Updated on 23 September 2010
In IT Next’s February survey, IT managers ranked data centre transformation as the third most important trend for 2010. But more significantly, they ranked it No. 1 on the utility parameter.
So when it comes to the utility value, IT managers prioritise data centre transformation even over security, which incidentally ranked No. 1 on an overall basis.
That is not without reason. Data centre transformation has become a necessary primary step to support the dynamic IT needs of today’s increasingly 2.0 organisations. In fact, many IT managers would have long kick-started this transformation and pushed it through, but for the sudden onslaught of slowdown that pushed it off their priority lists, for economic considerations known to all.
Also, the silo characteristics of IT organisations—courtesy an unavoidable fallback of the IT evolution process—make it difficult for IT managers to align IT seamlessly to business needs.
Indeed, many data centres still exemplify an air-conditioned quagmire, or in better instances, a warehouse of IT boxes. This range from servers, switches, and of course, intertwined bundles of patch cords. Often, proprietary clusters of solutions are housed, aimed at serving specific requirements of specific departments.
By virtue of their being, these clusters in the data centre still champion the cause of Enterprise 1.0 characteristics, increasingly less relevant in the 2.0 era.
An immediate question that comes to mind is while talking about data centre transformation is why 3.x, particularly when enterprises are yet to fully transform into 2.0 entities. While there can be multiple answers to the question, the simplest one will be that a 3.0 data centre will provide a necessary foundation on which a 2.0 enterprise can be built.
Data centre vendors started propagating the transformation to a 3.0 set-up about three years ago, and now that sure signs of an economic rebound have been evidenced, IT managers can very well paddle up the transformation process. Meanwhile, the key elements of transformation have undergone continuous refinement and evolution and hence the term 3.x.
So let’s first look at some of the key elements of data centre (DC) transformation.
Unified architecture: No silo please
This is the first and foremost part of an effective transformation story, as a DC transformation is essentially about moving on to a next-generation networking and computing environment that enables and fosters convergence of different network views and hues.
For such converged view to become a reality, it is important that there is a unified fabric in place that brings in an effective consolidation among diverse network environments such as the Ethernet, InfiniBand, Fibre Channel and iSCSI.
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