A data center is among the most complex pieces of IT architecture an enterprise can have, and simplifying it can do wonders for saving money and resources.
For smaller and particularly newer companies, the cost benefits of the cloud are fairly obvious. But for companies that have been around longer, that have gone through acquisitions, or that have regional headquarters with multiple data center locations, data center consolidation benefits outweigh the upfront cost and planning involved.
If you've been considering data center consolidation but need some concrete reasons to pass around the company, here are the top three areas where you'll benefit:
This one is a no-brainer. Consolidating your data center means smaller hardware infrastructure, which means savings in operations overhead over time. It goes beyond operational savings into the less instinctive and obvious, however.
"The real benefits of the cloud are slightly different than we originally predicted; they are less about pure cost efficiency, and more about speeding up time to market (aka agility). Every CIO and IT decision maker should be thinking about how they can use Cloud and hosting to accelerate time to market, which means turning IT from a cost center into a revenue center." Toby Owen, Peer 1 Hosting
There are any number of reasons your enterprise could be operating more data centers than necessary: a large company acquisition might make it easier to leave essential but ultimately redundant systems in place than to update them all at once, for example. But over time the costs only expand, especially when you add outdated legacy systems to the equation. The federal data center consolidation has saved 2.8 billion already, with 5,203 planned data center closures by 2019.
If you're building a consolidation strategy but not sure about making the leap to the cloud, you don't have to go full-cloud to see benefits: a fully updated, state of the art data center that has undergone consolidation drives down staffing costs.
Here's another no-brainer. Would it be easier to guard a room with 1 door, or 100? It's simpler to patrol perimeters that aren't far flung and spread out, and to limit the entry and exit points. Security is (or should be) at the forefront of every CIO's mind, especially with malware attacks taking headlines the past few years. Consolidating your data center is an easy way to increase security power. Having one data center with updated systems, instead of multiple, spread out locations with outdated legacy systems, ensures fewer points of exit and entry and an easier time detecting threats.
If your consolidation involves moving data to the cloud, you may have security concerns. There is a common misconception that the cloud is less secure than a physical data center, and it's easy to see why—if you aren't hosting your own data in a physical space, you may feel less in control, and less, well, secure. That instinct is not necessarily correct, however, and the only evidence necessary is a look at the same headlines mentioned earlier—control does not equal security.
As Vivek Kundra, the former Federal CIO, put it, "Cloud computing is often far more secure than traditional computing, because companies like Google and Amazon can attract and retain cyber-security personnel of a higher quality than many governmental agencies."
Either way, your data center is the gateway to your cloud data, and your cloud security is only as good as your data center security. However much cloud plays a role in your consolidation, it pays to keep that data center updated and well maintained.
This one might not be as intuitive as the first two, but it still makes sense. Consolidation allows for future scalability and flexibility. When you organize your business critical resources into one place, it makes it much easier to find what needs to be made redundant, in case of outage or even ransomware attack. Streamlining your data center simplifies auditing, and it also vastly simplifies ensuring compliance: by operating local cloud storage instead of one bulk center, global companies that operate within countries with strict local data laws can ensure that data does not leave the country.
Who knew that getting rid of extra junk would give you greater control?
There are good reasons for a company to have a large data center: DropBox, for example, recently bucked trends and opened a large data center, moving away from their previous use of AWS and cloud computing. Considering storage is their bread and butter, it's an understandable move. But most other business are moving in the opposite direction. Oracle co-chief executive Mark Hurd was quoted that he expects 80% of corporate data centers to disappear by 2025.
So there you go: There are legitimate reasons to have a large physical data center, but there are no legitimate reasons to have an unconsolidated data center.
Ready to make it happen? This white paper, Take Control of Your Data Center Migration & Consolidation Efforts with ExtraHop, has all the tips and strategies you need for a seamless migration and fast return on investment. Onward!