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The #1 Data Center Optimization Pitfall (and How to Avoid It)

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on September 22, 2017 by Liz Teodorini

Congratulations! Successfully planning and transitioning to a modernized data center is a significant achievement. It will help you meet your business goals and serve your customers better. As you move into the optimization phase, it’s more important than ever to protect the integrity of your infrastructure. Being mindful of the number one pitfall and following strategies to avoid it, will help you keep your new system agile, effective, and secure.

What is the Most Common Pitfall with Data Center Optimization?
The most common error we see is neglecting to create a baseline report. Without a record of losses and gains in cost savings, productivity, reclaimed space, and agility, your business has no way to measure the performance of your data center. And without this comparison, you have little insight for future optimization.

Best Practices for Avoiding the Most Common Optimization Pitfalls

Define your goals

This practice begins in the early days of your modernization analysis when you’re investigating your current infrastructure and determining organizational needs. As you delve into your gaps analysis, ask:

a) What are your IT department’s key goals?
b) What are your business’ key goals?

While these perspectives will undoubtedly intersect, it’s useful to identify and record the specifics. With these goals in-hand from the very outset, you’ll already be ahead come the optimization phase.

Create a baseline report

Take the time to record in as much detail as possible how your system is performing on four fronts: cost, security, productivity, and space. Ensure your report reflects the goals identified above. For example, if one of your business goals is to reduce the time it takes to deploy new applications across your system, ensure you have recorded the numbers for this task.

Run regular assessments

Re-assess so you can compare against these key performance indicators (KPIs). This will give you insights into how your system is working and where improvements are needed.

Use operational management software

With operational management software, you can create dashboards to monitor your various KPIs. It will help you take a proactive approach to problems, identifying and correcting them before they impact your business—or your customers. And functionality within the software, such as change request boards, will help with cross-department collaboration.

Monitor in real-time

Constant monitoring in real-time will allow you to compare your benchmarks and original goals with actual output. A dashboard view is the absolute easiest way to do this.

Reassess and repeat

Develop a set schedule to reassess the data center. The optimization process is cyclical. It’s important that this assessment process is ongoing so that improvements and areas for improvement remain transparent and you don’t end up with a “to fix” list so long you won’t be able to complete it. Also, be sure to review your business goals and KPIs on a set schedule to ensure they remain relevant. If not, adjust them as you go.

Organizations with the best optimization program are those that incorporated optimization into their modernization plan from the beginning. Do this and you will ensure that your IT goals and your business goals drive the process.

Want to learn more? Download our free guide, Modernizing Your Data Center.

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