The essence of what we’ve discussed to date is the problem – dramatically rising numbers of virtual and physical servers, exploding data traffic and at-rest data – all managed by a relative handful of IT administrators and operations personnel.  So what’s the solution?  It is agility, automation, and adaptability.

The movement toward cloud-based workloads has been a dramatic step forward in terms of agility and automation.  But it doesn’t stop there – it begins there.  Agility means that you’re able to handle business requests that you not only didn’t plan for – but that you couldn’t have planned for.  Agility means that you’re able to handle not only evolutionary shifts in technology (for example, not just 6TB drives moving to 8TB, 10TB, 12TB, and so on) but revolutionary changes (for example, supporting unified server, storage, and fabric solutions such as Cicso UCS.  But note that as your IT infrastructure gets more agile, it’s ever more important to have multi-level visibility into the architectural strata of your data center.

Previously we talked about large data centers and the incredible number of servers that each IT administrator must handle.  Automation is a primary tool in enabling revolutionary changes in productivity. The ability to use tools to automate provisioning, decommissioning, and events, and maintenance are absolutely critical to increase IT staff productivity.

Creating and maintaining adaptable data centers is strategically important.  Agility is difficult if you have a data center that isn’t adaptable to future changes in your business or in technology.  In a real sense, agility and adaptability must be weighed constantly against homogeneity.  We’ll discuss that in more detail in our next post.

This is part 7 of an on-going series.  Part 1: virtualization isn’t the next big thing (NBT) because it was the last big thing (LBT); part 2: data center IP traffic growth; part 3: data center IP traffic sources; part 4: cloud workloads; part 5: large data centers and administrator to server ratios; part 6: strategy overview – adapt or be crushed.