FOCUS on MODULARITY
How standardization helps modularity
The benefits of standardization in the data center are clear when it comes to modularity. Akber Jaffer, general manager of Colt Data Center Services, explains why
Organizations are heavily reliant on their data, and never before has data been more important, more usable and more critical. Unfortunately, in some cases, it has also become more complex, more tied into bespoke systems and more of a hindrance.
The data center should be a vat of information – an easily accessible pool of sales leads, contacts and important business procedures. Rather than a beast to be tamed, it should be a pet that is fed, watered and rewarded.
So how can firms avoid finding themselves trying to tame a wild data center? For a number of data center operations, modularity with a standardized approach is key.
GROWING IN COMPLEXITY Over time, data centers have become a lot more complex. For example, if you take a peek into the average data center you could be greeted with a confusing array of servers, cooling systems, pipework and cabling. The modular approach, on the other hand, is the ultimate model in standardization.
Modular data centers have standard components, so if a client needs to replace something urgently, it can do so with ease – and this is where standards come into their own. For modular data centers, parts can be sourced easily and replaced rapidly.
As well as ensuring longevity, a standardized data center also allows for growth, as new parts slot in with each other and the data
center easily. More often than not, these have already been assessed for their suitability.
Standardization is the way in which the industry has matured, and although a lot of firms don’t realize it, they are already adhering to its principals. For example, organizations have standardized on power – they know what they need and they know what is an acceptable amount to expend. Standardization is not a compromise; it is the best, most assured, way of doing something.
Problems with the ‘patchwork’ approach to data center operations, resulting from years of dealing with increased demand, company mergers and so on, can be solved with standards, which lay across the data center like a blanket, providing similar levels of comfort and assurance.
Data, like the enterprise itself, changes fast – it comes in from a variety of sources, from a variety of locations and from a range of systems. But one thing is consistent; it has to be stored securely, safely and accurately. After all, the data center is the lifeblood of your business.
This is why it is important to make sure you can get at it from within a system that runs efficiently. Standardization in the data center not only helps it run more efficiently but it makes it easier to grow – both in terms of space and benefits. In my view, the standardized data center is the most agile, the most expandable and the most usable.
Starting at the bottom, a standardized data center reduces the skills you need in house. Built on easy-to-use and understandable blocks, it is more expandable and can grow with your business.
Chief executives want longevity. They want the resources in which the firm invests to be usable and relevant for a long time. Again, this can be achieved with standards.
Those charged with running a data center must be able to show consistent performance, the ability to scale and a reduced cost base – all of which can be achieved by employing standards.
COST BENEFITS According to Gartner, data center cost is key as firms move into 2011; again, this is something that can be tackled by the use of standards which, in our experience, drives down costs and keeps them down.
April Adams, research director at Gartner, said in a report in early November that “given that cost containment remains a key focus for most organizations, positioning technologies to show they are tightly linked to cost containment is a promising approach”.
We, and a nation of CEOs, CIOs and data center managers, couldn’t agree more.
Colt Data Center Services has a 25,000km network operating in 13 countries and 34 major European cities. It has 19 of its own Colt data centers, catering to enterprise, midsize and wholesale customers.
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