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5 Steps to Transforming the Data Center
 

5 Steps to Transforming the Data Center

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Preparing the datacenter for the future means empowering users to provision workloads and enabling IT groups to charge business units for the resources they consume. But first you must align people, ...

Preparing the datacenter for the future means empowering users to provision workloads and enabling IT groups to charge business units for the resources they consume. But first you must align people, processes and technology and
develop a strategy for transformation.

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    5 Steps to Transforming the Data Center 5 Steps to Transforming the Data Center Document Transcript

    • A UBM white pAper NovemBer 20105 Steps to Transforming the Data Center Preparing the datacenter for the future means empowering users to provision workloads and enabling IT groups to charge business units for the resources they consume. But first you must align people, processes and technology and develop a strategy for transformation. Brought to you by
    • 5 Steps to Transforming the Data Center By Andrew Mazer IT organizations are under more pressure than Step 1. Move Beyond Virtualization ever to respond quickly to constantly evolving In an effort to wring efficiencies out of opera- business demands. Today, IT is expected to support tions in order to do more with fewer resources, IT unprecedented data growth, deploy and manage administrators have virtualized and consolidated more servers and networking with fewer resources, their infrastructures to varying degrees. By going and determine how and where to embrace new after the low-hanging virtualization fruit — con- processing models through the cloud. solidating servers and boosting utilization — many Yet data centers are frequently hard pressed IT groups have reduced hardware footprints and to provision applications and business services cut power and cooling demands, thereby generat- promptly. IT administrators typically contend with ing some savings. large backlogs of service requests — each of A relatively few sophisticated IT organiza- which requires hours of tedious labor to imple- tions have deployed advanced virtualization2 ment. Additionally, they are increasingly expected technologies to achieve flexible application to provide these services in hours or minutes rather deployments, workload balancing and simplified than weeks or days. management. However, achieving this level of Transforming the data center to increase effi- virtualization is more the exception than the rule. ciency is the best answer to these challenges. To Most organizations that have used virtualization meet new and evolving demands, a truly efficient to consolidate are not taking full advantage of its data center must provide a high degree of com- potential to deliver operational efficiencies and patibility with existing infrastructure, keep capital truly optimize IT. expenditures low, and optimize IT management as “Storage and server virtualization have dem- administrators add servers, storage and network- onstrated that we can overinvest in technology,” ing to their environment. says Benjamin Woo, program VP at IDC. “We need The transformation necessary to achieve these to find ways not only to create storage, compute goals will affect not only technology, but also the and network efficiencies, but also to translate that people and processes that interact with it. Evolving into operational expense efficiencies.” the data center requires breaking down cultural To fully exploit virtualization, IT organizations barriers, because it empowers users to take more need to transform the data center by aligning ABoUt the AUthor control of how they deploy and manage the ser- people, processes and technologies to deliver vices that drive their business units. new efficiencies at every point. As these efficien- Andrew Mazer has written The promise of transformation is that it can cies are applied, IT groups will see productivity extensively about the high- automate the tedious provisioning and manage- and total cost of ownership (TCO) improve, along technology industry for more ment tasks that consume an estimated 80 percent with their ability to deliver added value to busi- than 20 years, covering cloud of an IT administrator’s time, along with leverag- ness initiatives. computing, green IT, data ing the full benefits of virtualization to free IT center optimization, business professionals to focus on the strategic needs of Step 2. prepare for transformation intelligence and other topics the business. With IT technologies developing so quickly, IT that involve using IT as a Transformation sounds like a complicated leaders are understandably cautious about invest- strategic enabler for business process. But a clear road map, with clearly defined ing in the latest hot innovation that promises to initiatives. mileposts, divides the effort into manageable incre- cut costs. What holds more appeal are strategies ments that provide rewards along the way. that enable their data centers to efficiently and
    • UBm TeCHWeB WHITe PAPer | 5 Steps to Transforming the Data Center cost-effectively support anticipated growth and redundancies and pool resources to improve new, as yet unknown, demands. operational efficiency. Reduce the number of Attempting to predict all the future demands tools required to manage IT resources and elimi- data centers will face is an exercise in futility; nate redundant processes and workflows. but careful planning can ensure that computing environments are highly flexible, scalable and • Automate processes to reduce the time required responsive to the current and future needs of the to deploy infrastructure and workloads, limit the business. Preparing the data center to transform need for manual intervention, improve availability into a more capable and responsive service requires and enhance productivity. three key processes: “Standardization and automation will enable • Standardize the existing data center infrastruc- IT departments (and ultimately business units) to ture by moving to affordable x86 platforms and focus on the application experience rather than the tools to reduce costs and management demands nuts-and-bolts of the underlying infrastructure,” on IT staff. Eliminating proprietary legacy archi- says IDC’s Woo. “It will greatly streamline the IT tectures in favor of an open architecture provides deployment process.” uniformity, enabling data centers to integrate Preparing your data center for the future is an multivendor server, storage and networking undertaking that addresses the entire IT continuum, products into a single pool of shared resources. from the hardware that arrives in a box, to racking the equipment, provisioning it for production and • Simplify the technology infrastructure using deploying new workloads for improved business virtualization and consolidation to eliminate impact. Streamlining hardware deployment and Dell VirtUAlizeD integrAteD SySteM3 Dell’s virtual Integrated System (vIS) architecture is a solution that creates a path to data center transformation. Based on open architecture and standardized platforms, vIS provides a modular approach to the process of streamlining virtual environments. Based on three components, vIS enables customers to focus on the areas that are most important to their business: Intelligent Infrastructure. Standardizing, simplifying and automating the entire infrastructure — including servers, storage and networking — creates a foundation for optimizing virtualization. By using Dell’s Advanced Infrastructure manager to rapidly deploy computing, storage and net- working resources, IT groups can increase data center efficiency by eliminating time-consuming and costly manual tasks. vIS Delivery Center. Self-Service Creator provides a catalog of workload templates, enabling end users to select and deploy workloads based on service levels and budgets. Director provides users with the ability to monitor workload performance and usage, and to add or reduce resources as required. Integration Platform. Simplifies and streamlines IT management and eliminates console sprawl by folding AIm, Self-Service Creator and Director into popular virtual machine managers. vIS provides the innovation and functionality that data centers need to meet future demands, along with the simplified man- agement that IT administrators seek so they can focus on strategic tasks. For more information, go to http://www.dell.com/content/ topics/topic.
    • UBm TeCHWeB WHITe PAPer | 5 Steps to Transforming the Data Center management is a key part of transforming the data and software innovations. In fact, these attributes center, as is developing a new model for delivering are critical for transforming real-world data centers. IT services and the processes that support them. As Few companies can afford to “rip and replace” a result, IT staff, developers and users will experience their current hardware; most proceed incremen- significant changes in how they perform their jobs. tally toward their goal, building in flexibility and The road map for transformation starts with efficiency as they go. the data center’s infrastructure, which should be Because it is critical to protect an organiza- consolidated and virtualized using standardized tion’s investment in its existing infrastructure, hardware. As the data center consolidates onto Dell developed Advanced Infrastructure Manager more uniform platforms, IT groups can employ (AIM), an open standards-based tool that manages virtualization and automation to accelerate provi- heterogeneous hardware and supports hypervi- sioning hardware and applications. This virtualized, sors by leading virtualization vendors. AIM turns automated set of data center resources forms the hardware into infrastructure by eliminating the base for building an intelligent infrastructure. separate silos of servers, storage and networking that demand so much management effort. AIM is a key component of Dell’s Virtual The road map for transformation starts Integrated System (VIS), the company’s vision for with the data center’s infrastructure, which should be data transformation. By creating a shared pool of resources that can be flexibly deployed and rede- consolidated and virtualized using standardized hardware. ployed to meet the dynamically changing needs of workloads, AIM streamlines and adds flexibility and While virtualization is a key technology in driv- availability to the data center ing transformation, it doesn’t address everything Once the intelligent infrastructure is in place, in the data center. Very few IT organizations can organizations can begin true data center trans- virtualize everything, either because of cost or formation, taking advantage of these shared,4 application inflexibility. Transformation must also virtualized and automated pools of resources to acknowledge that a portion of the IT environment provide users with self-service provisioning. will remain on physical resources. The ability to manage physical and virtual environments simul- Step 4. put power (and responsibility) taneously will remain a key requirement for the into the people’s hands foreseeable future. Self-service provisioning is a paradigm-changing capability that automates the process by which Step 3. Build an intelligent business needs are met. By enabling end users and infrastructure developers to select resources that fit their needs An intelligent infrastructure uses advanced serv- and their budgets, self-service IT enables business ers, storage and networking to automate tasks, groups to access the IT resources they need without driving down TCO. Pooling of IT resources in an wasteful over-provisioning. The right self-service intelligent infrastructure simplifies overall manage- tool provides flexibility to developers and end users, ment; as a result, IT can respond quickly to change while giving the IT organization centralized control. requests and head off potential problems before “Self-service provisioning has the potential to they escalate. significantly change IT service models,” says Woo. Once an intelligent infrastructure is in place, IT Of course, Woo cautions, cultural and political groups can deploy integrated management tools to challenges will arise, as they do with any significant streamline the process of standardizing, simplify- change. “Users will need to understand the busi- ing and automating hardware deployment. When ness service level that a given template provides … choosing a management approach, preserving there will be a learning curve.” choice, flexibility and the return on investment When presented with the option to provision (ROI) of existing data center investments should their own resources, many users might be tempted be a priority. to launch a workload with more resources than For example, a solution built on an open, necessary, just because the resources are available. standards-based architecture allows flexibility as But self-service options that clearly define policies business needs change over time. Additionally, the and costs help users select only resources that truly solution has to take into account the existing hard- fit their needs and their budgets. ware and software infrastructure, while enabling Dell’s Self-Service Creator, for example, gives the environment to take advantage of hardware IT staff the ability to limit available options to dif-
    • UBm TeCHWeB WHITe PAPer | 5 Steps to Transforming the Data Center ferent groups of users. If users need a workload For example, Director’s advanced diagnostic capa- larger than what’s authorized, they can trigger an bility identifies which virtual machine is having an approval review. VIS Self-Service Creator presents issue and what has caused the problem. Users users with an online catalog of templates set up by can quickly determine whether they have properly the IT organization. Each template specifies what a deployed their workloads in the correct template given workload includes (such as precise amounts and can make any necessary adjustments. of memory, storage and networking services) and And just as important, Director gives users how it can be deployed. predictive analysis capabilities, shedding light VIS Self-Service Creator also enables IT groups on when their workloads are likely to need to assign budget values to each workload in a cata- more servers, storage or networking resources. log and execute chargebacks to business groups Powerful tools such as VIS Self-Service Creator based on the workload templates they deploy. and Director are changing the landscape of the Users can better adhere to their budgets, gain data center by empowering users to become their insight into the costs of their solutions and reclaim own IT experts. unused resources in the environment. Self-service provisioning frees staffers from Step 5. Create a Single, Familiar View manually creating individual workloads for appli- By building on the intelligent infrastructure to cations such as Exchange or SharePoint, saving automate self-service provisioning and workload expensive human resources that can be redirected governance, data center transformation relieves IT to more strategic projects. administrators of time-consuming and tedious man- But the benefits of data center transformation agement tasks. The final step in the transformation extend beyond giving users the ability to provision is to reduce the number of management consoles IT workloads. Some solutions, such as Dell’s newly groups use to manage the infrastructure. released VIS Director, give users the ability to man- To streamline and simplify data center man-5 age the workloads they create and to identify agement, Dell has introduced the VIS Integration performance problems or underutilized resources. Platform, which takes the functionality of numer- VIS Director sheds light on how workloads ous management tools and delivers them to the are performing within a virtualized environment. customer’s virtual machine manager (VMM) of In VIS Director, users can see the entire infrastruc- choice. IT groups that take the VIS approach can ture’s state and health, as this solution provides collapse the Advanced Infrastructure Manager, automated alerts and expert advice for detecting, Self-Service Creator and Director consoles into a diagnosing and resolving performance and avail- single commonly used VMM. By using a single ability problems. VMM — whether it’s from VMware, Microsoft or VIS Director helps users manage infrastructure Xen — that’s already familiar to staff, an IT orga- and application workloads by providing detailed nization gains new capabilities while eliminating insight into their Self-Service Creator environment. console sprawl. ◆ ABoUt Dell Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DeLL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services they value. A leading global systems and services company uniquely enabled by its direct business model, Dell is No. 33 on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies. For more information, visit www.dell.com or to communicate directly with Dell via a variety of online channels, go to http://www.dell.com/conversations. To get Dell news direct, visit http://www.dell.com/rSS.