THE IT AND DATA CENTER LANDSCAPE has changed significantly in a short time, in ways that often get me thinking back to my first visit to a large enterprise customer site as an outside sales engineer in 2007—before the days of hybrid environments and the term “efficient IT.”
I had to battle a bad snowstorm to get to the job site in Boulder, Colo. We had been working with this customer for months to help its mission-critical facility achieve a Tier IV redundancy rating via Uptime Institute’s Tier Classification System, the gold standard for an efficient data center design at the time. We were in the last stages of our design and, upon final review of the facility’s redundancy schemes—across its transformers, switchgear, uninterruptible power systems, and power distribution units—we concluded it to be an overwhelming success. After that, it was “job well done” and back to the snowy roads.
While our procedures were standard on enterprise sites back then, nowadays I would have had much more work to do before determining that a project was successful, or that a facility’s IT scheme was efficient. The environment is more complex for modern enterprises, many of which are living in a hybrid IT world. In the current landscape, activities across on-premises IT, public clouds, and centralized data centers need to interact harmoniously. Redundancy designs for central data center power systems are just one area of focus when it comes to efficient IT, which must also incorporate virtualization and network-as-a-service infrastructure.
So, just how incomplete was my Colorado job in comparison with modern standards of the hybrid cloud? According to Uptime Institute’s new Efficient IT Assessment, it would have only touched about 15 percent of the efficient IT puzzle. That’s how little weight data center design carries today in enabling lasting reductions in cost, utilities, staff time, and carbon emissions. This isn’t to say that building an efficient data center design isn’t important, but a lot of the current work involves leadership and decision making aimed at reducing resource waste and the organization of overall IT assets to align with business objectives.
You don’t have to look far to see the impact that efficient IT is having on enterprises, which often have fewer staff than before and are looking to optimize performance and costs across operations. They are focusing on enabling the hybrid cloud while increasing data center utilization to drive agility, reliability, and efficiency.
Adoption of new technologies is a constant theme as well when it comes to efficient IT. Many companies are seeking to align the latest advancements in areas like automation and Internet of Things technology with objectives to build better resiliency within their intricate distributed networks. In fact, some analysts now see distributed resiliency as the largest and most likely data center market disruptor. As IT processes continue to evolve, developing strategies for distributed resiliency can help enterprises ensure availability while protecting them from unwanted disruptions.
Moreover, with IT and operational technology (OT) on a convergence path, enterprises are becoming more reliant on OT vendors that can also help address key functions like power management to participate in the overall design and rollout of their distributed networks.
Today, OT is an important consideration for cloud adopters. For enterprises, deploying the right solutions in areas like energy and power management can help to boost quality and reliability, enhance asset utilization, and improve ease of deployment through unique IT ecosystem integrations. Now that OT vendors have a seat at the table, they must work closely with customers to help ensure they’re going down the right path and can see blue skies—even during a snowy winter—amid their hybrid cloud deployments.
GRACIANO BEYHAUT is the senior marketing operations manager for Eaton Corp., working with Eaton’s channel sales and marketing teams.