Maintaining IT Agility Even in the Data Center

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      Keeping your IT department lean and agile is a primary focus for many managers these days. But the data center—a critical component of your IT organization and the foundation for the rest of your IT stack—isn’t exactly what you would call “agile”, at least not traditionally.

      Data centers are, after all, brick and mortar (or concrete and steel) buildings filled with highly engineered power systems, thousands of pounds of servers and equipment, and plenty of supporting infrastructure. All of these components take time to design and implement. But the modern data center can indeed support and even enhance IT agility.

      Software-Defined Agility

      Data center software and management tools are rapidly being developed and refined, leading to some major efficiency gains and easy to configure, automated scaling tools.

      The software layer allows IT to stop individually setting up servers or applications, enabling true agility as machines can easily be scaled from a pool of compute, network, and storage resources.

      Physical Scalability

      Careful data center design allows the facility to grow along with IT. That means reserving room to expand networks, physical space, storage, other components like cooling, and most of all, power. As data centers get more dense, power requirements will only increase.

      You can save space or build a facility specifically with modularity in mind by segmenting different rooms into data center suites, each with its own attached cooling and backup power systems. That way it’s simple to drop in another couple of generators, an adjoining UPS room, a cooling unit or two, and ramp up a new batch of racks in a relatively short time. Thinking modularly from the beginning will help you expand with less hitches along the way.

      Direct Connections to Exchanges and Providers

      A custom data center provider or wholesale facility can connect you to dozens of fiber providers, and established data centers often have meet-me-rooms and/or internet exchanges with access to many different ISPs.

      Additionally, if you’re in a wholesale or even a smaller scale colocation facility, other tenants may be managed service providers offering cloud and other services, making it simple to add and remove additional IT enhancements where and when you need them. Looking for a quick cloud burst for a one-off processing job? Contract it out to your data center neighbor and then power down when you’re done.

      By streamlining your IT operations, development, and support teams under a DevOps and/or agile mentality, you can begin to manage a more efficient team. Once everyone is involved in provisioning and management of IT components rather than their individual roles, you need a data center than can scale alongside them.