By now, we have seen the building blocks of datacenter like Racks, Cables, Power, Cooling, etc; we have also learnt about its different aspects including how to Managing your Datacenter. It’s time for us to see other components of its life cycle. In this article, we will go through a different view upon planning and procuring datacenter components.
Before we start.. Welcome Back! I have been busy with holiday season, friends and family for a while so couldn’t contribute to my own blog; well its never too late. Okay.. Lets get back to business.
Most of the organization having in-house datacenter follows a common mission statement: “To Facilitate the Hardware Availability for Data Center Operations & Efficient Utilization, for the Purpose of Business Continuity with less TCO & More ROI.”. I assume most of you know about the DataCenter Life Cycle Management and the activities involved in it. I am not an expert, but I tried to give my view on DataCenter Life Cycle and Management Framework below:
If we focus on the inner most ring of this framework, we can find the core activities in Datacenter Lifecycle i.e. Analyze, Design, Plan, Procure and Deploy. Analysis happens at very initial stage where we collect information; we hear the Voice of Customer and convert that into requirements. Once you have all the requirements, we need to size the environment accordingly and create a high level design of how things will be deployed or how components will integrate or talk to each other. Later comes the most hectic part of this life cycle. Upper Management, off course, cares about mostly the money. As we have traditionally heard about our AIM for IT Managements:
· The Reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
· The Increase the Return of Investments (ROI)
Challenge comes, how to achieve it? I have done multiple projects on IT cost optimization in my past experience, I will be sharing one of them in this article.
Applying Lean Six Sigma Methodology
In Lean Six Sigma, I have learnt about problem solving and improvements via DMAIC process i.e. Define Measure Analysis Improve and Control. Now going back to the problem that we all are facing with High Cost, I tried to use Fish Bone technique to give an overview of how we are getting High Cost in IT Operations in DataCenter. Below is my very basic analysis of high cost, off course, there are multiple branches, pros and cons for every consideration, but like I said, this is just an overview to help you understand where I am coming from.
If you notice, under Money; Annual Maintenance Cost (support) and Procurement are the two major contributors to Operational Expenses and Money expenditure for every environment. Now, I am sure you might have head How Virtualization makes your life easy with features to bring in like Centralize Management, Less support cost etc, so I am not touching on that. However, Lets talks about how we can reduce cost during procurement itself considering virtualization and other techniques.
Legendary Procurement Process “As Is”
Below is the “As is” procurement workflow followed in usually in every organization.
Now, as you can see there are multiple flaws with this process:
• There is No check on optimized usage of existing hardware before new procurement
• There is No check on timelines of usage of New hardware to be procured.
• There are No Guidelines available to choose the Right Hardware for project.
• There is No check if Virtualization can avoid procurement
• Methodology to Track the current role, usage & future plan of Data center hardware is Missing
• Unplanned procurement leads to wastage of CAPEX & OPEX Budget.
Now to make it better, we need first put in our thoughts to Identify the need – what you really want?
- Do I need More Hardware in my Environment?
- Does present solution meet my needs?
- Do I have Areas of Improvement?
- Do I have 100% Utilization of Existing Resources?
- Am I buying Hardware as per the Roadmap?
- Do I need to Invest to Manage existing Resources?
- Do I need Business Continuity or Data Availability?
- Do I have enough Hardware to Meet the Dynamic Needs?
- Do I Track the Usage of Existing Hardware?
Definitely, before we proceed with procurement, we need to identify what we have and analyze what we need. Now, let me introduce you a new way of procurement:
You can call it a process or decision tree for “When to Buy”, whichever way its easy for you to integrate with your own environment. I understand its not easy to Bring Change in an organization but when people have common motive, its easy to drive atleast. As you can notice, it highlights the checkpoints where you can think – Can I Avoid Procurement?
- Check if free hardware is available
- Check if hardware require immediate deployment
- Check if free hardware is available during required timeline
- Check if free hardware is available in other section, Biz-IT or Partners
- Check if server required can be virtual server, if No, Why? verify from TC
- Check if storage connectivity would be required.
- Check if dedicated path is required for Server
- If No, Raw Device Mapping with Virtual Machine can be used
- If Yes, VMDirectPath can be used (VMware Technology, similar is available for Microsoft Hyper-v as well)
- Check if Simulators can be used
To understand it better lets highlight the changes into sections:
1. The Asset Management - Inventory and Audits: collect your existing hardware inventory and perform audits for its usage and health. This will help in doing projections and planning well in advance.
2. Usage Tracking: With available reports, find out if there is any free hardware or capacity available for deployment. Usually DataCenter Life Cycle Managers have this information.
3. Shared Resources: At times the resources can be shared or can be released in case of Test & Dev environment. Another example is of Public Cloud Hosting.
4. Virtualize: Check the possibility if it can be virtualized. I consider most of the environment already have virtual infrastructure which may or may not have capacity for hosting new VMs. In case you don’t have capacity, rather investing in buy new physical server, invest in increasing the capacity for existing virtual infra and share its resources. You can also go Hosting services these days offered by many vendors.
Well, that was just an overview, but there are many aspects of saving cost. However, to start with, this approach might save some initial investment itself. Why to optimize later when you can cut cost in initial stage, right?
Any more questions? please write back or comment here. There are more things to share..
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