The data center of today looks very different than it did five years ago—but probably not that different from it will look like five years from now. To determine where you and your client are are on the path to the modern data center, here are 10 questions you need to ask.
1. Which business outcomes are priorities for your company? One of the keys to assessing your data center’s ability to fully support the business is to determine which business outcomes are most important.
2. What is your long-term vision for the software-defined data center, and how far do you need to go to close the gap? A software-defined data center will provide companies with the kind of speed and agility required to respond to rapid changes in the market and to proactively develop strategic new products and services based on data analysis.
3. What percentage of your compute have you virtualized? Server virtualization enables companies to cut capital and operating costs and increase IT service delivery without being locked into limited choices of OSes, applications and hardware. The greater percentage of your systems that are virtualized, the more lean and agile the company will be.
4. Have you virtualized your network? While you likely have virtualized some percentage of your company’s compute, you may not have implemented network virtualization. Network virtualization replicates the components of network and security services in a software container, enabling companies to provision and manage the network, independent of hardware — in minutes, rather than days or weeks. Network virtualization provides major advances in simplicity, speed, agility, and security by automating and simplifying many of the processes that go into running a data center network.
5. What percentage of your network is hyper-converged infrastructure? With HCI, companies can extend virtualization to the third leg of the data center stool –-storage -- with a building block approach. This enables companies to efficiently meet the business needs of today while positioning them to quickly and efficiently scale to meet future needs.
6. Which internal IT processes have you or are you thinking about implementing? Of course, the modern data center is as much about processes as it is about products. Companies on the right data center path are ready to implement, among other processes, automatic provisioning of IT resources, maintenance and system upgrades; deployment of a service catalog or portal that supports self service; and standardization of service offerings.
7. How long does it take to provision a production-ready infrastructure? Can you do it in a month? A week? A matter of hours? The answer to this question goes a long way towards determining the modernity of your data center.
8. Do you use a single tool that automates the provisioning of resources? Companies using multiple tools and manual processes for provisioning resources are slow to respond to market changes. This puts them at a distinct competitive disadvantage.
9. Have you built a private cloud with a self-service catalog and portal? Companies today must be able to respond to changing business needs in real-time, which requires that developers and IT professionals must be able to quickly and easily (and of their own volition) get access to the resources and capacity they need to build the applications and services the market demands.
10. In which environments are the majority of your company’s applications running? One of the most important things companies need to consider to determine whether they are on the right data center path is what applications are running where—on premise, in the cloud or in some hybrid environment--and whether they would make more sense on another platform.
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