Taking a holistic approach
to data center modernization
By Vikram Belapurkar and Wendy Williams

Data center mod...
drive down operational costs. Additionally,

network architectures that leverage software

facilitate simple, effective ma...

Storage solutions are designed to optimize

Streamlining the transition

They also extract data domain models to...
Evaluating the payoff
Data center modernization is a crucial

One challenge of legacy applications

by the easy scaling ma...
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Taking A Holistic Approach To Data Center Modernization


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Data center modernization is the linchpin for creating an agile, cost-effective and resilient IT infrastructure. Standards-based Dell server, storage and networking technologies, combined with Dell Application Modernization services, smooth the way.

By Vikram Belapurkar and Wendy Williams

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Taking A Holistic Approach To Data Center Modernization

  1. 1. Features Taking a holistic approach to data center modernization By Vikram Belapurkar and Wendy Williams Data center modernization is the linchpin for creating an agile, cost-effective and resilient IT infrastructure. Standards-based Dell server, storage and networking technologies, combined with Dell Application Modernization services, smooth the way. Case in point Through data center modernization, enterprises can boost operational efficiency while aligning IT with strategic goals. Find out how CoreLogic is working with Dell to re-host its existing IT infrastructure and leverage next-generation cloud computing to accommodate long-term growth. dell.to/18b6wFM O ver the years, enterprises have advanced data protection, disaster recovery and entrusted their mission-critical business continuity strategies. At the same time, applications and demanding standards-based technologies have evolved workloads to proprietary UNIX® substantially in recent years and are designed to and mainframe systems. While these proprietary support the demands of performance-intensive, systems may have been the right choice based mission-critical workloads. on available options at the time, there are now simpler and more efficient alternatives for Turning to open standards architecting applications on modern, standards- To create highly efficient, agile and resilient IT based infrastructure. infrastructures for mission-critical applications, Understandably, some organizations are savvy IT organizations are migrating legacy reluctant to migrate from a familiar infrastructure. applications to standards-based x86 architectures. Business leaders are often concerned about Solutions based on open standards are designed maintaining the performance and availability of to work smoothly across multiple technologies, their critical applications, and IT decision makers so organizations can evaluate alternatives based may feel they lack the time, budget and expertise on competitive factors such as performance, to carry out a modernization project. flexibility and agility instead of compatibility and However, retaining an outdated infrastructure vendor support. Designed to be interoperable, carries its own risks. In addition to subjecting standards-based technologies enable a modular organizations to potential vendor lock-in, legacy architecture created from cost-effective building systems can create undue cost burdens related to blocks that can scale in and scale out. upgrades, operations, maintenance and services. Standards-based technologies across A siloed application architecture and monolithic different infrastructure layers can be integrated infrastructure can also introduce inefficiencies into centralized management tools, streamlining related to utilization and agility, including the business processes and optimizing IT resources. inability to easily adapt or scale to meet changing As an added advantage, support and upgrades of business needs. standards-based solutions often do not require Perhaps the biggest risk of an outdated infrastructure is that it limits the ability of an organization to take advantage of the latest the scarce and specialized skill sets needed to operate proprietary technologies. By delivering streamlined management data center optimization techniques, such as virtualization; cloud-based service delivery; and 42 as well as highly efficient power and cooling capabilities, standards-based technologies help 2013 Issue 04 | Dell.com/powersolutions Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2013 Issue 4. Copyright © 2013 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. drive down operational costs. Additionally, network architectures that leverage software facilitate simple, effective management x86-based systems support a wide array of intelligence enable simple management, of server infrastructure in a variety of operating systems and hypervisors, enabling quick delivery of network services and operating environments, both physical and IT decision makers to choose the best consistent, predictable network performance. virtual. Additionally, to enhance operating platform for their workloads. Data protection and disaster recovery efficiency, PowerEdge servers incorporate enhancements. Traditionally, the data leading-edge power optimization features Incorporating key data center technologies protection and disaster recovery process has such as fresh-air cooling and innovative been costly, cumbersome and unreliable. power-efficient blade enclosure designs. Data center modernization projects present Modern data protection and disaster recovery prime opportunities not only to update the technologies integrate with servers, storage PowerEdge servers can support Dell Fluid hardware infrastructure but also to overhaul and applications to help deliver reliable results, Cache, which caches read operations on the dynamics of the data center. To develop ease of operation and decreased storage local flash storage. PowerEdge servers also a comprehensive modernization strategy, requirements — leading to high levels of feature flash storage on the motherboard IT leaders should consider many of the data availability and business continuity. that can host a redundant hypervisor. In Cloud computing. By facilitating case of drive failure, PowerEdge servers technologies and paradigms that have evolved since the deployment of their legacy platforms. To accelerate I/O performance, a dynamic IT infrastructure, cloud are designed to quickly and seamlessly fail computing empowers line-of-business over to the redundant hypervisor, helping multiple operating systems and applications users to service their own IT needs and maintain continuous business operations to share compute resources, server track their resource usage. Organizations and high availability. virtualization helps improve resource looking to modernize their application utilization — contributing to significant infrastructure may find an on-site private form factors — including blade, rack mount, reductions in both operational and capital cloud–based application delivery model tower and cloud-optimized variations — to expenses. Additionally, because virtualization well suited to their requirements. Other support a range of application architectures, decouples the OS and applications from organizations may conclude that off-site from demanding database implementations to physical hardware, it enables quick, efficient public cloud environments can augment distributed, high-density virtual deployments workload migration across multiple server their IT infrastructure efficiently and flexibly, to high-performance computing (HPC). nodes, boosting IT infrastructure agility. providing services such as data protection, Storage modernization. Traditional disaster recovery and on-demand storage. Server virtualization. By allowing storage technologies used in legacy PowerEdge servers are available in myriad Dell storage Dell storage solutions are designed to lower Optimizing infrastructure for a modern data center the total cost of storage while delivering rigid and complex to manage and scale. Additionally, siloed legacy architectures may By offering a standards-based portfolio of architecture helps simplify how storage introduce massive underutilization of storage server, storage and networking solutions resources are provisioned, managed and resources. Modern storage technologies optimized for demanding workloads, Dell presented to applications, streamlining incorporate paradigms such as storage enables organizations to modernize their aging operations and optimizing utilization. virtualization, data tiering, flash-based I/O IT infrastructure in a way that drives down optimization and integrated infrastructure total cost of ownership, simplifies management integrated with virtualization management management. These capabilities help lower and scales with organizational growth. software. As a result, administrators can application architectures are often costly, the total cost of storage, ensure outstanding performance and simplify management. Network optimization. Innovations outstanding performance. A virtualized storage Dell storage management tools are manage their virtual infrastructure and Dell PowerEdge servers storage through a single user interface, Dell PowerEdge 12th-generation servers are leading to reduced management overhead. over the years have led to an increase in designed to lower operational costs while the reliability and performance of IP-based providing business-critical reliability and Dell storage optimizes data placement on networking technologies. Now supporting resiliency. These standards-based servers underlying storage resources based up to 40 Gbps transfer rates, these embody Dell’s commitment to x86-based on actual use and predefined policies. technologies are well suited to replace server architecture. Automated tiering enables blazing fast proprietary networking components found in legacy application architectures. Modern Tightly integrated management tools, including the Dell OpenManage suite, Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2013 Issue 4. Copyright © 2013 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. The automated tiering capability of performance while minimizing manual tuning. Moreover, Dell Flash-Optimized Dell.com/powersolutions | 2013 Issue 04 43
  3. 3. Features Storage solutions are designed to optimize Streamlining the transition They also extract data domain models to performance for demanding transactional To help organizations make a smooth create mapping rules that help accurately workloads such as database applications.1 transition from legacy environments to convert all required legacy data into a modern, standards-based technologies, modernized data structure. Dell storage solutions offer integrated data protection and disaster recovery Dell provides end-to-end application tools that leverage native thin replication modernization services that consider technical assets is collected in a software- technology. These tools are designed an organization’s current and planned as-a-service (SaaS)–based central repository to efficiently protect mission-critical infrastructure, application workloads and to provide a clear view of how legacy environments from data loss and disasters. operational requirements. This holistic applications currently meet organizational This thorough inventory of business and approach helps organizations develop a objectives and to keep stakeholders Dell networking comprehensive modernization strategy that informed throughout the project. Innovative Dell Networking data center aligns with their overall IT strategy — which is Understanding which business processes switching products enable high-performance, the key to a sustainable, efficient application are still relevant helps prevent spending scalable and open solutions that meet the delivery model. (For more information, see valuable time and resources converting requirements of demanding enterprise the sidebar, “Evaluating the payoff.”). elements that are no longer required. environments. These switches are Dell Services consultants combine Through Dell Portfolio Assessment, engineered from the ground up to deliver leading-edge software tools and consultants help IT leaders structure uncompromising performance. When migration services to develop and execute disposition strategies for their organizations’ combined with Dell network automation and modernization plans that fit an organization’s applications into a transformation program orchestration software, they provide feature- business and technical requirements: that balances business priorities with rich flexibility for any size deployment. Dell Active Fabric is a family of highperformance, cost-effective networking solutions to interconnect server, storage and software elements in cloud and virtualized modern technical enablers — mapping out • Re-host: Migrate legacy applications to a a path toward a modernized data center. cost-effective, standards-based platform with minimal change • Re-architect: Modernize application Application re-hosting For organizations with legacy application data centers. Active Fabric solutions environments by rebuilding legacy environments that currently meet comprise low-power, high-throughput applications in modern frameworks functionality needs but drain annual operating 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) and 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40GbE) switching platforms equipped with fully featured layer 2/3 multipath fabric technology. Additional functionality includes software-defined • Replace: Exchange custom legacy budgets, Dell Application Re-hosting applications with enterprise-ready, solutions can provide a suitable path forward. off-the-shelf software Application re-hosting involves migrating • Retire: Decommission legacy applications that are no longer useful networking (SDN) programmability and legacy applications to cost-effective, open platforms without changing business features and functionality. By preserving existing industry-standard data center bridging (DCB) Assessment of current application landscape investments in application logic and data, options for storage area network (SAN)/local Before undertaking a complete migration, application re-hosting is designed to provide area network (LAN) convergence. organizations that have not yet mapped out a a safe, cost-effective approach with minimal modernization strategy or that need a detailed disruption to daily operations. All Dell switching systems are powered by the industry-hardened, feature-rich Dell understanding of the applications, databases Networking Operating System (formerly FTOS) and processes running in their data centers from mainframes. In addition, Dell can for maximum dependability and uptime. should start with a portfolio assessment. IT re-host or re-platform a variety of workloads Additionally, for ease of use at scale, Dell leaders can work with Dell consultants to gain running on outdated UNIX systems, including Networking Open Automation Framework a comprehensive view of their application custom, packaged and infrastructure and orchestration software helps simplify environment’s current state, from both a applications as well as databases. management for virtualized environments technical and a business perspective. and streamlines operations to cost-effectively scale to large-capacity data centers. 1 For 44 Dell experts analyze source code assets, use cases and functional interdependencies. Dell can re-host custom applications Since only minimal changes are required, re-hosting can be performed relatively quickly. Re-hosting helps simplify more information about Dell flash disk storage, see “Expediting workload performance with flash storage,” by Jeremy Garner and John Mannix, in Dell Power Solutions, 2013 Issue 4, qrs.ly/5x3o6qz. 2013 Issue 04 | Dell.com/powersolutions Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2013 Issue 4. Copyright © 2013 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. Evaluating the payoff Data center modernization is a crucial One challenge of legacy applications by the easy scaling made possible by a initiative for enterprise IT departments is that they tend to be managed as a today. A successful modernization separate silo from other applications. A initiative helps deliver significant benefits simpler, more cost-effective approach modernization program helps protect to an organization. is to integrate the applications on a existing investments in the enterprise logic, distributed platform built on industry- enterprise processes and intellectual property modernization helps reduce annual standard technology. Streamlining that have made the legacy applications an hardware maintenance costs and application management helps lower integral part of the organization. software fees associated with legacy operating costs, including those systems. Dell Application Re-hosting associated with retaining specialized applications and infrastructure should has cut the annual operating costs personnel to maintain legacy systems. enable — not inhibit — business High efficiency. Data center associated with legacy systems for many Heightened agility. IT can respond modular scale-out approach. Investment protection. A well-planned Business transformation. Today’s transformation. Modernization is critical organizations by 30 to 70 percent. In rapidly to user change requests and to support the deployment of important addition, standards-based systems help deploy applications and updates trends driving IT, such as cloud computing, drive down operating costs through efficiently with modern applications. virtualization, mobility, social media, big efficient power and cooling technology. This quick response is further enabled data and compliance. the application environment, leading to Ongoing service and support can act as a single source for hardware, significant reductions in operating costs. During a modernization project, Dell software, service and ongoing support. consultants learn the landscape and This end-to-end approach streamlines the Application re-architecting characteristics of an organization’s modernization process and minimizes For organizations running custom application environment. After a possible conflicts from managing multiple applications on legacy systems that are modernization project, many organizations vendors during a migration. Dell leverages constraining business agility, Dell Application therefore engage Dell Services to its broad-based experience in various Re-architecting solutions rebuild legacy provide help-desk support or application vertical domains, including healthcare, applications in an updated Oracle® Java® maintenance through bug fixes, patches, government and financial services, to help or Microsoft® .NET framework. The enhancements, upgrades and basic user organizations optimize their efficiency, re-architecting process helps reduce the provisioning. These support services free up an agility and competitiveness. amount of redundant and outdated custom organization’s IT staff to focus on value-added code in a legacy application portfolio, tasks, such as application development. making it easy to introduce new functionality also migrate data during a re-architecture Building an infrastructure to capitalize on emerging technologies project and help assure that all business- Many organizations have vital assets locked critical features remain intact and complete. inside legacy applications that have served into the planned framework. Dell experts Organizations can choose to enhance them well for years. But legacy environments application functionality during the often cannot cost-effectively handle re-architecture process — for example, to today’s real-time demands. Data center support strategic directives such as cloud modernization provides IT with a pathway and mobile computing — without changing to unlocking these legacy assets while workflows. For applications with incomplete taking advantage of emerging technologies documentation, Dell consultants can reverse Authors Vikram Belapurkar is a solutions marketing manager at Dell, focused on data center modernization and virtualization solutions. He has over a decade of technical and marketing experience spanning enterprise systems and software. Follow Vikram on Twitter @VirtualStorageV. and cost-effective, flexible open platforms. engineer applications to extract program logic before rebuilding the application. For organizations looking to modernize their legacy application environments, Dell Wendy Williams is a marketing manager for Dell Services. She is focused on application services and has over 15 years of experience marketing IT solutions, including application modernization. Learn more Dell, Compellent, EqualLogic, OpenManage and PowerEdge are trademarks of Dell Inc. Dell application modernization services: Dell.com/appmod Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2013 Issue 4. Copyright © 2013 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. Dell.com/powersolutions | 2013 Issue 04 45