Everybody Loves the Data Center

Everybody Loves the Data Center

In recent years, the data center hasn’t gotten a lot of love. With many pundits predicting the death of on-premise infrastructures as businesses moved to the cloud, it seemed as if the data center’s days were numbered. Yep, if the main focus of your company was to sell servers, storage, networks, and other IT infrastructure hardware, things weren’t looking too great. But recently, we’ve seen an uptick in good news and attention for the good old data center. From trends in how organizations are building their IT infrastructures, to a flurry of big business deals, the data center is once again enjoying happy days. One of the biggest trends leading to renewed interest and focus on the data center is, surprise surprise, the cloud. I know what you’re thinking, “Jim, wasn’t cloud supposed to kill the data center?” Yes, that’s what everyone thought. The idea was that businesses would continue to move all their applications and services to the cloud, to the point where all the on-premise hardware they needed could fit in a small closet. And companies are clearly embracing the cloud. But Aberdeen research has shown that adding the cloud to an organization’s IT mix doesn’t mean getting rid of on-premise data centers. In fact, the research shows that leaders in IT infrastructures are those that embrace a hybrid approach that effectively integrates the cloud with on-premise systems. This allows these leading firms to get the best features of on-premise (security, performance, ease of management) and combine them with the best of cloud (agility, flexibility, and scalability). With this hybrid approach, leading businesses are gaining a number...
Easing the Transition from Bimodal to Uni-modal IT

Easing the Transition from Bimodal to Uni-modal IT

Every transition has its growing pains, and bimodal IT is no exception. The term, coined by Gartner, Inc. in 2014, has taken on a life of its own as many have adapted the concept for their own ends. This has resulted in confusion and, in some cases, disillusionment. Well, no one said transitioning to a more dynamic and continuous process would be easy, and there’s no guarantee of success – merely a set of recommendations for the journey. However, failure, fear and skepticism should not give people license to remain stuck in their legacy systems or rush headlong into change. Let’s examine what this term “bimodal IT” actually means, how it is a step in the IT Transformation, and how do we ease the pain of transition. What Does Bimodal Mean, Again? Gartner defined this process within IT infrastructure and operations as “the practice of managing two separate but coherent styles of work: one focused on predictability, the other on exploration.” Mode 1 focuses on predictability and has a goal of stability. It is best used where requirements are well understood in advance, and can be identified by a process of analysis. It includes the necessary investment in renovating and opening up the legacy environment. Mode 2 is exploratory. In this case, the requirements are not well understood in advance. Mode 2 is best suited for areas where an organization cannot make an accurate, detailed, predefined plan because not enough is known about the area. Mode 2 efforts don’t presume to predict the future but allow the future to reveal itself in small pieces. Gartner ended its original, short...
Downtime is Money: How Downtime Depresses Small Business Revenue

Downtime is Money: How Downtime Depresses Small Business Revenue

When small businesses run into unplanned downtime, they can experience irrevocable damage. In order to assess this damage, Aberdeen did a back-of-the-envelope calculation, using our survey data. Self-reported survey data from small businesses (defined as less than $50 million in revenue per year, and less than 500 employees) shows that unplanned downtime can cost up to $8,600 an hour. The same companies report that the unplanned downtime they experience every year tends to last roughly seven hours each. This reveals that the average small business can expect to lose $100,000 worth of revenue in unplanned downtime every year. In this article, we’d like to discuss some of the ways that businesses lose money when they go offline. Breaking Down the Sources of Cost: Application Downtime If your business is eCommerce, banking, insurance, or any other industry required to be available to the general public in order to make money, then application downtime is your worst nightmare. The causes of application downtime are varied—including natural disasters, server outages, and even DDoS attacks. The effects are simple: customers can’t reach your site or application, and can’t buy your product. While most eCommerce solutions are hosted off-site nowadays, that does not guarantee zero downtime. A survey from 2013 shows that 76% of data centers experienced outages that year. In short, if your customer-facing application is hosted in a data center, then there is a large chance that a data center outage will lead to unplanned downtime. Measuring Downtime from Lost Productivity Other times, the costs might be more difficult to assess. Say for example that it’s not your main customer-facing application that goes down. Instead, it might...
Overcoming the Cloud Trust Fail

Overcoming the Cloud Trust Fail

With the number of companies utilizing the cloud, one would think that trust in the cloud is at record levels. In fact, trust in the cloud is stagnating even as investment in it keeps multiplying. A recently released Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study, commissioned by Google, of 452 senior executives worldwide found that while 38% of Enterprise IT is invested in cloud technology, only 16% of respondents expressed a high degree of trust in the cloud (good write up on the study can be found here, full study can be found here). The reasons for this can likely be found in the seemingly daily news stories about high-profile cloud outages. There was the Google Compute Engine outage in April, the Salesforce NA14 outage that dominated the headlines in May, and more recently BT in the UK.  Let’s not forget the several high-profile DDoS attacks bringing down Docker and the Library of Congress. However, the interesting thing about the study is that the companies who DO put trust in the cloud tended to have higher profits, market share, and revenue growth. To quote the study: “The relationship between trust in cloud technology and positive business outcomes at high-trust organizations appears to be linked to their willingness to foster business transformations that leverage what the cloud offers. Put simply, higher cloud trust appears to facilitate behavioral and process change within an organization.” So how do companies learn to stop worrying and love the cloud? Certainly, familiarity and use come into play. The cloud is still relatively new in many organizations. The EIU study suggests that incremental success builds trust in a...
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