Right this minute your data center(s) are broken. You, monitoring systems or NOC may or may not know it. All of the blinky lights may be green, all systems reporting normal, but the data center is broken, and it’s costing you money and business agility.
It takes you, weeks or months to bring new services online. Those services have justifiable business needs. When those services are approved; capacity must be measured, hardware must be purchased, systems must be installed and configured. Your systems run inefficiently, racks were purchased for legacy equipment, power distribution was designed for previous systems, change happened faster than expected. Your data center is Frankenstein: piecemealed together over years of growth and break fix, held together with Band-Aids.
You are the 99%, your data center is broken and that’s no way to run a business. You can’t fix this by adding process alone, nor technology in a vacuum. That’s how you got to where you are. You need a total rethinking of the way you operate IT. The industry has thrown terms at this for years: SOA, ITaaS, now cloud. The difference is that now the technology and process maturity have intersected with business need, it’s the perfect storm of IT advancement.
The next evolution of IT operational efficiency, of non-broken IT, is cloud. Your business or mission needs a flexible pool of compute resources that can deploy new services and applications on demand. You need an infrastructure that supports your business units at the speed they can innovate. You need an IT department that moves from ‘We can’t’ to ‘We can.’ IT, after all, is there to support the business.
You can of course ignore this need, pretend it’s not there. That’s easy enough, just tell your users ‘no’, ‘it can’t be done’ or ‘it’s not supported.’ This works for a while, until your users realize they can go outside the realm of corporate IT for their needs. Need to share files more efficiently than email? Hello Dropbox! Need to collaborate in real time on documents? Google Docs to the rescue!
Now your corporate data is stored with various public providers outside your visibility or control. It’s not just a couple, each department picked their favorite solution to each business problem you could solve. Yes, maybe these employees are violating some fine print in a new employee manual or IT compliance agreement, but does that hold any weight?
Now that your data is out there and the revenue-creating workforce is using it in that fashion, how easy will it be to reign it back in? Even if you offer an equal solution in house, how will you consolidate all the data and ensure it’s been scrubbed from all of the public providers it’s been housed with? Once you’ve opened Pandora’s box, it’s really hard to close it.
If you are part of the 99%, your IT strategy is broken. It’s no fault of yours it’s the cards we’ve all been dealt. We had to grow IT fast, with shoe-string budgets. We’ve had to spend more time maintaining then innovating, fixing then building.
Now is the time to take IT by the horns to rebuild it the right way. Picture starting from scratch with a realistic budget and imagine how you’d build today. That should be your end goal. Don’t leave anything out, everything inside your data center walls factors in: UPS, generator, racks, cables, wiring plants, PDUs. Focus on those things you can change and look at the end goal. Lastly, plan for growth.
This post is not intended as an endorsement for any of the vendors/products mentioned. All companies are used for example purposes only.
Joe Onisick is the founder of Define the Cloud and a principal engineer for Cisco's INSBU. Onisick has 17 years of IT experience spanning a broad range of disciplines, starting with server and network administration. From 2000-2005, Onisick was a US Marine, where he served in ... View Full Bio