"Data center consolidation is an increasingly dominant force in the industry, and its trickle-down effects will have widespread impact oncloud infrastructure and virtual data centers. The Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative is perhaps the most widely known and largest effort to trim the data center fat, but companies in other sectors are increasingly seeing the virtues of making their physical footprints smaller. However, it does not mean companies are downsizing their overall investment in data centers. Rather, they're leveraging new technologies and innovations to increase the value of the space they already have. Could consolidation be the next big data center solution?
The Advantages of Data Center Consolidation
One of the chief expectations that companies have when they enter a data center consolidation project is cost savings. As IT takes up a larger percentage of businesses not directly involved in data centers and grows increasingly complex for those that have more of a hold, investing in technologies and platforms that will save money and increase scalable potential is a top 2014 priority. According to a recent survey by TechTarget, 38 percent of IT professionals stated that they expected to consolidate their enterprise data centers in some way or another next year. In some cases, it's because the low-hanging fruit costs have been corrected - data center cooling systems, power usage and disaster recovery are all much better than they were five years ago. Now, IT personnel have seen their system-wide cost-savings stagnate, and are looking to cloud infrastructure and virtualization as ways to reenergize their savings potential.
""[Data center consolidation] is also a useful project for all IT groups because anything that cuts the costs of operating and maintaining existing systems allows more of the budget to be applied to implementing new systems that innovate or deliver additional value to the overall business/organization,"" stated Gartner analyst Carl Claunch.
The Potential Pitfalls of Consolidation
Although data center consolidation can be a capital-saving opportunity, it's important that companies don't rush into the project. The federal initiative to shrink its number of data centers substantially in an effort to recoup more than $1 billion in spending has seen only 946 facilities close amidst a variety of complicating factors, according to The Washington Post. Migrating legacy applications and databases is one source of operational slowness, and the difficulty in assembling infrastructure to support denser, high-performing serverenvironments is also a challenge. Optimizing wide area network connections and internal networks via virtualization will be critical to the successful consolidation project, but organizations might need to take a step back before they start racing forward."