COVID-19 Vs Data Center? Best Practices to Weather the Storm!

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Talk about data centers and behemoths like “Citadel” located in northern Nevada or the “Kolos” in Norway come to mind. Working for years, these data centers house infinite amounts of data. However, the sudden shift in paradigm due to the COVID-19 pandemic could see organizations move towards cloud storage sooner than later.

As people are quickly adopting Zoom and work-from-home cultures where data is stored and transferred via the cloud, it won't be surprising to see a large majority of organizations migrate completely to cloud storage. While this shift brings along some obvious benefits, there are some associated risks as well.

Data Center to Cloud: What’s Causing the Shift?

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that a physical data center becomes a liability during times of pandemic. Although the infrastructure is physically intact, there are no people accessing this data due to the lockdown. Since IT teams are unable to access their own data and have to still offer service to their customers, it is clear that organizations that moved to cloud-only prior to this pandemic now find themselves in a much stronger and safer position.

Also, organizations that are still using data centers will never be able to compete with the agility, efficiency and unlimited resources that cloud storage can offer. For example, if you were to connect to a major cloud provider right now, you would get no more than 40 milliseconds of latency. That makes even applications like virtual desktops in the cloud a reality.

Pandemic or not, there is no denying the superiority of cloud storage over data centers. No wonder organizations have realized the importance of cloud storage and will make “the shift” sooner rather than later.

Benefits of Cloud-Only Storage

There are a number of benefits of cloud storage for organizations looking to improve their efficiency and move away from physical data storage. The following are some of the key benefits an organization can enjoy.

Adapt and Scale - Since the entire storage space is on cloud, organizations will find it easier to scale their operations, not being bound by physical infrastructure. Furthermore, keeping the current pandemic in mind, cloud storage can easily adapt to any situation that the organization may face, whether internal or external.

Global Access - Cloud storage means that it can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Employees are not required to be on-site in order to access data. Given the current scenario, that is something most organizations are aiming for.

Data centers spread out around the globe allow VPNs to fulfill consumer needs by the range of worldwide server locations. The scope of the VPN is vital to users for several reasons such as changing your IP address, encrypting your data and others.

Analytics and Maintenance - Cloud providers offer analytical and safety tools in order to keep your data safe and show a clear representation of your stored data. In data centers, employees would have to physically be at the site in order to implement any new features or security measures. Maintenance is also a huge task which cloud providers have automated to the point where minimal human interaction is required.

How to Bring Efficiency to Data Centers

While data centers may be going obsolete, there is still a large majority of data centers that are working full time and have offered a large storage space for countless organizations. Data center operators can follow the five following steps in order to maximize efficiency and remain competitive.

Data Hygiene - It is getting easier and easier to store data with each passing day. The best part is that all this data is run through analytics to help organizations assess trends and forecast. While this is highly beneficial for an organization, what about the data left unused?

According to a study by Veritas, 33% of all data stored and processed by organizations is redundant, obsolete, and trivial (ROT). Unattended, this data could cost organizations upwards of $3 trillion globally to manage by 2020. Data centers need to implement good data hygiene to better manage their ROT data and free up valuable computing and storage resources for more critical needs.

Deploy DCIM Tools - Implementing DCIM tools provides visibility into the IT infrastructure of the facility, allowing data center operators to keep an eye on power usage, cooling needs, and traffic demands in real time. They can also analyze historical trends to optimize deployments for better performance and efficiency.

Optimize Data Floor Space - Inefficient deployments can lead to problems like wasted energy going to underutilized servers or too much heat being generated for the cooling infrastructure to manage. The layout of the data floor can be subject to quite a bit of change, especially in a colocation facility where new servers are being deployed on a regular basis. Data centers need to be aware of how every piece of equipment on the data floor interacts with the others in order to optimize the environment efficiently.

Organize Cabling - It is obvious that data centers use quite a lot of cable, whether it’s power cables or fiber-optic network cables. The data center needs ways to manage all that cabling effectively to make sure it all goes to the proper ports. Failure to do so can result in inefficiency, restricted airflow which can damage cooling equipment and other devices and inefficient power distribution.

Cycle Equipment - Technology is rapidly improving and data centers need to update their infrastructure and equipment to stay efficient. New technologies allow data centers to maximize their space and power usage, incentivizing data center operators to replace older, less efficient servers.

Although the world is migrating to the cloud, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, data centers are still forces to be reckoned with and will still be out in force for the foreseeable future. In order to stay up to speed, data centers will need to automate their operations in order to have any chance of staying relevant in the cloud storage era. Post-pandemic, only time will tell if the world completely moves to the cloud or the data centers of yore manage to stage a comeback.

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