Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Growing Data Center Challenges

Posted by Mark Brousseau

Data center managers could be facing even more pressure. R. Edwin Pearce (, executive vice president of sales and corporate development for eGistics, Inc. (, explains:

Just when data center and IT managers assumed things couldn’t get any worse, along comes a report from Gartner predicting that the critical issues facing data centers – namely, technology, space and energy challenges – will worsen in 2010. Coupled with the tremendous cost pressures brought on by the economic downturn, the Gartner report should provide a heightened sense of urgency for data center and IT managers looking for pragmatic ways in which to deal with their operations issues.

In its report, Gartner provides several tips for helping reduce data center costs:

• Eliminate those systems that are underutilized or old
• Consolidate multiple sites
• Better manage energy and facilities costs
• Better manage people costs
• Delay the procurement of new assets

To be sure, these are all sound strategies. But savvy data center managers already have implemented (or at least considered) these strategies in response to the economic downturn. In other words, most data centers may have already squeezed as much savings as possible from their infrastructure.

Responding to the data center challenges that Gartner predicts requires a different approach.

Hosted Archive and Delivery
A better strategy is to leverage a hosted image and data archive to address today’s today data center challenges. Able to support images and data from any source, in virtually any format, a hosted archive provides authorized users with access to business information, anytime and anywhere via the Internet. Further, hosted archive solutions can integrate easily into an organization’s existing operations and IT environment, underlying a heterogeneous applications infrastructure.

Assuming companies partner with a provider that leverages redundant Tier 1 state-of-the-art facilities using national communications firms, hosted solutions offer other benefits compared to in-house:

Totally Variable Expense – Hosted archive solutions require no capital investment; customers typically are charged a one-time load fee to add documents. And when an array fills up, or a server must be replaced, it’s the hosted archive vendor’s problem.

Improved Compliance and Security – No one can argue the alphabet soup of stiffer regulatory requirements to control information. Leveraging a hosted redundant archive solution allows companies to offload much of this burden on their vendor. To address the compliance and security issues a vendor must use facilities that are SAS-70 I and II certified, HIPAA compliant, provide audit trails on all activity, and puts stringent controls on access.

Solution Flexibility –Hosted archive solutions vendors already are adept in providing services for multiple applications, processes and document types, and with distributed environments. Most vendors also have the ability to deliver tailored solutions that an internal IT department may not have the expertise to develop. Similarly, hosted solutions can be rapidly installed, and applications quickly added.

Scalability – The performance of in-house archives deteriorates with high volumes and the addition of applications. But there are hosted solutions that archive tens of billions of documents – growing by hundreds of millions per month – with no negative impact. What’s more, the ability to scale hosted archive load rates depending on needs opens unprecedented opportunities for companies who need scalability and availability during times of peak demand, but also need to keep their costs low.

Guaranteed Performance – By virtue of their redundancy and automatic failover, most hosted solutions providers will offer service level agreements (SLAs) guaranteeing 99.999 percent availability – or just 26 minutes of downtime per year. That’s piece of mind.

This all adds up to a comprehensive solution that can help organizations meet worsening data center challenges, while laying a solid foundation that can improve corporate agility and enhance service.

What do you think? Post your comments below.


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