Essential Guide

Enterprise IT infrastructure in the age of cloud: A guide for CIOs

Enterprise IT infrastructure is going through a rapid evolution as the cloud and hybrid technologies take hold. In this CIO Essential Guide, determine the right data center infrastructure for your organization.

Introduction

Enterprise IT infrastructure -- namely, the data center, that centralized repository built to manage the storage, management and dissemination of all company information -- is undergoing an evolution that would have been hard to envision even a decade ago.

Data centers were initially built as siloed physical infrastructures dedicated to specific networks, servers and storage systems, usually serving specific company applications. As companies accumulated more and relevant and valuable data, data centers grew larger and required additional hardware such as backup power supplies, data communications connections, security components, cooling mechanisms and fire suppression in order to run smoothly.

Over time, it became clear that this traditional enterprise IT infrastructure wasn't necessarily cost-effective or environmentally friendly. The advent of cloud computing providers, which host data and operations at off-site facilities, provided an opportunity for enterprises, giving CIOs more choice in how to configure their IT infrastructure. Organizations are now freer than ever to embrace green IT initiatives, outsource data center operations or consider a converged infrastructure that combines the best of both worlds.

This CIO Essential Guide on this new breed of enterprise IT infrastructure is part of the CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics.

1IN-HOUSE IT INFRASTRUCTURE-

Traditional physical architectures get big, go green

Managing a traditional enterprise IT infrastructure isn't the simplest task, especially operating it on budget while keeping your organization's carbon footprint in check. In these pieces, CIOs and IT experts explain the best methods for managing your on-site data center and offer advice for creating lean, mean, green data machines.

Tip

Deliberating and investing in data center development

SearchCIO contributor Mark Tonsetic asks readers, "When will the data center you have today look like a relic?" Many IT organizations must ask themselves if the physical data center will remain an asset worthy of additional investment during the next decade. Continue Reading

News

Data center energy talks get heated on the Web

In a timely Searchlight roundup, Senior Features Writer Karen Goulart addresses the complex world of data centers, assisted by coverage from Wired and InformationWeek and focusing on The New York Times' "The Cloud Factory" series. Continue Reading

Tip

Demonstrating ROI with green IT initiatives

During SearchCIO's data center-themed tweet jam, we asked participants, "What green IT efforts will shape the data center of the future?" Tweet jammers say while there is an overall effort to switch to greener IT solutions, the monetary investment has to make sense, too. Continue Reading

Tip

Green cloud computing tips: Reduce energy consumption and save money

Green IT provides CIOs the opportunity to reduce their environmental impact, energy consumption and, potentially, spending. This roundup of TechTarget content aimed at smaller businesses covers varying perspectives on green IT and the cloud. Continue Reading

News

Big data analytics chip away at data silos

Executive Editor Linda Tucci explores how data silos cease to exist when companies start to collect and analyze big data. Learn more from data-minded experts Ted Friedman, Boris Evelson and others. Continue Reading

2VIDEOS-

Let's talk data centers

In these videos, IT experts share their enterprise IT infrastructure strategies. Watch and learn how to harness the power of the data center, no matters its form.

Video

Extensive planning fosters hybrid data center success

A hybrid data center may tempt IT admins with its scalability and flexibility, but before you go hybrid, here's some advice about planning and scope.

Video

Defining modern data centers with convergence and public and private cloud

As Bob Plankers explains at the Modern Infrastructure Decisions conference, modern data centers are tough to nail down.

Video

Expert video: Cloud strategies evolving

In this expert video, Wayne Pauley, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, explains how cloud strategies are evolving as the technology quickly changes. Backup and archiving, along with hybrid strategies, remain popular.

3OUTSOURCED INFRASTRUCTURE-

As cloud matures, a turn toward hosted infrastructure

Companies looking to rid themselves of on-site physical data centers are setting their sights on outsourced infrastructures. The most common version, of course, is the cloud and its many variants. The news and tips below reveal how cloud maturity and as-a-Service offerings are motivating IT organizations to ditch their traditional enterprise IT infrastructure.

Feature

Data center-free but business-connected

Kevin Broadway, senior staff VP at MetroPCS Communications Inc., is a huge supporter of all-cloud, data center-free strategies. Only a few custom data management applications reside in the engineering department's data center -- but even those won't exist much longer. Continue Reading

Feature

CIO replaces expertly designed, custom data center with cloud

When CIO Alexander Pasik joined the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, it had a state-of-the-art data center in place, but his first thought was this: It had to go. Instead, this cloud enthusiast developed a cloud implementation strategy to see a dramatic reduction, perhaps even elimination, of his data center in a few years' time. Continue Reading

Feature

Celtics win! VP of IT scores points with cloud

When the Celtics organization required a new enterprise IT infrastructure strategy, VP of IT Jay Wessland delivered. Read about the organization's journey to the cloud and why its value goes beyond the cost savings. Continue Reading

Feature

SaaS success has IT leaders implementing cloud-first strategies

In this Q&A with the University of Miami's Deputy CIO, learn how the institution's drive for IT centralization led to a transformative cloud-first IT strategy. Continue Reading

Tip

Could cloud replace the traditional data center?

SearchCIO's cloud computing-themed tweet jam sparked an opinionated discussion about the role of cloud computing in the modern data center -- or should we be calling it the cloud center? Continue Reading

4Glossary-

Data center terms to know

Before settling on an enterprise IT infrastructure strategy, make sure you understand what you're getting yourself into.

5CONVERGED INFRASTRUCTURE-

The present and future: Hybrid IT

In light of recent technology releases, such as wearable tech and products related to the Internet of Things, it's clear that almost every gadget is producing data -- and a lot of it. To accommodate all of this data collection and storage, and the accessibility needs that accompany it, IT organizations are broadening their data center horizons to include more than one type of solution. The following articles look at converged infrastructure for the present and the future.

News

In 2014, SDN, SDS, hybrid cloud services top trend lists

Intelligent data centers, hybrid cloud services and more top the list of IT strategies this year. In this story, Gartner analyst David Cappuccio lays out 10 technologies that CIOs should be incorporating into their IT planning. Continue Reading

Feature

Data warehousing architecture becomes more flexible

The digital revolution has forced businesses to change their data management strategies and introduce new technology to their data architecture. In this feature, learn why some organizations are shying away from the monolithic enterprise data warehouse in favor of flexibility. Continue Reading

News

Big data infrastructure basics from former Broad Institute CIO

Martin Leach, former CIO at The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, knows what it's like to be overwhelmed by data. To start digging out, Leach suggests IT leaders first identify their biggest pain point or need that necessitates this, then look at what technology or setup to buy. Continue Reading

Podcast

IT Leadership Awards winner adopts shared services model with cloud

Eric Hawley, CIO at Utah State University, earned the title of SearchCIO 2013 Enterprise IT Leader of the Year with his insightful perspective on current technology issues. In this podcast, Hawley shares specifics about the university's move to a shared services model in order to adapt to the rapid pace of change in technology. Continue Reading

Tip

#CIOChat participants trim fat from the roadmap, switch to cloud

In SearchCIO's year-end tweet jam, several areas of IT emerged as superfluous -- according to participants -- including storage, applications and unused services. Editorial Director Christina Torode kicked off the discussion by suggesting IT leaders are moving away from buying storage and turning toward housing data in the cloud. Continue Reading

6Quiz-

Managing the complexity of the data center

Changes to the traditional data center continue to intrigue CIOs looking to evolve their enterprise IT infrastructure as new technologies become available and the concept of the data-center-free enterprise emerges. Misplaced or inaccessible data and creaky data center operations can damage an organization's brand and ability to serve its customers. Thus, IT leaders must recognize the importance offocusing on data safety, availability, storage and recovery, and consider whether the cloud suits their enterprise needs.

Are you keeping up with all things data center? Take our quiz on managing enterprise IT infrastructure, drawn from recent CIO coverage on data storage and the cloud, to find out.

Take This Quiz