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How to Develop a Successful Data Center Consolidation

Data Center Consolidation

The rapid pace of data creation today is impressive. Organizations generate data constantly, and invest them in servers to store this growing information. As data accumulates faster than expected, these servers quickly become insufficient, necessitating investment in additional servers. Alternatively, companies may connect to data centers designed to handle larger volumes of information.

However, data creation never truly slows down. When organizations analyze their data extensively, the analysis itself generates even more data. Eventually, a single data center may become inadequate, compelling companies to utilize multiple data centers. Sometimes, different departments may choose separate data centers for specific workloads, contrary to best practices.

Storing information in various physical locations leads to inefficiencies, such as server sprawl. These inefficiencies can be addressed through a streamlined data storage process that keeps data organized within a logical framework. This is why an effective data center consolidation strategy is essential for companies.

The Goals of Data Center Consolidation

Before exploring the steps involved in data center consolidation, it’s important to understand why businesses undertake this process.

The primary reason is to enhance efficiency within their data centers. Consolidating multiple hardware and software resources allows organizations to lower energy costs, streamline management, and often reduce their cybersecurity attack surface.

While businesses may have different specific goals for consolidation, the overarching objectives typically include saving money, increasing operational efficiency, and mitigating risk.

Six Steps for Crafting a Data Center Consolidation Strategy

A typical data center consolidation process involves the following steps:

Step 1: Inventory Data Holdings

The first step in any data center consolidation project is evaluating your data assets and determining which data center facilities should house them. This requires precision and thoroughness due to the vast amount of data most organizations manage.

Step 2: Define Data Centers

Before initiating a data center migration, define the physical parameters of the data center(s). This includes studying the real estate involved, geographic aspects (such as physical size and available space), and electrical needs like cabling, bandwidth, connectivity, and power supply.

Step 3: Map the Workload 

 Next, map out the organization’s software and hardware configurations to assess resources and usage effectively. Identify what is working well and what is not. A well-defined discovery and dependency map aids this process, and techniques like virtualization can help redistribute workloads to ensure more efficient use of resources.

Step 4: Assemble the Team

Data center consolidation projects are significant undertakings that impact all departments within an organization. Therefore, they must be led by skilled project managers. Additionally, estimate the costs of various technical upgrades (like cloud migration) before finalizing the procurement budget.

Step 5: Design the Plan

 With a comprehensive view of data assets and a clear idea of the new data storage system’s functionality, IT architects can develop the final consolidation design. Once thoroughly vetted, the plan can be implemented.

Step 6: Test and Confirm

After achieving a post-consolidation environment, thoroughly test and confirm the stability of the new data center infrastructure. This involves checking all system components to ensure the IT infrastructure is stable and functional.

Conclusion

Data center consolidation is a complex process without a one-size-fits-all solution. However, every organization should begin by identifying the assets it operates within data centers and determining how to make them more efficient. Additionally, it is crucial to ensure sufficient energy resources are available to support consolidated workloads and to implement monitoring and measurement systems to assess the impact of these workloads post-consolidation, identifying any shortcomings.

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