ITAM Considerations for the Evolving Data CenterValue Optimization
Traditional data centers are physical facilities that house an organization’s IT operations and equipment. Routers, networking switches, security devices, storage systems, servers, environmental controls, and redundant power systems all play a role.
Advances in cloud computing have allowed traditional data centers to evolve into hybrids that combine both physical and virtual infrastructures. Much of the equipment remains the same, but the cloud helps companies rapidly scale their infrastructure to meet the ever-increasing IT needs of their staff. Under this hybrid model, both the role and composition of the data center has changed. To continue to meet the needs of your organization, you must understand how the various components of your data center are evolving and follow ITAM (IT Asset Management) best practices.
The evolving data center and its impact on IT infrastructure
IT performance requirements continue to skyrocket. It is important to understand how each of the major components of your data center — servers, storage, and networking — are evolving and how those changes impact your IT infrastructure:
Increased server bandwidth. Server technology is rapidly evolving to keep up with computing performance requirements. While 8 Gbps may be sufficient for some companies, many are looking for increased bandwidth. And bandwidth requirements are expected to continue to grow. As bandwidth increases, it may become necessary to upgrade existing connectors and make changes to rack architecture to accommodate thermal constraints.
Scalable data storage. According to Dataconomy, the number of smartphones, computers, tablets and other devices connected to the Internet is expected to grow to more than 30 million and generate an estimated 44 trillion gigabytes of data by 2020. That data must be stored in a secure environment where it can be accessed quickly. Storage architecture must be designed to scale with your organizations ever-changing needs. Storage technology will continue to evolve, increasing capacity, retrieval speed and security.
Agile networking. Networking hardware costs used to limit a company’s ability to connect data centers to one another. Lower costs and higher speed connections are making data centers more accessible and affordable to a larger number of companies than ever before. But packet loss and network latency can still have a negative impact on data center performance. As such, any issues must be monitored and addressed quickly to avoid disrupting your company’s operations.
The critical role of IT Asset Management
As your data center continues to evolve, it is increasingly important to follow ITAM best practices and to track every IT asset through the lifecycle of acquisition, maintenance, and redeployment or disposal. To be truly effective, an asset management plan must include all assets — whether they are currently in use or not. The benefits of good ITAM practices go beyond improving IT security and compliance:
Efficient use of IT assets. When you have a complete inventory of your IT assets, you know what your organization has at its disposal and can redeploy or divest those assets not currently in use.
Financial accountability. ITAM helps you accurately forecast the costs affiliated with your data center by maintaining a complete financial accounting of IT asset spending. Further, it allows you to find cost-savings opportunities by identifying commonly used (and frequently underused) IT assets. Over time, ITAM allows you to better identify the best time to divest specific assets to recover as much of their value as possible.
Improved data center management. As your data center continues to evolve, good ITAM practices will help you with project planning. Not only does it make it easier to identify critical dependencies, but it allows you to capture institutional knowledge from colleagues who have interacted with specific brands, vendors or configurations.
There is no doubt that data center models are moving towards a hybrid approach. This has an immediate impact on your IT infrastructure and necessitates an even greater focus on good ITAM practices. Working with a good ITAD partner should be a part of that effort. An ITAD service provider can help you navigate through the evolving data center landscape and assist with the entire lifecycle of your IT assets, from acquisition to disposal.