues, waning access to out-of-date replacement parts and/or trained maintenance personnel . . . For someone charged with ensuring the fastest, most efficient and cost effective solutions possible, these issues and others common to data centers that rely on kluging together disparate hardware and software solutions are all too common.
The benefits of bundling then are to reduce the cost of asset acquisition, improve overall data center performance, and reduce both component and human maintenance outlays. There are also good arguments for bundled acquisition of assets shortening new data center startup times and lessening downstream upgrade costs.
Better performance, lower costs, less risk
Intel recently published a study that demonstrated that by replacing servers and components in a mixed-configuration data center with Intel products that were purpose-engineered for interoperability with other Intel assets, Principled Technologies was able to support significantly more users and database orders, and a whopping 67 percent more VMs than in the blended environment.
The upshot of all this is that the expense of a few strategic upgrades to your data center could potentially mean significant cost savings. Greater efficiency and performance from assets means you need to acquire fewer servers, with an associated drop in cost of maintenance and power consumption, certainly. One could even imagine that the more efficient “bundled” data center environment may result in a longer lifespan for core assets, further reducing total cost of acquisition and operation, even as business demand scales.
As to the optimal path for replacing your (very expensive) mixed and matched data center assets, there are two common strategies to consider: Gradual and All-at-Once. The best solution for your business probably depends on your approach to capital planning.
Many companies don’t have the 10, or 50 million, required to upgrade their data center equipment in any given year, so they end up distributing the expense over a longer window, like 5 or 10 years. While less daunting to the spreadsheet, this strategy does nothing to enable interoperability and backwards compatibility associated with mixed-and-matched data center environments, and comes with increased burden on maintenance staff, and the associated expense. So, while gradual upgrade of hardware assets is a common strategy, it’s not necessarily the best one.
If you have the funds to upgrade an entire data center on one go, this is probably going to be your preferred route. By bundling more asset acquisitions at once and from a single vendor, you’re going to ensure that what you’re buying is compatible out of the box and enjoy a shorter timeframe to complete the upgrade, thereby getting to better speed and more efficient, sooner. By dealing with a single (or appreciably fewer) vendors, for bundled asset buys, you’ll also be able to negotiate better deals, thereby lowering your initial investment. You’re also doing your maintenance folks a favor by making them responsible for just one generation of technology, rather than multiple, meaning less total training time and greater availability of replacement parts. Following up on the logic above, the optimal interoperability of data center assets purpose built to work together will also probably help cut your operating costs, minimize business interruptions, and extend the lifecycle of your data center assets. If your capital planning budget allows for it, the All-at-once method is the way to go.
Data center assets and networking products haven’t historically been engineered to provide reliable interoperability, simplified management and robust data protection across your data center and networks, but big data and the exploding importance of predictive analytics to enterprise business models is changing that. Start educating yourself now on emerging models in data center asset acquisition, including bundled service offerings, and review your capital planning strategy to determine which upgrade strategy is right for you.
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