Planning Your Data Center Strategy

Enterprises looking to revamp their strategies around data center optimization and utilization face the initial decision of whether to build from scratch or to retool their existing systems.

Creating a new data center from scratch allows an organization to plan for the greatest amount of customization. However, the significant investment in time, construction, hardware and support is prohibitive for many enterprises. Reconfiguring an existing data center is efficient and cost-effective, but it cannot always fully address an enterprise’s requirements.

See also: Extreme Makeover for Data Centers

After an enterprise decides on an initial “build or retool” approach for its data center, management must determine whether to keep the data center in-house or to outsource it to a hosting company. Businesses can choose to keep all processes in-house, thereby exercising total control and decision making on construction, implementation and maintenance.

The outsourcing model (commonly called cloud computing) reduces data center costs, much of which are attributed to the resources needed to run the data center on an ongoing basis, particularly when it comes to high-end technology expertise. This model also allows businesses to pay only for the CPU cycles needed on a per-user/per-month basis.

Before partnering with a hosted data center, enterprises should ask the cloud provider the following questions:
• Can you demonstrate a high level of security?
• What level of throughput can you provide?
• How quickly can you provision new bandwidth?
• Can you guarantee connectivity?
• What is your failover plan?