Data Center Consolidation at Guardian Life Case Study Discussion Questions
- Do some Internet research on the reasons why businesses generally invest in data center consolidation projects. What benefits do they commonly hope to realize? How do Guardian’s rationale for consolidating data centers compare to those of other businesses?
- Getting outside consultants to manage data center consolidation projects is a common practice. Discuss the pros and cons of using consultants to manage data center consolidation projects?
- How/why has virtualization fueled business interest in data center consolidation?
- Why is the availability of high-speed, high bandwidth communications an important consideration in data center consolidation plans and decision-making?
- Do some Internet research on modular (pod) data centers. Summarize the advantages of disadvantages of modular data centers. C7-8
- Guardian is consolidating from six to two data centers supplemented with SaaS cloud services. As the company continues to move applications to the cloud, could it consolidate to zero data centers? Why or why not?
- Do you think that winning multiple CIO 100 awards has encouraged Guardian’s IT executives to recommend risky IT projects? Why or why not?
Data Center Consolidation at Guardian Life Case Study Discussion Questions Answered
Benefits of Data Center Consolidation
Data center consolidation refers to organization approach to scale downIT assets by utilizing technologies that are more efficient. Some technologies utilized today to enhance data centers consolidation include cloud computing, server virtualization, better planning of capacity and employing tools for server systems processes, substituting mainframes with smaller blade server systems, and storage virtualization. Consolidation is normally done for a number of reasons. One of the major reasons for data center consolidation is to increase the use of servers that are underutilized so as to lower the consumption of energy by data centers, a move that reduce carbon footprint. Consolidation also plays a great role in enhancing total operational cost (TCO) by reducing the utility cost, redundant personnel and old hardware. They also anticipate getting higher equipment utilization, and obtaining connectivity, redundancy and reliability, which cannot be obtained in discrete data storage. Consolidation also assist in enhancing data and computer hardware security, relieve organization department of IT burden, enhance control and standardization, assist in modernizing data centers through consolidation, and enhance agility to manage changes (Computer Economics, 2007).
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Guardian’s consolidation centers focus on transferring all datacenters from the three locations to create one consolidated center in Bethlehem. This is anticipated to reduce the cost of database management at local level and hence reducing utility cost and IT workers employment cost to the company. Consolidation will also assist in centralizing data security measures and standardizing data access control. Effective physical security measure of the data center can be enhanced and general software security measures are effectively managed and updated. The utilization of the available hardware is anticipated to go up with consolidation. This implies that the company will experience a high level of efficiency in all its data related hardware, without any form of underutilization or overload. However, unlike others, Guardian does not give much attention to cost but more to efficiency.
Use of Consultants to Manage Data Centers Consolidation Project
Large organizations consider outsourcing personnel when handling large IT projects. This is because some of the needed IT specialists during project are expensive and needed within a limited time. In this regard, outsourcing assist in ensuring the required level of proficiency is attained but at a manageable cost. This speeds up engineering advantages, provide the organization with world-class abilities, enhance business focus, free resources for different purposes and enhance sharing of risks. However outsourcing has its own disadvantages that include loss of control of the company IT system since the service levels and responsiveness of the outside vendors cannot match that of internal workers. Outsourcing also kills workers morale especially in situation where the workers can handle the outsourced job. Outsourcing is totally based on the contractual terms,which can result to the loss of the flexibility of the company while moving to a new platform of computing (Antonucci, Lordi& Tucker III, 1998).
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Virtualization and How it Fuel Business Interest in Data Center
Virtualization technology is turning out to be an essential advancement in IT particularly for business organizations. Virtualization divides or integrates the server based environment computing resources to offer various operating environments by use of various techniques and methodologies such as a software and hardware aggregation or partitioning, complete or partial machine time sharing, emulation, and simulation. Virtualization technique is anticipated to augment the use of underutilized servers so as to lower consumption of energy by data center (Uddin & Rahman, 2010).
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Availability of High-Speed, High Bandwidth Communications Important Consideration in Data Center Consideration Plans and Decision-Making
Availability of high bandwidth and high-speed communication facilitate swift data transfer from the data center to the terminals and from the terminals to the data center. This ensures that the data stored in the data center is always updated and available when needed. This high level of swiftness enhances the use of the stored data to make decision, especially when the decision in question requires data projection or reporting. this also ensure that all data needed and modification done on the data at real time is registered in the database such that it is easy to made plans and decision using current and accurate data.
Advantages of Disadvantages of Modular Data Center
A modular solution adapts the best notions of efficiency, reliability, and design. It bundles everything into operationally, repeatable, and prefabricated boosted modular system of data center. This system has scalable and flexible design, it can be developed within a short time period, it has efficient design and defers and reduces capital costs. The main disadvantages of using this system is that it cannot do everything or be fit to everyone since it is produced in pre-determined size thus, users may not be in a position to develop a data center to the actual size they might desire. It is also limits users design preference. These physical limitations may discourage users from using this system.
Consolidate to Zero Data Centers
Cloud provides database services to the company where the company is permitted to access its database, manipulate it as per the individual users’ right and at real time, but virtually. Most companies have shifted their database to cloud to take its various advantages that include cost reduction, good IT services, efficiency in system security, software update among other advantages. Guardian has currently moved part of its application to cloud, reducing its data center from six to two. After experiencing the advantage presented by cloud service Guardian may consider transferring everything to cloud which guarantee data security, instant recovery to disaster, and data redundancy. This means the company can afford consolidation to zero data center in the future, to enjoy the efficiency provided by cloud services.
Effects Multiple CIO 100 Awards
I do not thing that winning numerous CCIO award would encourage the Guardian’s IT executives to recommend risky IT projects. The awards are based in their efficiency in analyzing and recommending IT technology that would enhance business advancement in the company. The team was awarded in the past for being able to assess an IT project and making the right decision based on whether it shall be profitable to the company, especially when they have the right measure to mitigate possible risks. I do not think the awards should negatively influence their way of operation, but it should encourage them to be more committed to their work and more sound when making decisions and recommendation.
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