Data Center Management: New Year’s Resolutions for 2016

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By: James O'Brien|

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For those tasked with data center management, New Year’s resolutions represent an opportunity to evaluate services and results from the past 12 months, examining what has worked and how you can improve performance both for next year and beyond.

As Data Center Frontier reported, some 88 percent of unplanned downtime events start with mechanical or human errors. With that in mind, the team and infrastructure that supports your data center are critical points of focus when it comes to year-end assessments.

In the resolutions that follow, we focus on ways to build resiliency, reliability and deep knowledge into your data center management strategies for 2016. As the new year begins, these resolutions can go a long way toward ensuring it starts and ends with an emphasis on uptime, customer satisfaction and efficient, cutting-edge growth.

Implement Strong Energy and Cooling Strategies

Modern data center management teams are tasked with handling an increasingly huge influx of mobile and Web apps. The demands users can put on the hardware at the core of your infrastructure is considerable, and high-throughput platforms and cooled pod deployments can make a huge difference between uptime and overload.

Your new year should start with a clear-eyed examination of the technology at the center of keeping your services available. Does your data center need to be part of the 72 percent of IT teams that CloudWedge identified as using hot- and cold-aisle containment, for example? Make certain your center keeps up with the evolving nature of user load and infrastructure resiliency.

Address Data Center Location to Reduce Latency

In other years, IT leadership could situate a data center in a centralized location and then rely on a standard of service that was fairly universal. That is, few customers expected much more speed than they typically received, and there were scarce alternatives to the traditional data hub.

That scenario has changed. The contemporary data center management model includes a constant battle against latency, and winning that fight can come down to proximity. The closer a given center is to its customers — and the level of bandwidth it can supply in that geographic region — makes a huge difference to user satisfaction and retention.

From exploring cloud options to implementing collocation that features a multiregional and decentralized approach, ensuring speed and responsiveness should be a top IT resolution for 2016.

Simplify and Condense Architecture

Quick and responsive service also relies upon simplified and density-leveraged data center infrastructure. With that in mind, virtualization and cloud deployment should figure prominently in your end-of-year evaluations.

Whether in-house or via third-party managed services, demand the kind of dynamic and scalable scenarios that Peter High recently highlighted in Forbes; it is the mark of the modern, well-run data center management team.

Assess Security and Respond to Evolving Needs

Few IT resolution lists would be complete without a 360-degree assessment of the security supporting all the sensitive data your company handles.

As The Hacker News pointed out, the examination should be both high-level — re-establishing the very makeup of your infrastructure with discovery inventory tools — and granular. Is it newly important to segment your system and create discrete points of protection around, say, all the financial data separately from personnel records? If so, your IT team needs to have the skills and capacity to meet requirements as they evolve month by month.

The Bottom Line for Data Center Management

Critical to every resolution on this list is the underlying portfolio of skill sets and expertise on which data center management can draw. Key to that consideration is a deep bench.

When your IT team partners with a managed services provider that supplies a rich roster — one that can leverage hundreds of highly skilled and certified technicians — you’re better able to address issues such as energy and capacity, location and latency, architecture and security.

Your technical support profile can make the difference between the resolutions that get left behind and the ones you’ll evaluate in a year’s time as having added to your company’s ongoing record of success.

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About The Author

James O'Brien

Freelance Writer

As a journalist and writer in the branded content space, James O'Brien covers business, technology, social media, marketing, film, food, wine, writing and news. The Nieman Journalism Lab has called his work in the custom content space "sponsored content done right." He has written for major regional newspapers, and he has managed and edited established, startup and turnaround newsrooms in varied markets, from community papers to major-city dailies. He consults for firms and businesses — startups to seasoned — on the creation of effective content strategies and the establishment of practical editorial calendars for enacting them. O'Brien holds a Ph.D. in Editorial Studies from the Editorial Institute at Boston University, where he researched and edited Bob Dylan's other-than-song writings. He is engaged in a bibliography for Oxford University Press, covering writings about filmmaker John Cassavetes. He is the author of "The Indie Writer's Survival Guide." His short stories and poetry are published in numerous journals and magazines.

Articles by James O'Brien
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