The Modernization Era: Data Centers Getting Upgrade Fever

25 Feb 2014 by Technology

"Emerging technologies and the drive to make data centers more agile than ever are combining to form a whirlwind of activity in the industry. A recent survey from QuinStreet Enterprise found that 88 percent of companies plan to invest in their data centers, driven by the belief that modernization will pay enormous productivity and profitability dividends. The introduction of virtualization, software-defined networking, commodity servers, energy-efficient support systems and network management tools are just some of the technologies that could spell significant progress in data center performance and decrease operating expenditures.

The laundry list of technologies that have the potential to improve the data center also highlights the diversity of goals enterprises are striving toward through their data center investments. Because priorities are so different, there is no longer a singular timetable for results. Modernization is thus a work in progress, with respondents acknowledging wide degrees of success. Of the respondents, 26 percent stated that their data centers are ""a work in progress,"" 25 percent stated that their facilities are ""in the process of being modernized"" and 27 percent said that their data centers were simply ""upgraded."" This might be a case of different names for the same thing.

The most commonly listed perceived benefits of data center modernization included enhanced security, improved uptime and better usage of IT resources, indicating that many companies view an upgrade as providing multiple advantages. This may lead to some wholesale facility revamping, as well as the phasing out of an array of legacy technologies and system components.

Roadblocks to Modernization
While all roads may lead to the sleek, upgraded data center, it doesn't mean that there aren't some hiccups along the way. Of the potential challenges to data center modernization, security and compliance issues, insufficient budgets, plodding backup recovery and power/cooling costs were all seen as hazards along the way by more than 40 percent of survey respondents. Desire to address multiple issues is leading to investment in technologies that can tackle more than one obstacle at once.

Virtualization may be the first key investment for data center operators' multifaceted needs. According to Midsize Insider, server virtualization is a good first step because it can improve data transfer speeds, server utilization and energy costs in one fell swoop. Without being costly or time-consuming process itself, virtualization reduces the time and resources needed to keep servers running, streamlining IT and network management in the process. As data center requirements accelerate at a fever pitch, technologies and practices that can effectively respond to several long-standing issues simultaneously will be key to a productive modernization effort."

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