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When Enterprises Reach the Data Center and Cloud Fork in the Road

17 Aug 2016 by Bob Violino

The traditional data center has worked well for enterprises for a long time. But newer virtual infrastructure technologies and computing models, such as cloud services — and the rising demand for more data and faster response, driven by end users — means it’s time for IT leaders to rethink the meaning of “data center.”

Our new whitepaper, “Determining the Right Enterprise Data Center Strategy,” looks at the key issues involving the need for modernizing corporate data centers and the role of newer technologies, such as server and storage virtualization, cloud computing and software-defined solutions.

As this Clutch study found, the central benefits of cloud computing include scalability, speed and increased efficiency, among many others. Security is also among the top benefits reported, which might surprise some IT leaders based on common cloud migration myths fears. Physical space saved due to reduced data center locations, or data center colocation needs, is of the more obvious benefits.

Clutch study: What are the top three benefits that your organization receives by using cloud infrastructure?

Evaluating enterprise data center possibilities

While reading this, you may feel a slight panic, thinking the research will tell you to start from scratch and abandon your current infrastructure. Not so— IT decision-makers in most cases don’t need to choose one path, purging all existing data center solutions. In fact, experts note some elements of traditional data centers will serve a purpose for years to come, especially in government sectors.

Instead, IT leaders need to analyze what the data center means for their business today and how it must be transformed, allowing IT to provide enhanced services to users in the years ahead. This includes evaluating all the possible cloud computing choices, such as public clouds, private clouds and hybrid environments, as well as delivery models including Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). A hybrid cloud architecture is recommended for enterprise level to midsize, while most small businesses can save money by operating mostly in the cloud.

A 2015 Goldman Sachs report said, “The enterprise IT market is in year six or seven of a 20-plus year cloud computing cycle that will upend traditional suppliers of IT hardware and software. Server virtualization and SaaS have been the first two phases of the cycle. The third will be cloud platforms for enterprise computing.”

Goldman Sachs: Cloud disrupting traditional IT

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See best practices for modernizing your infrastructure.

Determining the right enterprise data center strategy

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Sometimes the best place to start is asking questions. Which applications can be run in the cloud? Which need to remain on internal data centers? Business owners and IT decision-makers have many choices — from converged and hyperconverged infrastructures, to OpenStack and software-defined technologies.

Cisco’s Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013–2018 report predicts that by 2018, 28% of the total cloud workloads will be IaaS and 13% of the total cloud workloads will be PaaS. Studies like this one certainly beg the need for a new way of thinking about the modern data center. 

Cisco Global Cloud Index 2013-2018: SaaS most highly deployed global cloud service by 2018.

Each of these cloud and data center solutions can potentially play a role in helping IT provide better and faster access to applications, while large and ever-growing volumes of data are supported.

If you’re at the data center fork in the road, download our Insight whitepaper, “Determining the Right Enterprise Data Center Strategy,” to discover which infrastructure combination works best for your small, midsize or enterprise level business.