The shifting nature of IT’s role in the enterprise and rapid changes in virtualization and data centre technology are constantly keeping CIOs on their toes.
In a recent Hewlett Packard-sponsored Webinar titled: “Delivering a Next Generation Data Centre,” panelists said data centre management has gone through a fundamental shirt in recent years.
“Two to three years ago data centre management was purely an IT-centric challenge, Today it is a business challenge,” according to Rob Zelinka, Canada-based director of infrastructure for Chicago freight car maker TTX Co.
TTX is in the thick of migrating from mainframe to distributed servers. The move to the open system platform which Zelinka also calls “lights out computing” (because much of the blinking lights of mainframe servers will be extinguished) will potentially cut its power bill by 44 per cent, resulting in 50 per cent savings on software licences and 70 per cent savings on server hardware.
“My responsibilities have shifted from mainly making sure servers are up and running to seeing to it that IT assets help in cutting cost and producing revenues,” Zelinka said.
To accomplish this, CIOs need to come up with strategies to leverage existing and emerging technologies to develop more efficient data centres, according to Jim Thomas, director of IT operations for Pella Corp., a windows and doors manufacturing firm in Pella, Iowa.
“We need to develop strategies to mix and match technologies that are rolling out such as the ability to flow capacity on demand with some of the virtualization technologies,” Thomas said.
Virtualization, he said, is giving rise to new management philosophies around “how and where you can move capacity both in internal and external data centres.”
The overriding concern of CIOs today is how to do “more with less”, according to Jim Coakley, president and CEO of Power Loft, a data centre builder based McLean, Va.
Coakley said the operational cost per kilowatt of data centres are driven by the real the per-foot cost of real estate and IT capital and services expenses.
“By footing a large capital expense on new technologies at the onset, many organizations are able to achieve long-term savings from a smaller data centre footprint and lower operational costs,” Coakley said.