Monday, October 2, 2023

Data Center Modernization: Balancing the Benefits with the Increasing Costs

By Swapnil Mishra - May 12, 2023 6 Mins Read

Data Center Modernization: Balancing the Benefits with the Increasing Costs

Data center modernization must extend beyond hardware replacements or upgrades. Managers should also evaluate maintenance and software programs that have evolved due to digitization

Today, a company’s ability to deliver exceptional time-to-results for mission-critical applications or customer-facing services ever faster and more reliably gives it a competitive advantage.

This digital transformation and the explosion in corporate data have ushered CIOs and IT leaders into an era of relentless scaling in the background, specifically in the data center.

Organizations are under pressure to provide a high-performance foundational compute infrastructure across the enterprise to develop new delivery models and manage novel use cases, even as they struggle with inflation and economic unpredictability.

These issues are beyond the control of CIOs and infrastructure decision-makers. They include new demands on the data center, economic volatility, inflation well above current levels (primarily due to significantly increased energy costs), and more.

A tempting option in these circumstances might be to hold off and delay investment in data center infrastructure, even if that investment would deliver higher performance within a constricting power, cost, and space envelope.

Also Read: How Artificial Intelligence and Automation Are Transforming Industries

Addressing the typical problems with older data centers

Companies with older data centers occasionally experience normal growing pains over time. These include inadequate cooling, a lack of room for capacity expansion, or an electrical infrastructure that isn’t adaptable enough to handle rapid growth.

There are a few ways to deal with these problems to support uptime and sustainability efforts. Adding prefabricated modular data centers with dedicated row-based cooling and one or more rows of racks grouped is one way to expand capacity. Advanced and energy-efficient systems can increase capacity using this modular “scale as you grow” strategy.

Additionally, this strategy typically deploys more quickly and is less expensive. Another option is to replace obsolete parts with new ones in older physical infrastructure components like electrical distribution systems and uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs). Innovative technology that extends life lowers the total cost of ownership and supports sustainability initiatives. It has improved many more recent UPS models and electrical distribution systems.

Modernize the software and upkeep of data centers

Data center modernization must extend beyond hardware replacements or upgrades. Managers should also evaluate maintenance and software programs that have evolved due to digitization. Digitally connected sensors can offer operators useful information that they can use to improve optimization, adaptability, and efficiency. The good news is that outdated data centers can use this technology even though they are older.

Businesses can implement digitalization by retrofitting electrical systems with smart devices and energy and power management. Data center teams can access this information through monitoring software to improve performance, monitor energy usage, and perform condition-based maintenance.

By avoiding pointless service visits, this method will help the assets in data centers last longer and save time. A benefit of this strategy is that businesses can modernize the functional parts of their existing electrical equipment, which minimizes material waste during the modernization process.

The three pillars of modernizing data centers

Three key pillars should be the focus of CIOs who want to update their data centers. The first is using the enterprise’s data to provide real-time, actionable insights essential to the business’s operation. This requires the highest bandwidth, lowest latency, and fastest throughput systems.

Consolidating infrastructure is the second way to achieve cost savings. Third, reduced energy use and a smaller carbon footprint are needed to meet the sustainability goals, which are becoming an increasingly important part of corporate stewardship.

The good news for CIOs still watching their CAPEX and OPEX budgets is that all three goals are feasible using the most recent CPU generations. These offer record-breaking reductions in the number of servers, power used, and savings in CAPEX and OPEX, as well as significant improvements in the critical performance areas of core density and per-core performance.

The cost of waiting is continuously rising

The Return on investment of a data center increases when updated tech and tools are in place. The most recent generation of storage technologies offers more effective solutions, delivering the same or higher performance with fewer servers, resulting in cost savings.

Even though IT decision-makers are concerned that CAPEX costs will increase if they plan for upgrades, the cost of inaction will soon surpass the cost of modernization. That implies that the opportunity cost of time lost in delaying decisions keeps rising.

The cost increases as the infrastructure gets older

The issue is that maintaining outdated servers is not cheap. The performance of older equipment falls over time, requiring more time, money, and space to support it. Older servers are likelier to crash, leading to unanticipated downtime and more expensive maintenance. They are much more susceptible to highly skilled, deliberate attacks.

Pushing the boundaries of available power, cooling, and space will result in higher power costs for data centers. They will gradually be unable to keep up with the rising and shifting business demands. Therefore, prolonging the life of aging infrastructure may reduce CAPEX, but at the expense of increasing OPEX.

Additionally, it runs the risk of losing market share and revenue. The truth is that delaying the renewal of IT infrastructure for data centers is not an option. Modern enterprises require modernized data centers that can support simpler, software-defined environments that enhance operations, agility, flexibility, and scalability with a lower TCO to serve modern customers.

Also Read: How Human-Centered Approach Can Enhance Employee Productivity

Improve the lifespan and design of infrastructure

Each processor generation uses less power than before for a given amount of processing power. Therefore, upgrading from one generation to the next can improve performance or reduce power consumption. Regardless of what businesses decide to do, all of them can review some of their procedures to lessen the energy and carbon footprints of their data. Each optimization area can be combined, adding a piece to the puzzle.

Consider implementing tools for real-time monitoring of operational parameters to optimize energy yields of installations and foresee drifts (digital twin) or optimize software layers to avoid needless redundancies. These are just a few fundamental concepts that can help companies make progress quickly.

Data centers have a huge opportunity to integrate environmentally friendly practices into their operations at a time when environmental impact has become a mission-critical component of business operations. Most importantly, everyone is affected by the necessity of ecological sustainability.

As a result, all parties involved must take action, assume responsibility, and work hard to create a more sustainable future.

Check Out The New Enterprisetalk Podcast. For more such updates follow us on Google News Enterprisetalk News.


Swapnil Mishra

Swapnil Mishra is a global news correspondent at OnDot Media, with over six years of experience in the field. Swapnil has established herself as a trusted voice in the industry, specializing in technology journalism encompassing enterprise tech. Having collaborated with various media outlets, she has honed her skills in writing about executive leadership, business strategy, industry insights, business technology, supply chain management, blockchain and data management. As a journalism graduate, Swapnil possesses a keen eye for editorial detail and a mastery of language, enabling her to deliver compelling and informative news stories. She has a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex technical concepts into easy-to-understand language.

Subscribe To Newsletter

*By clicking on the Submit button, you are agreeing with the Privacy Policy with Enterprise Talks.*