At the start of each New Year, many organisations review their operations and ensure everything is well planned for the 12 months ahead. Such reviews examine everything from staffing levels and office space to information technology infrastructure.
Increasingly, IT reviews are including a long, hard look at the corporate data centre. Often designed and built years ago, it’s easy for them to be forgotten – overshadowed by more visible, day-to-day challenges.
Yet ensuring your data centre can keep up with growing and evolving business demands is critical. Anything that restricts the ability to run mission-critical applications and securely store corporate data can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line.
A key concern is that many data centres were not designed to support the computing workloads of the 21st century. Increasing use of virtualisation means servers are typically running at much higher utilisation levels than they were just a few years ago.
Application performance expectations have also changed. Where users were once content with long batch processing windows and system downtime, now 24×7 access is regarded as the norm. Add rapidly emerging trends such as the Internet of Things and the strain becomes even more acute. As a result, server infrastructure is becoming denser and putting pressure on power resources and cooling systems.
According to analyst firm IDC around 20 per cent of all data centres in the Asia-Pacific region are more than eight years old and not ready to handle modern computing demands. As a result, organisations face the choice of funding an upgrade of their existing data centre, building a new one, or shifting IT resources to a third-party facility.
Although upgrading an existing data centre may seem attractive, the associated costs are not. Retrofitting enhanced power and cooling capacities is expensive and can disrupt daily functions. Also, extra space may not be readily available in the current location.
Building a new data centre is possible, however, organisations need to be sure they ‘future proof’ it to ensure it can continue to meet demands well into the future. This can mean building (and paying) for far more capacity than is currently needed to support operations.
A viable option is to take advantage of an external, purpose-built and managed data centre. In this way, the need for a large capex investment is removed and space and power can be scaled as future demands grow.
The data centre space can also be customised to meet specific requirements. Raised floors can be installed to suit particular server racks and networking gear, thus ensuring a perfect match for each client.
These purpose built facilities have also been designed to be energy efficient, resulting in lower opex costs. The electrical and cooling equipment is constantly maintained and upgraded to keep up with modern applications, users, and workloads. In fact, the global data centre rack server market is expected to grow to an estimated US$40.25 billion by 2019, driven by demand for reliable and efficient storage and processing of data.
Many storage vendors have evolved their solutions to provide more efficient systems capable of supporting these new IT and business demands. Subsequently, data centres must also continue to evolve at a rapid pace to ensure they can provide the support required by growing organisations. Making use of a purpose built and professionally managed facility will ensure you remain ahead of this curve.
About the author
Shaun Woodhouse is the Sales Director, Asia Pacific for Digital Realty and is responsible for overseeing the company’s commercial development in the region. Shaun has over 18 years of data centre design and infrastructure experience across Asia Pacific, Africa and Europe.