This sponsored post is produced in association with Intel. 

Upgrading your data center hardware and software can be a daunting proposition. It’s expensive, complex, and it can be difficult to measure the returns on your investment, both in terms of performance and improvements and actual ROI.

But you have to do it, don’t you? So, you may as well figure out what strategy is best for you and how to get the best possible results. A good place to start is by defining the requirements of your upgrade as it relates to your specific business objectives.

If your data center is like most, you’re faced with rapidly-evolving demands for scaling interconnected platform assets with maximum bang for your back. So, when you’re upgrading it makes sense to look for assets that work well together, and are comparatively easy to install and support. Something that helps you make a solid business argument for the upgrades is desirable, too.

Benefits of upgrading

A typical data center upgrade means replacing core assets, including processors, drives, network cards, and ideally, the operating system. The benefits are multiple.

The increase in VM density is important because each server you operate represents another management endpoint, another maintenance outlay, additional software licensing and more power consumption. So, by increasing the number of VMs, you reduce the number of physical servers required and save on all that other stuff.

But to really optimize your investment in data center assets and increase overall performance, your drives and network connection speed should be upgraded simultaneously, and with components ideally suited for interoperability.

Benefits of all-at-once

The value propositions of acquiring disparate data center assets as a package, or all-at-once, include better interoperability, ease of integration, simplified management scenarios, and more robust data protection.

Bundled asset acquisition also means simplified networking, thereby lowering your total cost of ownership. Net-net, it’s just an easier way to upgrade network performance and ensure your data center’s future agility to meet the demands of a virtualized, software-defined data center, which is what most of us are trying to build, right?

This upgrade strategy also means less time spent configuring testing and tuning new components, and certainty that your platform-connected assets are optimized to help you get to ROI sooner. Plus, a one-time investment of dollars, time, and energy to upgrade your data center assets — including the costs of an RFP, negotiation, installation and training — are likely to be lower when absorbed on a strategically co-ordinated basis, than ad hoc throughout your asset lifecycle.

Principled Technologies: Case in point

First, they measured the performance of an existing data center configuration that used Intel Xeon ES-2670 v2 processors in combination with an older Microsoft Windows Server. Once they had performance metrics in hand, Principled Technologies upgraded the configuration to Intel Xeon E5-2699 v3 processors and the Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system.

At the same time, they upgraded other, typical components including the drive (Intel SSD DC S3700 series) and adapters (Intel Ethernet CAN x520 Series).

So what kind of results did this yield? About 67 percent more VMs, for starters

Remember the impact of increasing VMs: fewer servers, less maintenance, reduced cost of software licensing and less power consumption – all while increasing performance. By changing out a handful of assets with modern components that were built to play nice together, Principled Technologies demonstrated that upgrades and intelligent asset bundling can be an effective way to squeeze more out of your data center investment.

The value propositions for upgrading are apparent. Take a look at your configuration, see what’s aging, losing performance or interoperability, and what features you’re missing out on, then get some consultation to understand how basic upgrades to your server, OS, and adapters could significantly impact your data center’s efficiency and profitability.

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