In an industry where technology development and advancement moves incredibly fast, even top CIOs may feel like it’s impossible to keep up. While they may feel like their organization is falling behind, how do they determine whether they really are? What counts as “up to date” in our constantly evolving IT landscape, and is that even good enough? It’s easy to let Data Centers get out of control, and unfortunately it’s a risky business to do so. We’ve compiled the five top signs that your Data Center needs some investment to help cut through the confusion. See one or a few things that sound eerily familiar on this list? It may be time for a Data Center upgrade.
Five Signs Your Data Center Needs an Upgrade
- Your data center feels like a desert. If you’re carrying around a personal fan while walking through your Data Center, you’re definitely losing the Data Center cooling battle. Some recommend looking at a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis to assist in cooling system arrangements, and hot and cold aisle containment. If your Data Center continuously suffers from heat stroke, it’s probably not operating to the highest capacity possible.
- You skipped spring-cleaning the last 10 years. While it’s easy to let gear pile up, it’s vital to complete some fundamental analysis when it comes to the hardware in your Data Center. Equipment that no longer adds value, or is simply not being used should be thrown away or donated to a non-profit organization like a school for example. Discarding old equipment can have countless benefits including increased power capacity and clearing valuable space.
- Your server lifecycle was up three cycles ago. There are multiple reasons why a server lifecycle may come to a close. Because server lifecycles can vary greatly, deciphering that usable life can be confusing based on legacy applications and operating systems. We follow a general rule of thumb that if the server can no longer meet your required needs after 3 years, replacement or an alternative solution will likely make sense over simple upgrades. Replacing old servers, or incorporating innovative technologies like virtualization, cloud-based services, and converged infrastructure can help consolidate and optimize the Data Center. In turn, consolidating the Data Center can reduce cabling, management, heating, cooling and ongoing maintenance costs.
- Your cabling looks like a rat’s nest. Cabling can easily consume a Data Center if it’s not managed properly. If you’re not labeling, tying down and properly organizing your Data Center cabling, you need a serious revamp of this vital part of the Data Center. This type of disorganization can even lead to human error that can cause downtime to business-critical applications. If a wrongly placed elbow could take your retail business offline for multiple days, it’s time to rethink your cabling strategy. In addition to organization, converged technologies can greatly decrease the cabling in your Data Center.
- People are walking around your data center and you don’t know who they are. If you’re finding strangers meandering through your Data Center, it’s probably time to consider the physical security and current measures in place to protect your valuable applications and data. While you may not need a full-time guard dog, your organization may consider implementing key card access, security cameras and a sign in, sign out process with regular audits. Keep in mind, the biggest threat can often come from within your organization, so checks and balances are critical. Moving your infrastructure services to the Cloud or colocation facilities can allow you to leverage enterprise-class security and controls without massive capital investment upfront.
Even with the tips above, determining when and how to update your Data Center can be a difficult decision. It’s often a good idea to bring in a third party for a Data Center assessment consultation to make sure you’re receiving unbiased feedback. Taking the time to properly assess your current Data Center infrastructure and plan an integrative upgrade will help deter hasty decisions, and ultimately save critical capital.