I participated in the #DataCtrChat Twitter chat last week to join in on the conversation about the Agile Data Center. If you haven’t joined in on a Twitter chat recently, you should. The #DataCtrChat is a great one to be a part of, especially if you’re interested in the data center.
One of the questions in last week’s chat was a simple one, but one that has a complex answer. The question was:
What differentiates an Agile Data Center from a traditional data center?
That is an easy question to ask but is a very difficult one to answer. The answer really depends on how each organization views and uses their data center, but I’m going to try to develop an answer in this post.
Every company has a different view about their data center. Some organizations may outsource their entire data center, others may have some cloud presence combined with an on-premises data center while others may have a completely on-premises data center.
Because each organization has a different definition for their data center, it’s difficult to provide a one-size-fits-all answer to the differences between an agile data center and a traditional data center.
That said, we can easily talk about the concept of ‘agility’ within a data center. Regardless of how a company views and uses their data center, there is always room for an agile mindset within the data center.
Thinking about agility within the data center opens up many new avenues for companies to explore. With agility in the forefront of data center planning combined with proper planning around security and operations, organizations can begin to think about utilizing their data center in new and innovative ways. With an agile mindset, the concept of the data center moves away from being a liability that continuously consumes resources to being an efficient and effective way to deliver services to internal and external clients.
With all of this in mind, we can now take a stab at making a generalized answer to the question posed previously. The difference between an “Agile” data center and the “traditional” data center can be summed up with the following sentence:
An Agile Data Center is one that allows organizations to efficiently and effectively add, remove and change services at the speed of the business, not the speed of technology.
In the ‘old’ days of the data center, if the business needed more processing power, someone in IT would need to find an underutilized server and then add that server to whatever platform was needed. In recent years, virtualization could have been used to build a new virtual machine to be provide the processing power needed.
Before virtualization, finding and operationalizing the necessary processor power could take days, weeks or even months. With virtualization, it usually takes much less time to get systems up and running but there are still delays in most organizations.
With the agile mindset and proper planning and system implementation, organizations can go from delays of days to delays of minutes. Using cloud systems and automation, that request for more processing power could take a few minutes rather than a few days. That’s the power of the agile mindset when it comes to the data center.
Agility doesn’t necessarily mean new systems nor does it mean moving your data center to the cloud. It does mean thinking about your data center and your data center capabilities in new ways and then putting in new processes (and perhaps, new systems) to make the data center flexible and agile.