The corporate data center: A guide for enterprise CIOs

The corporate data center: A guide for enterprise CIOs

In this CIO Briefing, learn how enterprise CIOs can strategize around the corporate data center to enable greener IT and the march toward mobile, virtualization and the cloud.

The corporate data center is a centralized repository for the storage management and the dissemination of data and information. The growing emphasis on data generation and retention, energy efficiency, and an increasingly mobile workforce has driven enterprise CIOs to consider new data center infrastructure strategies tailored to these massive quantities of information and on-the-move employees.

Has your organization continued to evolve its corporate data center strategy? In this guide, read more about how enterprise organizations are building a next-generation data center by focusing on virtualization, green IT, mobility and cloud computing.

This enterprise guide to the corporate data center and virtualization trends is part of's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics.

Table of contents:

The corporate data center in the year ahead

If IT organizations and corporate data centers are disappearing into the cloud or being replaced by end users managing them themselves anytime soon, then businesses worldwide are set to waste a lot of money on infrastructure, security and software,, according to our 2013 IT forecast.

In TechTarget's annual IT Priorities Survey of IT managers worldwide, 3,282 respondents from around the world indicated that they will focus on many of the same issues they have focused on in recent years. There are, however, clear indications that they, in fact, are beginning to take steps toward a greater use of cloud services and consumer technologies.

Last year's top IT priority was Windows 7. After two years of high migration activity, however, Windows 7 has receded and dropped down on the list, and Windows 8 is still early in the adoption cycle, with only 21% of respondents citing it as a 2013 project.

Learn more about corporate data infrastructure strategies in our 2013 IT priorities forecast.

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Data centers and virtualization: A video guide

The corporate data center gets its close-up in these videos focusing on infrastructure design, energy efficiency and cloud computing.

Mobility invades the corporate data center

What does the mobile-enabled enterprise data center of the future look like? That depends on how the word "future" is defined. The shift to mobile computing in the workplace is happening so fast that even a three-year plan might prove no match for reality, as evidenced by the fact that the iPad has only been around since 2010.

"Now, millions of these workers use these tablets in the enterprise every day, and the tablet market is just the tip of the mobility iceberg. Just below the surface lies a torrent of innovations that include mobile applications, social media, mobile health, cloud computing, mobile payment, interconnected machines, mobile collaboration and wireless technologies," Gartner Inc. advised technical professionals in a report published in April.

That torrent of innovation will require many enterprises to make adjustments to data centers, from security upgrades, to investing in new management tools, to redesigning existing applications, to optimizing wireless networks. Unfortunately, in Gartner's view, the employee adoption rate of mobile devices is outpacing the "enterprise adaptation rate."

Read the full story to learn how mobility is influencing corporate data center strategies.

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A glossary guide for the data center-minded

Corporate data center management strategies are myriad; here are some that enterprise CIOs are pursuing.

Storing data and a pre- and post-cloud computing world

"I am in the midst of defining a cloud strategy. We need a framework, at least for the next few years, that will help us decide which services we support on-premises and which services, naturally and logically, belong in the cloud," said CIO Niel Nickolaisen, a contributor.

"In the early stage of defining our strategy, cost is certainly a factor. So is what I call 'capacity.' We have so many projects in our pipeline that if I can free up my internal staff and infrastructure resources for new projects by offloading maintenance activities to someone else, I create capacity that puts me way ahead. We still have some work to do before we can use this framework to make every decision, but there are some cloud decisions that are easy to make -- and cloud data storage is one of those," Nickolaisen said.

"Our organizations are addicted to data retention. Just take a look at your own or others' email inboxes. Still got that invitation to the 2007 company Christmas party? What about that email from the CEO asking a question that you answered months ago? Why do we keep such data? Because of our deep-seated fear that, at some point in the future, we might need that email, file, document or record. This makes it nearly impossible for us to delete it. After all, what if it turns out we really do need something that was in that invitation to the 2007 company Christmas party and the invitation is no longer there?"

Read more from Nickolaisen about cloud computing and storage options for enterprise CIOs.

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Data center strategies quiz for enterprise CIOs

With 2013 in full swing, CIOs and the analysts who speak to their issues are making their predictions on what their IT departments will look like in the year ahead. The data center remains a particular area of interest for CIOs as cloud computing and virtualization continue to shake up traditional infrastructure strategies.

Has your business kept up with emerging trends pertaining to data center strategies and virtualization, or will you fall behind in 2013? Test your knowledge of new data center strategies by reviewing some of our recent coverage and taking our quiz.

Test your data center IQ