Archive by Author

Moving your datacenter?

30 Aug

I recently moved residences, and since my current project is a Data Center Relocation, I thought I would compare the two moves.  Relocation is one of the largest projects a person or business can undertake. It’s disruptive, but with careful planning, it can be the biggest event a business undertakes that most people never know about.  Relocation of a home or a data center requires planning (more than you think you need to do),  communications,  relocation of services, migration execution, and follow-up.

Planning:  Step 1: Identify Need

There has to be a reason you do this, and it better be good.  I’ve moved several times in my life, and other than the anticipation of getting to school, or the move in to the first real house that I owned, I never have enjoyed it.  There is an overwhelming amount of work that needs to be done in order for it to be done right. Yet, it’s done every day!

In the case of my move, my lease was going to expiring.  My kids and I were living in a 900 square foot duplex: 3 bedroom and the bathroom downstairs; and one large room upstairs divided into the kitchen, dining area, and the rest set aside for TV, couch, desk, etc .  If it was just me, it would have been fine; for 4 of us, with books and Legos and Polly Pockets and work and homework and the need as humans to s p r e a d  o u t so we were not rightontopofeachother drove the need to find a different place to live.

Such is the same for a business relocating their data center.  Is your data center location lease  coming due and the new terms aren’t acceptable? Maybe your business is growing and you are out of space in the data center, and/or have no additional power and/or cooling capacity left?  Has your business decided that owning and maintaining a data center just isn’t one of the core competencies that they support?  While our economy relies on technology, many businesses have made strategic decisions to selectively outsource elements of their IT operations, which includes data center operations.  There is a tremendous amount of work involved in maintaining a data center, and for many, the easier decision is to contract for those services.

There is a considerable amount of work required simply in identifying the need, and careful analysis of alternatives is required.  In my case, the advantages of staying where I was were outweighed by the identified need to have some additional space for the 4 of us.  I couldn’t virtualize and consolidate kids like I can with servers and network and storage!  While we could reduce the amount of stuff we have, the fact is that the kids are growing, and for our collective mental health, moving was something that was going to have to happen.

Are you constrained in your data center by space, power and/or cooling? Do you need room to grow your IT footprint so that you can support the business?

Cloud Skills

18 Jan

The cloud has emerged. Visionary companies identified early on how they were going to exploit the power and agility that the cloud offered. Others have been more cautious in moving to the cloud. Both types (and all in between) are right; there is a lot to consider when moving services to the cloud. As the economic cases become clearer, as well as other issues (data security, identity management), more companies will be moving services into the cloud.

In addition to the economic and security cases, IT executives need to identify the skills their staff require to enable the success of the business when IT services are provided by the cloud. Dan Sullivan highlights a few of these in “The Evolution — Not Revolution — of IT Skills for The Cloud” (registration required).

Additionally, companies want to have strong skills in:

  • Vendor Management – development and enforcement of contracts and SLAs established with cloud vendors
  • Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity – clear, tested plans for restoring business services in the event of primary data center failure, and trained people to execute the plans
  • Release Management – Coordination of hardware and/or software releases within a company, and also considering business initiatives to reduce complexity of a release

Sending IT Services to the cloud does not mean everything will be seamless and smooth and always available (in the last 13 months, Amazon has had 5 service outages). Before moving out of a data center to the cloud, we need to think outside of our cubes about the impact of cloud-based data centers and develop the skill sets in our teams to ensure that when we do, we are able to support the business.