Future-proofing the data centre

It is essential that businesses ensure their data centres are ready for the future

Tags: Brocade (www.brocade.com)Cloud computing
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Future-proofing the data centre Curt Beckmann, EMEA Chief Technology Architect, Brocade
By  Curt Beckmann Published  January 21, 2015

Technology trends such as big data, cloud and pervasive mobility are transforming the way we live and work, and having a dramatic impact on businesses and consumers. The benefits from these trends are varied and wide-ranging, but they all have a common element underpinning them; the data centre. Our reliance on this infrastructure is tied to our increasing consumption of data, a dependence which has never been greater and which shows no signs of slowing down.

It's therefore essential that businesses ensure their data centres are ready for the future. It is already critical for businesses to have scalable and flexible data centre infrastructure, with any downtime likely to prove hugely costly. Long after technical faults are resolved, such issues can impact a business' profitability and cause irreparable damage to brand and reputation. For example, just consider the impact if your bank or mobile operator's online services suffered prolonged outages. 

As a result, it's no longer viable for data centres to delay the inevitable and just try and squeeze the most out of legacy infrastructure. Fundamental changes are needed to prepare for the future. Now is the time for data centre owners and business leaders need to embrace innovation.

To gauge future needs, businesses and their IT decision makers must acknowledge the four core elements that accelerate the evolution of data centres:

1. The prevalence of virtualisation

Virtualisation is now prominent in the majority of data centres and requires a much more elegant and robust network topology to provide the raw performance and management flexibility needed.

2. The demand for network reliability

The advent of faster networks, more (virtual) data centre capacity and higher security requirements means network resilience is critical. As companies continue to empower mobile working, the need for a secure and reliable network is paramount.

3. The drive for ‘always-on' accessibility

The adoption of cloud-based services, either on an application-level (such as CRM tools like Salesforce.com) or by outsourcing entire IT requirements to hosting providers, has meant that the need for 24-7 network accessibility and resilience has never been greater.

4. The need for scalability

Modern data centres have to deal with more volume - service more users, applications and data. This is a trend that will only increase and will require a highly flexible and scalable data centre infrastructure.

So what does the data centre of the future look like? The question remains of how to respond to these trends and developments and provide a data centre that can cope with requirements how should data centres, now and in the future? There are three key steps that businesses should consider.

A strong foundation
The physical networking infrastructure provides the basis for any data centre, one that provides the connectivity between applications, servers and storage. A fabric-based networking topology is required for businesses that want to embrace a highly flexible and agile on-demand model as it provides the ability to build scalable cloud infrastructures that also reduce cost. A fabric-based network, both at the IP and storage layers, can address the growing complexity in IT and data centres today by simplifying network design and management.

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