October 14, 2012, 9:46 PM — This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.
Organizations struggling to modernize operations and control expenditures often consider moving to converged data center operations, and they key to avoiding mistakes along the way is doing a comprehensive data center infrastructure assessment upfront.
"Where should we start? What strategy is best? How much will it cost? How long will it take?" Every organization must confront these questions and the assessment process provides the answers. The assessment includes eight steps and is designed to lead to a fully modernized and consolidated data center, while avoiding the unnecessary mistakes that can delay and infringe upon the project.
ANALYSIS: Four trends shape the New Data Center
Step 1 -- Define the purpose and goals
In this step, it is important to work with all the key stakeholders in the project. In some organizations, this may mean working with business units outside a geographic region or country. Clearly define what the high-level goal(s) of the modernization project are and what the end result of a completed project should look like. Be sure to consider all technology enablers that may assist in solving key problem areas. For instance, determine if applications or services can be outsourced, cloud-based or eliminated altogether. In other words, take this time to clean house. Migrate older servers and operating systems to virtualized platforms redundantly attached to external Fibre Channel or iSCSI storage. Be sure to also consider desktop and application virtualization, as well as the physical assets located inside the data center. Moving to virtual desktops (thin clients), consolidating applications, or moving to a SaaS topology can also provide substantial cost savings.
Step 2 -- Conduct an equipment inventory and measurements of your existing data centers