​INSIGHT: Examining the journey to the enterprise-defined data centre

“Defining a data centre strategy should be about defining the services you need to deliver for the business to succeed.”

As the digital wave advances, a transition toward a model where the data centre business is bigger than the data centre alone has begun.

As that shift happens, infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders need to redefine their roles and teams around the enterprise-defined data centre (EDDC).

During the opening keynote at the Gartner Data Centre, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference in Las Vegas, analysts claimed that most enterprises - especially the larger ones - will never eliminate the need for their own data centres.

Most enterprises - perhaps almost all - will be leveraging many external services.

As a result, if your data centre is just delivering a part of what your enterprise needs, you can’t let your hardware define you.

“The I&O team’s responsibilities need to be defined by the data centres and services that the enterprise needs, and not the other way around,” says David Cappuccio, vice president and distinguished analyst, Gartner.

“These services can be traditional on-premises, hosted, co-located or cloud-based - becoming hybrid is the future of the enterprise data centre.”

“Services and hardware may soon come from various sources, but the core requirements - managing, governing, integrating, driving efficiencies, ensuring effective and adequately secured deployments, protecting the enterprise while appropriately enabling the enterprise to fail faster, experimenting - will be a critical core competency,” adds Thomas Bittman, vice president and distinguished analyst, Gartner.

Building the EDDC strategy

When defining a data centre strategy, it’s not about the software, the hardware, the network, the architecture, the vendor or the building; it’s about the services you need to deliver to help your business succeed.

The EDDC is a logical construct of many parts and services.

“You may own some of them, and not others, but they’re all linked by a common goal - the delivery of services to customers,” Cappuccio adds.

“To deliver the EDDC, the I&O organisation needs to expand its skills and toolsets to become a better intermediary in a multi-provider ecosystem.

“Being good at managing just your data centre simply isn’t good enough. Understanding the cascade effects, as parts and services change in the EDDC, and how they affect service delivery will become critical skills.”

The core competency of I&O must therefore change from being good providers, to being good brokers, managers and intermediaries.

The enterprise needs to define its requirements and to help change the definition of what a data centre really is.

The impact

As enterprises move toward EDDC environments, one of the key pain points will be operational processes and tools.

In an EDDC environment, with a hybrid mix of sourcing and architectures, the physical location of an asset (or process) will not be as clearly defined.

However, its attributes, performance, key performance indicators (KPIs) and cost will have a growing impact on how IT delivers services to customers.

At the end of the day, IT remains responsible for that end-user experience, and it will need tools to actively monitor and manage any process, anywhere, at any time.

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