One of the key topics during our World Of Servers extravaganza has been data centre management: the tools, techniques and tactics you need to build and manage one cost-effectively. Here are 10 useful lessons, large and small, we picked up along the way.
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10. Plan for non-technical needs when disaster strikes
Your DR strategy requires more than just a backup centre and power supply. As Hurricane Sandy survivors explained, you also need to ensure access to food and medical supplies for your staff: no-one can work on reinstating services if they're sick or hungry.
9. You can make a big difference in a year
It isn't quick to plan out a data centre or significantly alter one, but that doesn't mean the process has to take years. This six-point action plan from Gartner outlines goals you can set for the next week, three months and year to effect major changes.
8. Legal issues are individual
For every company claiming that US laws don't apply to companies outside the United States, there's another suggesting on-shore hosting is the only option for them. The lesson? There's no single answer; whether being onshore matters will depend on your company's specific circumstances.
7. Uniqueness is overrated
Striving for a unique solution in a data centre is often a waste of time. As IDC's Spencer Izard explains: "Commodity is not a bad thing; it’s a good thing. What you’re doing is often not unique there and you need to focus on the layers that are." Check out more technology trends influencing data centre design.
6. Change is not just about money
Cost management is essential for any IT project, but decisions in the data centre shouldn't be driven solely by budgets. Here are 10 factors to consider when changing data centre strategies.
5. Run metrics weekly
Data centres can produce a huge volume of data of their own in the form of metrics. The easiest way to keep those under control? Generate weekly reports; those can easily be repurposed into longer-term strategic documents.
4. Building your own cloud is challenging
Private and hybrid cloud have their place, but do require significant investment. This checklist of questions to ask before embarking on your own cloud-building activities can help clarify if it's the right choice for your organisation.
3. Manage with modern technologies
Many data centres have ageing infrastructure and are still useful, but modern management systems make a big difference. From tablets to integrated scripting platforms, there are lots of ways to automate and enhance your management processes.
2. Match the needs to the business
We're constantly told IT needs to serve business needs, not technology goals, and that applies in the data centre as well. Check out these hints on how to actually make that happen
1. Learn from others
Data centre design is not a new discipline, so you can learn from the experiences of those who have gone before. Start with this list of common mistakes to avoid, then learn how to supercharge your strategy.