Now that we are fully into the summer months, many IT departments may feel it is too late for an infrastructure spring clean. However, there is never a bad time to tackle this challenge head-on. Regularly reviewing your business’ current operations and equipment will help you become more streamlined when it matters most: right now. So, what are the best ways to ensure a successful tech cleanup this summer?
Space equals spend
Infrastructure needs have changed drastically due to the evolving business landscape. No longer is it necessary for enterprises to have such a large footprint. Instead, IT administrators can modernise their approach by making some smart swaps: consolidate and replace old, cumbersome servers and storage boxes with cutting-edge hyperconverged appliances to improve infrastructure. This gives you the ability to do away with racks and racks of physical hosts for computing devices (as well as redundant storage devices), replacing them with one appliance. The resulting cost and time savings mean less management and maintenance of devices, giving you more for your money and facilitating future growth.
The simple life
One of the many advantages of hyperconverged infrastructure is simplified management. Instead of having to consult several consoles for bits of information about storage, backup/disaster recovery, hypervisor, virtualisation, servers, etc., hyperconvergence allows IT teams to use just one console for a total management solution across all of the various components. This makes it much easier to conduct maintenance and diagnostics, and is another way to enjoy cost-savings over having to buy an extra layer of management, at extra cost, to bundle solutions under a single console. By cutting down on complexity and saving time, hyperconvergence simplifies infrastructure management and maintenance.
Time for a vendor declutter
Businesses should also be thinking further than just the management workstation. Needing to use numerous vendors for every area that you manage—with one vendor for servers, another for storage, and still others for virtualisation and DR—complicates your infrastructure and can become problematic each time a challenge arises. Multiple vendors mean not only multiple contracts to review and renew plus multiple support numbers to call, but also that there are myriad ways for one vendor to try to pass the buck to another, rather than admit fault or wrong-doing. To avoid this troublesome “vendor clutter,” consider ways to reduce the number of vendors that you currently rely on—ideally shifting to a solution can be provided by a single vendor. A hyperconverged infrastructure, for example, is provided by a single vendor across the board for servers, storage, virtualisation, and backup.
Save money on software licensing
Although organising your software licensing can be a daunting task, it's an area that needs attention. Many solutions create a snowball effect when it comes to licensing—it isn’t enough to simply purchase a license for software use since that’s limited in many ways. If you want the ability to use one console for software management on various servers, it may require another license. Not every feature of the software will be covered by the initial usage license, either. Before you know it, you may find yourself spending more time trying to manage your software licensing than managing your infrastructure, which will only lead to more gaps and problems. And just when you think you’ve got licensing figured out, you’ll need to keep renewing each license annually, racking up charges. So be sure to evaluate how you’re handling your licensing as part of your revamping this summer. Seek a solution that helps minimise the amount of software licensing that’s needed, allowing for a one-time payment rather than a constant draining of resources and IT management time.
Plan, but don’t pay, for the future
While being future-proof is important, it’s time to stop paying too far in advance. Many administrators get talked into springing for future infrastructure, even though it’s clear that everything will have changed a few years down the road. Why spend a chunk of your budget on technology that will likely be outdated in three to five years? Not only is this approach a waste of valuable resources, but you’ll also waste space and management time in storing and maintaining these purchases. A more effective approach is to provision what you need now, and wait to reap the cost benefits of prices coming down on that same technology in the future. By opting for a hyperconverged infrastructure, you simplify future scale out and your ability to add up-to-date technology when it’s really needed.
It is vital that you take these steps refresh your IT regularly. No matter what the season, now is as good a time as any to get your IT infrastructure spick and span for a more efficient, economical, and successful IT strategy.
Alan Conboy, Office of the CTO, Scale Computing