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

Last updated:February 2014

Editor's note

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.

1Let'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.

2As 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.

3Data center terms to know

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

4The 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.

5Managing 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.