What to Consider When Evaluating Data Center Alternatives
Updated: Jan 29
Many IT organizations have faced the need to evaluate their current data center situation and assess where to put their compute power in the future. Several drivers for this moment of soul searching:
You may be reaching the end of your current infrastructure lifecycle and it’s time for a refresh.
Your current data center no longer provides the environmental capacity to support your growth, i.e. power, cooling, etc.
Your IT budget is being consumed by infrastructure capital spending.
Your IT organization is experiencing difficulty finding and retaining the necessary talent to keep things running day-to-day.
You lack adequate disaster recovery.
Your under-utilizing your infrastructure during non-peak business hours.
Your slow to respond to business demand.
There are a tremendous number of options available - building a new data center, moving to a co-location, migrating to the cloud, and / or leveraging as-a-Service models. Each of these options requires considering the financial, strategic, and operational details of your environment to ensure you are making the best short and long-term decision for your organization.
Financial considerations include:
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – This means getting a baseline of what it’s costing you to run your total infrastructure environment today. Everything from people, power, network, licensing, etc. should be factored into the total cost.
Infrastructure Investment / Lifecycle – Are you expecting to make infrastructure investments in the future? Have you already made significant infrastructure investments, and if so what’s their expected length of use? Where you are in your infrastructure lifecycle can drive how quickly you need to pursue your compute options.
Cash Flow – Whether the option is to build a new data center, go to a co-location, migrate to the cloud or a combination of all of the above, the impact to cash flow and OPEX can vary widely based on which option is selected.
The obvious need-to-know on the strategic front is where is the business heading? Is there a five- or ten-year strategic plan that provides insight into organizational objectives such as new markets they may be entering, acquisitions they may be planning, or new products or services they will be offering. Information that provides meaningful insight into what is anticipated in the future from a strategic business perspective will help ensure your selected compute option(s) support the needs of the business as it evolves.
Finally, understanding the operational aspects of the environment is critical. Some operational considerations include:
Application landscape – Are there legacy applications in the environment? Are there plans to modernize them or evaluate or options? Do your applications operate at peak or non-peak usage levels based on the business cycle? Do they require more compute power at different times of the day? Are the applications proprietary? The answers to these questions will dictate whether you upgrade, migrate, and/or leverage SaaS as potential options in the future state. The goal is to determine where the application will best live to ensure continued performance and reliability.
Regulatory or security requirements – Does your organization store personal or healthcare data? Are there specific security requirements mandated by policy for how data and systems are to be secured within your organization? Understanding what internal or external policies are mandated could limit what options you are able to explore.
Skills and expertise – Are you able to hire the resources needed to adequately support your environment. Are the skills and expertise readily available in your region or locale? Making a conscious decision to leverage the resources available with service providers at a co-location or a cloud service provider can ensure important services are maintained and supported as required and mitigate any risk to the business.
Deciding where your future compute needs will reside requires a good bit of due diligence. But taking the time to do your homework and get through the details, will ensure you are making the best long-term decision for your organization.
Let Tsource Help You Evaluate Your Data Center Alternatives
Tsource has been helping our commercial and government clients in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. maximize their potential, right-size their infrastructure, and achieve their business and technology goals since 2003. We've helped customers deliver faster leveraging an Agile approach, improved system availability and performance by modernizing their technology portfolio, and successfully matched hiring managers with great IT talent. Experience matters and with over 30+ years of IT experience in the most diverse and complex environments, we are passionate about helping our customers get the most out of their technology investments by providing them with cost-effective, right-sized solutions. Tsource is a ISO 9001:2015 certified Woman Owned Small Business delivering IT Solutions, Managed Services, and Staffing. If you are interested in working with us, contact us online or give us a call at 410-970-6669.