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How to make a case for a data center upgrade

February 28, 2019

IT staffs around the world agree on one thing—getting a CTO to agree on a large, upfront investment requires a large miracle. That rings especially true with data center upgrades. The transition into a new ecosystem often has management wondering why they’re scrapping perfectly functional hardware only to buy more. 
 
Thanks to more predictable ROI, leasing options and cloud strategies, it’s now a little easier to make a business case for data center upgrades.
 
5 tips to make a business case for a better data center                                                                                                                                                                                  
1) Lead with CapEx and TCO
Map out the dollars. Only when IT makes a business case for lowering capital expenditure (CapEx), along with total cost of ownership (TCO), does it become a viable option. For example, by shrinking the power-drawing components of a data center—networking, storage and compute—IT can very well be on a path to substantial savings. Hyperconvergence takes all three and puts them into a singular box. IT can put a dollar figure on that.
 
2) Propose a hybrid cloud strategy
If agility is critical when it comes to your data center, then the hybrid cloud play is worthy of your consideration. This nimble environment enables you to combine on-premises storage with public cloud assets. Perhaps the biggest plus is that you can always start small and scale as needed.
 
Disaster recovery is also a big part of this conversation. Intelligently designed hybrid cloud architectures can provide optimal disaster recovery without huge capital and operational investments. By leveraging the public cloud for compute, backup storage or an entire secondary infrastructure, companies can maintain control of sensitive production data while meeting recovery time and recovery point objectives. Although transferring back and forth between the two can get expensive, it’s much less costly than a catastrophic disaster.  
 
3) Consolidate licensing structures
CTOs and IT managers often experience serious vendor fatigue. Let’s say your organization is running a server, switch and SAN—each manufactured by a different vendor. That’s three different licensing and renewal structures, which often means more headaches for the bosses. All-in-one environments (e.g., Lenovo’s Converged HX Series) eliminate that issue as it enables easy deployment and manageability in scale-out clusters.
 
4) Talk up solid-state drives (SSDs)
Organizations are processing extreme amounts of input/output operations thanks to SSD technology. As SSDs get faster and more affordable, we’ll only see more of them in enterprise data centers. In fact, Gartner predicts that up to 25% of data centers may use all-flash arrays for primary storage by 2020, with ROI of under six months in some cases.
 
Good news: The price of SSD technology is dropping. Today, you’re paying pennies per gig. Although SSDs are more expensive than HDDs, the cost for both has decreased dramatically. Companies have long ditched 60GB-capacity drives for the cost savings of 256GB, 512GB and 1TB SSDs—with larger data centers investing in multiple TBs at a time. Other factors, including IOPS per watt and capacity and performance per rack, also make SSDs attractive across the enterprise.
 
5) Consider a software-defined data play
Shrink your hardware costs by moving to a software-defined environment. Instead of managing your data in multiple locations, you can manage block, file and object data from one centralized hub. Not only can you save on pricey hardware, but you’re also more agile in terms of mitigating disasters and data breaches. Simply put, leveraging a software-defined infrastructure enables you to manage data easily and efficiently.  
 

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