No part of an organization is affected more by the rise of the data center than the IT department. Ultimately, every component of an organization’s initiative, from initial data center research to deployment to long term decision making, must be filtered through key IT personnel. The role of the IT department is also changing rapidly, and there are a vast array of strategies that businesses deploy with regard to the division’s future. Even businesses that have traditionally outsourced their IT needs are finding that data centers and cyber colocation require much more nuance than the old models historically have needed. Project management is a complex, heterogeneous effort that requires round-the-clock attention.
However, concerns about control, which played a large role in the development of outsourcing tech needs, have resurfaced with the rise of next generation solutions. In fact, this anxiety could be forestalling businesses’ efforts to migrate to colocation hosting and move their data storage needs offsite. According to recent forecasts by Gartner, almost all segments in the IT outsourcing (ITO) market are likely to experience sluggish growth, at least for the rest of the year. While the market is projected to hit $288 billion by the end of 2013, a 2.8 percent rise from 2012 numbers, several factors are contributing to a more pessimistic market projection than previous Gartner studies had estimated.
“We continue to see overall market growth being constrained by near-term market factors, such as evolving ITO delivery models, economic, political and labor conditions, and service provider financial performance,” stated Gartner research vice president Bryan Britz. “Planned new adoption of ITO remains positive in all service line segments. However, constrained IT budgets, an evolving ITO delivery model, economic conditions and cost-focused buyers are limiting the growth potential of the ITO market.”
Solving the complexities of data center finance
Many organizations are wary of making significant changes to existing in models in times of precarious economic conditions. The data center real estate market, while offering many benefits to adopting businesses, can seem prohibitively complex and costly. The Gartner study also found that hybrid and as-a-service solutions are driving trends in the ITO market and encouraging further speculation in data center outsourcing. Reducing operating expenditures at the IT level is of particular importance as organizations continue to invest heavily in these verticals, driven either by the drive to innovate or the effort to remain competitive in rapidly maturing markets.
One way to reduce OPEX is through IT automation, a project that data center design solutions can support. Data Center Journal contributor Colin Beasty recently wrote – and we agree – that the key to automation is approaching it from an architectural angle. The traditional model usually involves adding automation tasks to existing assets. While this can be a good short term solution, it’s much more difficult for businesses to upgrade these unwieldy environments in the long term. With cloud computing, IT users can improve the efficacy of their systems and project management by automating key processes in a scalable way.
“Instead of simply automating tasks, which tacitly sets resource boundaries, intelligent workload and IT process automation platforms can provision internal/external (or on-premise/off-premise) resources as needed, in real-time, to execute those processes,” Beasty wrote. “Rules and strategic priorities, rather than schedules and structure, govern how resources are assigned, tasked and then deassigned.”