Enterprise data center management guide for CIOs

CIOs charged with creating an enterprise data center strategy are weighing strategic investments in colocation and the cloud. Learn more about data center options in this guide.

Enterprise CIOs are wrestling with a multitude of data center queries. Is it best to maintain your own data center? Consider data center colocation? Turn to cloud computing for the flexibility you need? These decisions aren't easy, and in today's economy there is little wiggle room for CIOs to make mistakes as they develop a long-term enterprise data center strategy.

In this CIO Briefing, learn how IT executives are weighing their options as they attempt to consolidate data centers, choose between public and private clouds, uncover or disprove the ROI of owning versus renting data center space, and in the end, create next-generation data centers.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of the topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.

Table of contents

  Data center outsourcing: Own vs. rent?
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Driven by the need to consolidate after massive build-outs in the mid-2000s, enterprises are investing in more modular and energy-efficient data center designs. The question, more than ever, is whether it's better to own or rent.

For Angelo Valletta, senior vice president and CIO at Sun National Bank in Vineland, N.J., the issue of data center outsourcing came down to control, flexibility and time to market. He has worked in data centers all his professional life, at one time in a full data center outsourcing model. His mind is open, but when Sun National ran the ROI, it decided to keep its data center and core banking application in-house.

Renting space in an external data center would have been more of a challenge, requiring navigation through an architecture that Sun National didn't own. "Keeping our core banking application in-house allowed the bank to achieve cost savings and the ability to deliver products and services that our customers demand and require," Valletta said.

By creating a mobile banking application that links to in-house systems and uses the cloud for delivery, the bank was the first community bank to deliver mobile banking to its customers in the markets it serves, according to Valletta.

Learn more in "Data center outsourcing dilemma: CIOs weigh in on owning vs. renting." Also:

  Data center colocation: Achieving ROI
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The recession has been good for data center colocation providers. The perfect storm, if you will. A scarcity of capital, the rise in high-power-density computing and a need for high-quality redundant data centers have boosted demand for colocation space, according to data center experts.

"We have not seen a slowdown in interest and growth in colocation. If anything, the recession is driving CIOs to look more closely at colocation," said Ted Ritter, senior research analyst at Mokena, Ill.-based The Nemertes Research Group Inc.

Faced with the worst fiscal crisis in a half-century, businesses that under ordinary circumstances would have built their own data centers scurried to find alternatives. Now, as the recession appears to be receding for many industries, data center colocation space is at a premium, ranging from $700 per month for a low-density power-utilization rack, to as much as $4,000 per month for a high-density rack. And if you want to reserve additional space for growth, expect to pay for it up front, experts said.

Learn more in "Data center colocation: Lock in prices now, experts advise." Also:

  Public and private cloud computing
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Enterprises are using public cloud services and starting to experiment with private cloud computing to capitalize on time-to-market and efficiency gains. This development has prompted IT executives to focus on investments and strategy around two service delivery approaches.

By now, most enterprises have begun to use some form of Software as a Service, such as email or customer relationship management, according to Drue Reeves, a vice president and research director at Burton Group in Midvale, Utah. "They're already doing that, and are rapidly interested in Infrastructure as a Service, which is the fastest-growing segment of the market," Reeves said.

There's less interest currently in Platform as a Service, because pain points -- identity management, integration and service-level agreements -- persist at the lower levels of the stack.

Despite these adoption rough spots, new cloud services continue to pop up, such as Business Process as a Service (BPaaS). Forrester Research Inc., for one, has extended the cloud stack to BPaaS, as outlined in a new report on the evolution of cloud computing markets.

Learn more in "Public vs. private cloud computing: Which fits your enterprise needs?." Also:

  Data center consolidation: Getting it right
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The commonwealth of Massachusetts is breaking ground on what it says is the data center of the future: a model of green efficiency, featuring virtualized servers and a disaster recovery plan that -- truth be told -- wasn't there before. The undertaking comes at a time when industry analysts say organizations are spiraling out of virtual control because they lack the automation tools required to achieve the intended cost savings of data center virtualization.

When it opens in 2012, the $110 million Springfield, Mass., data center will also help consolidate nearly a hundred IT agencies that currently support eight secretaries reporting to Governor Deval Patrick -- who had hired Anne Margulies, formerly at MIT, as the state's CIO.

The multipronged effort is "raising the level of IT in government," Margulies said, aware of the scrutiny that results from a "huge budget, enormous scope and 30% budget cuts" and feeling the weight of being watched. "If you wind up with a bad story above the fold in the [newspapers], you're not going to be able to have a strategic role in government" she acknowledged.

Learn more in "Disaster recovery plan at heart of data center consolidation project." Also:

  More resources
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This was first published in September 2010

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