The Lost Art of the Data Center

    Fortunately for most, IT organizations don’t go about building a new data center every day, which is a good thing because not many have the core competency required to do so.

    But interest in new data centers, despite the state of the economy, is rising because of two core issues. The first is that many IT organizations are looking to consolidate data centers. Alas, in order to do that they usually have to expand at least one of their data center facilities, which more often than not results in new construction.

    The second major trend driving interest in new data centers is the combination of virtualization and cloud computing. Once IT organizations start heading down the path of building their own private cloud computing platform, it’s not too long before they run into server density and power consumption issues. Depending on their particular requirements, they may opt to remodel an existing data center or build one in some remote location that has access to inexpensive power.

    In any of these scenarios, building out a new data center is a complex undertaking, which is one reason we now see companies such as Hewlett-Packard now launching dedicated data center construction consulting practices. According to Larry Hinman, director/strategist and worldwide practice leader for critical facilities consulting, HP wants to serve as the primary contractor that coordinates all the IT and facility issues on behalf of customers that fundamentally have no expertise in managing the building of a modern data center.

    In fact, arguably it’s this lack of expertise that is driving so many companies to investigate public cloud computing services that are typically hosted in modern data center environments complete with the staff trained to manage those environments.

    However enterprise IT evolves in the next few years, chances are that most data centers in use today are basically obsolete. So the question that most IT organizations are going to need to figure out in the months ahead is how to gain access to a modern data center facility. Whether that’s via a public cloud service or building their own, the fundamental equation still comes down to spending money now to save even more later.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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