Blog IconAccommodating a business’ storage needs all too often creates a snowball effect of infrastructure costs. Particularly for businesses mining Big Data for B.I. purposes – but also in certain industries such as healthcare, media production, or utilities – data growth rates frequently more than double the amount of storage required annually. The end result of this massive reoccurring expenditure is a shifting of funds away from projects that actually matter.

Every terabyte of unnecessary media, particularly for high performing applications, can cost your organization thousands of dollars to acquire, and 3-10 times that much over its life cycle. Unfortunately, most businesses are going about the storage expansion process all wrong, and this is a costly mistake. The crux of this issue is accurate capacity planning and effective capacity management.

When asked why a 70% storage expansion was planned for this year, one infrastructure manager replied: “because that’s what we did last year”.  So why is this method used so frequently? Ultimately, it is easy and safe. Essentially, the size of the ‘bucket’ of available storage this year is used as the basis for next year’s ‘bucket’.  All too often, storage expansion becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that isn’t actually connected with what matters – the individual drivers of new data. By focusing on data growth, rather than storage growth, organizations can trim the fat off of their infrastructure budget.

This approach sounds great in theory, and does work in practice, but there is a risk here. Under-provisioning of storage could occur if growth estimates are too conservative, and can interrupt your ability to conduct ongoing business. Hence the critical role of accurate, and granular, capacity planning. The current options available for capacity planning are either limited in view or unreasonably expensive.  This is something that we have attempted to address with a new planning tool in our recent blueprint “Tackle Explosive Data Growth on a Tight Storage Budget” (click on the infographic below to go to the project blueprint).

storage_affordability_gap

As a side benefit, understanding the sources and requirements of individual data creators doesn’t only ease the strain on your IT budget. It also lets you make smarter long-term investment decisions impacting performance and other end-user requirements, since for the first time you truly understand the inner workings of your ‘buckets’.

A change in mindset is the important first step; move from reacting to data growth to actually mitigating it and shaping how it will occur.

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We have just introduced a great opportunity for our Ontario clients to gain powerful insights into new IT research in an engaging workshop – at no cost. Info-Tech Research Group has zero-cost, interactive Pilot Workshops available to Ontario clients for 2-day sessions during the week of:

October 28 to November 1 (pending scoping call & analyst availability)Applications and Infrastructure

Be among the first to discover new developments in IT research, and take part in test-driving it to ensure top performance. These dynamic, 2-day workshops will be delivered by our Senior Consulting Analysts – on-site at your location. Your team will collaborate with subject matter experts to create action plans and completed project deliverables.

Sign up now for these workshops – available on a first come, first served basis.

Info-Tech Pilot Workshops

IT Applications

  1. Optimize your development process for security in an untrusted world BOOKED
  2. Respond to today’s distributed application complexity and development resource constraints by using PaaS
  3. Optimize your enterprise collaboration strategy to enable effective teamwork and knowledge sharing BOOKED
  4. Assess and optimize enterprise architecture capability BOOKED
  5. Develop a Big Data architecture and implementation plan
  6. Optimize Business Intelligence with an operating model BOOKED
  7. Optimize workflows to attain ERP value
  8. Build the IT capabilities to enable digital marketing success

IT Infrastructure

  1. Tackle explosive data growth on a tight storage budget
  2. Build & implement an organic business-driven security governance & management program BOOKED
  3. Develop a hosted or hybrid IP telephony and UC strategy and implementation plan BOOKED
  4. Secure your critical systems and intellectual property against advanced persistent threats
  5. Stop managing end-point devices

BOOK NOW by contacting Will Evanson at workshopbooking@infotech.com or calling (519) 936-2652 ext. 2914. We will then arrange a 30 minute scoping call with our Senior Consulting Analysts to discuss the details of the workshop and schedule the session at your location.

We welcome you and your organization to collaborate in the development of our exciting new research!

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Since entering the world of information technology (IT), I have been bombarded with acronyms. One that can’t be escaped in recent years is BYOD: bring your own device. Using personal technology in the workplace is almost a given now, but the BYO phenomenon has expanded beyond booze and devices, bringing a whole new batch of acronyms. Fellow analyst Karly Campbell put together this handy infographic for figuring out what all these new acronyms mean, and what companies are doing about them:

BYOE - BYOE Infographic

All these new terms only reflect a deeper reality: technology is changing faster than ever. It can be almost impossible to keep up, which makes it tough to implement a BYOE (that’s “everything,” BTW) strategy. That’s why we recommend aiming for BYOE strategy that doesn’t target specific devices, apps, or networks, but rather enables employees to do their jobs using whatever tools are best at the time.

One tool that can help IT is mobile device management. Except MDM has moved beyond device management, encompassing a suite of features with their own acronyms. Here at Info-Tech, we are increasingly referring to MDM by a more descriptive set of letters: EMM, or enterprise mobility management:

BYOE - EMM Infographic

I’m sure more new acronyms are coming. We have a few upcoming research projects that will help: Create a Practical BYOE Action Plan will let IT deal with whatever letter comes after BYO, and Implement Enterprise Mobility Management will make you A-OK with EMM.

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Data center infrastructure has become much more complex, both in terms of the types of technologies deployed and the number of vendors who provide both standardized and custom solutions.

In this increasingly diverse environment, there is an urgent nFuture-Proof-the-Data-Center-Distroeed for centralized management tools that provide a unified view of all aspects of data center infrastructure.

A typical data center has separate systems management applications for servers, racks, network, power, cooling, and facilities. All of this critical data goes to different consoles and is often managed by different support teams. The result is a lack of coordination of the data center’s assets as a whole.

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solves this challenge by collecting data from different components and presenting a single view of the infrastructure that integrates management of all data center assets and systems.

DCIM provides a common, real-time monitoring and management platform for all interdependent systems across IT and facility infrastructures.

The benefits are:

- Higher availability of critical IT systems by proactively identifying potential points of failure and resolving problems before service is impacted.

- Lower energy costs by accurately measuring energy usage of individual components and then configuring racks so that safe operation at higher densities is possible

- Optimal server placement with regard to power, cooling, and space requirements; resulting in lower energy and facility costs.

- Intelligent capacity planning by automatically commissioning new equipment, eliminating manual processes that are very costly and time consuming.

- Maximize performance and efficiency of IT and facility infrastructures by monitoring key performance indicators and making adjustments in real-time.

DCIM brings together best-of-breed hardware, software, and processes to dramatically improve asset management, energy management, and service management – all in one toolset.

If you are looking to achieve the benefits that DCIM provides, we recommend evaluating it using Info-Tech’s Data Center Roadmap Assessment Tool.  You can find the tool in our Future-Proof the Data Center solution set. The tool will help you decide whether to include DCIM on your technology roadmap.

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152994631Since its creation in 2001, the Agile Manifesto has helped transform software development. Many organizations have embraced its iterative approach to development that facilitates the frequent release of working software in short sprints. Teams take on an attitude of “just enough.” For Agile developers, it is more important to deliver software to the clients quickly and often, than to spend a longer period of time perfecting a final product. The customer is able to provide intermittent feedback and developers can adapt accordingly before the last release. The idea is to fail early and fail fast.

Agile has proven itself to be a valuable approach in the Dev environment, but it has not yet been widely considered for IT Infrastructure. Can Infrastructure adapt Agile methods for their own teams to increase the frequency and speed of Infrastructure releases? Critics will argue that Agile is ill-suited to the conservative, risk-averse Infrastructure environment, and it might be if it is not tailored to the needs of individual Operation groups. However, if it is implemented correctly, an Agile approach is EXACTLY what Infrastructure needs to begin matching the agility and adaptability of the Business it supports.

When you remove development from the equation, Agile is simply a philosophy that values people and collaboration over processes and tools. A tool or process is only as effective as the individuals responsible for putting it to use.

Infrastructure is tasked with maintaining a stable environment, delivering new and enhanced functionality to the Business, and ensuring that internal and external regulations are met. It’s no wonder that IT governance is often over-built to protect against failure and outages. This might ensure good control, but also discourages change and makes it almost impossible for Infrastructure to match the speed of Business development, or to keep up with shifting Business priorities. This is where Agile can help.

When Infrastructure gets Agile, the result will be a faster time to market for Infrastructure release, without any sacrifice of control. The appropriate experts will be used advantageously to give the CIO greater confidence in approving more frequent change. IT will be able to embrace a culture of saying YES to the Business, because teams are in place to handle a higher rate of change without risking Infrastructure stability.

Perhaps the greatest value of Agile is in its approach to team collaboration. Walk into an Infrastructure department and you might be hard pressed to know who is working on what. When that shop gets Agile, every single project that Infrastructure takes on will be broken down into tasks, given task owners and deadlines, and moved along a visual board from start to complete. Visibility is increased amongst team members, and outside stakeholders will never have to ask twice about the status of a project.

There will be a massive payoff for Infrastructure teams willing to apply Agile to their change and release processes. The most significant benefits will be faster and more frequent releases and a reduction in change related incidents, but this only scratches the surface of Agile’s value. If you ever dismissed Agile as a philosophy reserved for developers, you should consider taking a second look.

To learn how your Infrastructure team can begin reaping the rewards of this approach, read Info-Tech’s solution set Deploy Changes More Rapidly by Going Agile.

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