Consolidation – The pros and cons of putting your eggs in one basket

Consolidating key facilities like data centers has obvious advantages. Chief amongst these are reduced costs, licensing, energy consumption, and maintenance.

But consolidating facilities also consolidates risk. If your single, major global data center goes down, then the company goes down with it.

So, how do you decide how to play a consolidated strategy, and put in place the correct procedures, policies, and technologies to mitigate risk?

Here are some quick pointers.

Designing a consolidated hub

Firstly, consolidating physical resources can cut your overhead, operational, and energy costs, so consider doing more with less hardware.

Software-based ‘server-less’ computing can help you consolidate onto fewer machines using cloud computing and technology such as virtualization and software-defined networking.

Consolidating software onto fewer hardware platforms can also reduce software licensing fees.

However, to pull off a move like this you will need to acquire the required expertise, or find a service provider who can design and manage your next-generation data center.

Mitigating risk through infrastructure design

Modern networking infrastructure design can help mitigate risk through techniques such as application orchestration and policy-based actions.

This model takes a bird’s eye view of your business software and services, and ensures everything runs smoothly, shifting resources where they’re needed in a timely way.

Underpinned by a modern network, this can be very effective in maintaining uptime, with cloud technologies such as ‘containerized micro-services’ offering self-managing, self-healing applications that run automatically, and scale up and down via the cloud.

All of this helps mitigate the risk of consolidation.

The downside is that, again, these cutting-edge technologies require technical know-how, investment, and a different approach to managing and monitoring your IT system.

Future-proofed technology

You want to make sure you have the necessary technology to ensure your new crown jewel data center won’t be rendered obsolete before the construction crew even breaks ground.

So, try to make sure you choose open-standards technologies with resources that can be re-purposed and extended without excessive development effort and cost.

Always-on infrastructure

Finally, how do you spec a data center for the always-on needs of a modern financial institution, that can guarantee near-constant uptime, and without breaking the bank?

When consolidating resources, you need to build in flexibility, and avoid technology silos by ensuring that your resources are transparent, networked, and shared.

Virtualization is a key element of a successful data center consolidation strategy, and it can help you achieve these things.

A converged network architecture that simplifies, accelerates, and utilizes resources, is also a must-have.

This could include fast, Fiber Channel or iSCSI networks to connect servers and storage, plus network and storage virtualization, which pools and optimizes your network and storage resources in a cost-effective and efficient way.

There are two major procedures for implementing change. Either rip and replace an old platform, particularly if it’s failing. Or develop the two side-by-side, transitioning applications step-by-step.

The latter may be more prudent for you, carrying less risk. Either way, as an experienced networking architecture partner, Panduit can help you plan and implement a next-generation network infrastructure.

Find out more at: https://pages.panduit.com/finance-all.html

Investing in the future: collective thinking in facility design






Future-proofing facilities while leveraging previous investments

A new generation of facilities are being designed and constructed around the globe. A key facility design challenge is ensuring the systems and infrastructure involved will not only deliver new advantage but also function seamlessly with (and add value to) the other parts of a company’s ecosystem, including legacy systems and existing capital projects. Old and new primary investments need to work together harmoniously to deliver a more productive and profitable future.

Future-Proofed Facility Design White Paper

READ THE WHITE PAPER: Why state-of-the-art facilities require state-of-the-art infrastructure

In this age of digital transformation, data underpins modern business, connectivity is key, and operational scaling is a fact of life. This is why corporate facilities in banking, finance, and any other sector are being conceived to take advantage of the opportunities offered by this new landscape. Getting the infrastructure right, the strongest underpinning, is crucial. Continuing with the banking example, companies such as HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Crédit Suisse and CitiBank (or their outsourcing partners) are doing precisely that.

The data center, now evolving into next-gen digital infrastructure architecture, has provided the core of banking operations for generations. Today, such data centers are expected to work smarter and do more to process and store vastly increased volumes of data, globally, quicker than ever. They must be always available, with no delays.

As a result, global heads of facilities and real estate want assurances they are investing in the right technical infrastructure, maximizing the ability of the organization’s IT to, for instance, deploy workload in the right places, and deliver the right services to users and customers at the right time (and at the right price) – integrating with still-valuable legacy systems where necessary. This requires technology that is both reliable and flexible, based on global standards, as well as working with acknowledged leaders in the field.

At a basic level, it can mean tried-and-tested cabling – the strongest physical foundations – and ensuring an overall standards-based approach that is not only optimized for interoperability and performance but also addresses a multitude of other facilities (and cost) requirements, from energy efficiency to cooling optimization, even space considerations. By looking at the bigger picture and applying joined-up thinking when making technology choices that affect facility design, facilities and real estate leaders – in partnership with IT and procurement teams – can ensure both connectivity and investment protection. This, in turn, can have a real impact on the bottom line as infrastructure converges, data volumes increase exponentially, and the pace of business continues to speed up.

To find out more about how you can future-proof your facilities while leveraging previous investments, read our report, “Why State-of-the-art Facilities Require State-of-the-art Infrastructure.”

Building the next-gen data centre: global, connected, ready for business






With modern business defined by data and by connectivity, tomorrow’s data centre will bear little resemblance to today’s models.

What we currently think of as a data centre is being superseded by next-gen digital infrastructure architecture: global in scale and defined by the business services it delivers and the user/consumer requirements that it satisfies. According to a recent Gartner, Inc. report, infrastructure and operations people tasked with data centres will have to focus on “enabling rapid deployment of business services and deploying workloads to the right locations, for the right reasons, at the right price”.

These super-charged requirements, and that unstoppable focus on data, mean the most robust, reliable and flexible infrastructure – physical, electrical and network – will be paramount. Gartner also added that, by 2025, eighty percent of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data centre versus ten percent today. The key word is “traditional”.

With the rise of next-gen digital infrastructure architecture, workload placement becomes a critical driver of successful digital delivery. That, in turn, is underpinned by performance, availability, latency, scalability, and so on. Indeed, Gartner suggests an “ecosystem” is required to enable “scalable, agile infrastructures”.

What’s the best way to engage with this era of digital transformation, interconnect services, cloud, edge services and Internet of Things (IoT) if you’re planning or preparing to replace your data centre? The optimum digital infrastructure architecture (aka modern data centre) to meet requirements for the next five, ten or 15 years will, as ever, depend on each organisation’s priorities. There’s no simple answer. For some, a major step will be to ensure the strongest physical foundations including cabling, pathways and security. Many organisations will need an effective way to “bridge the gap” from old-world data centre and stacks into converged networks and infrastructure. At the same time, data centre infrastructure management tools can help improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. Perhaps a through line in all situations is ensuring the right connectivity solutions: to increase network throughput, reduce latency, improve agility, ensure scalability, and so on. That way, you’re not only ready for opportunities presented by the Internet of Things – you’ll be ready for the Internet of Everything.

To learn more about ensuring you have the right connectivity solutions at your core, read the report: https://pages.panduit.com/finance-all.html

TSB’s ‘IT Troubles’: Why making the right infrastructure choices are more vital than ever






IT and Network Infrastructure

Carefully considering the connectivity infrastructure which underpins your IT systems can make for a vastly smoother operating environment.

 

You may be aware of TSB’s technical woes. Especially if you’re a customer.

Last month, the bank announced it would be upgrading its systems to replace the ones it inherited from Lloyds. After it announced services were back online, customers quickly began complaining. Many were unable to access their accounts at all. Some were able to see the personal details of others through their mobile banking app. Others have seen fraudulent or anomalous transactions on their accounts.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, multiple in-branch services also failed.

In terms of damage to trust in the brand, potentially enormous loss of revenue from normal transactions, and the possibility of regulatory fines, it’s been a tough time for TSB.

To avoid similar service catastrophes, companies need to carefully consider how they select every part of their IT ecosystem. How every part works in harmony with the others. And how they select the companies they choose as vendors and partners.

Infrastructure is no exception to this rule.

Carefully considering the connectivity infrastructure which underpins your IT systems can also make for a vastly smoother operating environment. Preventing the kind of hiccups that can often occur during the upgrade process, when a new (potentially incompatible) framework is ‘layered’ on top of existing systems. Systems that may themselves already exist within a fragile, unpredictable lattice. Which can react explosively when anything new is brought into the mix.

Well planned, well-provided infrastructure means the difference between a stable foundation for the IT department to do great work. And attempting to build a successful user experience and backend on an ever-shifting sea of quicksand.

So, the next time you’re planning an upgrade, remember to ask the important questions first. What are you building? And what are you building it on?

To learn more about ensuring you have the best infrastructure in place to deliver for your organisation, read the report – https://pages.panduit.com/finance-all.html.