Looking to the future

This month in Network Middle East, we looked at three of the top enterprise IT technologies; data centres, virtualisation, and disaster recovery, and how innovations in each of these fields are making these technologies easier, and cheaper to implement

Tags: Disaster recoveryVirtualisation
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Looking to the future
By  Georgina Enzer Published  November 28, 2012

This month in Network Middle East, we looked at three of the top enterprise IT technologies; data centres, virtualisation, and disaster recovery, and how innovations in each of these fields are making these technologies easier, and cheaper to implement.

Enterprises are now looking to shrink their data centre footprint - or do away with in-house data storage all together, improve use of their existing data centre hardware to give better returns on investment and reduce IT budgets.

In the data centre space, innovations such as modular data centres are coming to the fore. Instead of having to buy physical space for the data centre, get data centre designers, buy equipment separately from different vendors and go though a process that can be several years long, companies can now pick their hardware, software and specifications and the vendor installs all the equipment and tests the full data centre before shipping it either in a flatpack format which can be assembled by the customer, or a 40-foot container ready to be plugged in.

Both these formats are ultimately cheaper than building your own data centre. These modular data centres can be deployed in as little as six months, meeting the ever growing requirement for more and more data space quickly, and more rack space can easily be added or another module linked in to increase the storage capacity.

Another development, which is gaining traction in the region is outsourcing data, or investing in co-location services. This concept dramatically reduces the money enterprises have to spend on data centres. They no longer need to buy equipment, space or hire staff to maintain the data centre, they simply hire the rack space from a co-location company and this space can be increased or decreased on demand. While this concept is very new in the region, it is growing in popularity as IT budgets continue to shrink.

As ever, virtualisation is gaining traction in the region, particularly among SMBs, a sector that has traditionally seen late adoption of this technology. The massive budget savings and improvements in efficiency that can be had by virtualising data centre infrastructure continues to make this technology a must have, and no longer something that companies can afford to ignore.  Virtualisation is not just spreading into the data centre space for every day applications, it is also moving into disaster recovery.

Disaster recovery is going to be a very hot topic in 2013 and beyond, according to regional experts, and for many companies it will be the insurance policy they did not know they needed until they needed it.

Climate change is a key driver of disaster recovery uptake, because as the climate changes, so natural disasters increase. For example, recent events like Hurricane Sandy in North America caused approximately $50 billion in damages, including leaving eight million homes and businesses without power.

An exciting trend is the growing importance of mobile disaster recovery sites built in mobile, modular data centres, such as those built in a 40-foot shipping container that can be placed anywhere and then unplugged and moved to another site when needed. Another important trend to highlight, particularly for SMBs, is that small companies do not need to invest in an entire data centre for disaster recovery, they can simply utilise a rack or even part of a virtualised server  and can hire space from a co-location provider. This means that disaster recovery is within reach of not just large businesses, but SMBs too.

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