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Understanding Your Retail Data Center’s Personality

18 Mar 2016 by William Freed

Just when we’re all becoming used to the Internet of Things, or IoT, as part of the vernacular, and its relevance to ongoing business strategy — a new term has been thrown into the mix. Now, experts like Cisco are suggesting that the Internet of Things is becoming the Internet of Everything (IoE). And the term makes sense, because everything from smart phones and cars to home appliances are getting connected to the Internet and generating data.

Retail on demand

No matter what you call it — IoT or the IoE — the proliferation of Internet-connected “stuff” is undeniable. For retailers, this means two things: the need to manage and interpret the incredible amount of data that devices are providing, and then to craft contextual and highly relevant shopping experiences in support of on-demand retailing.

To quote Cisco, “With IoE-enabled experiences, traditional retailers can create a new dimension in shopping, offering customers a new world of possibilities as they stroll the aisles, devices and apps in hand. In the new reality of the Internet of Everything, retailers must constantly seek creative ways to leverage the power of mobility and mobile technology to engage with customers. In doing so, they can capture new wallet share and cement customer loyalty as they ‘know’ their customers as never before.”

Modern data center strategy

Today’s successful retailers need to build the application, network and server infrastructure to handle the new demands of the IoT/IoE era, and deliver the experiences that customers demand. Absolutely central to this new, nimble way of business is the transformation of the data center — no longer is the data center just server racks, power and cooling — data centers are the new “factories” of the digital age, and IT organizations need to reorganize to deliver new applications and functionality in a rapid fashion that responds to the needs of the business.

“At the same time, there will be an increase in investment around the Nexus of Forces (cloud, social, mobile and information) as many businesses focus on growth and new opportunities,” according to Gartner’s recent report, “How to Select the Correct Data Center Option for the Digital World,” released in October 2015. ”These changes are leading to the development of the digital economy and forcing heads of data centers to focus on agility, innovation and gaining a competitive advantage. However, data centers must also use the latest technologies and integrate through intelligent software layers.”

Gartner’s recommendations revolve around three ways that IT can use data center “personality models” to classify workloads. While looking at your data-center strategy through the prism of a “personality” seems odd at first, it makes sense when looking at the business needs that correspond with each distinct personality. Gartner further suggests that “mapping the data center personalities should not only be done tactically, such as for a new application development for a line of business, but should also be done strategically, to map out what is best for the organization.”

Get to know your retail data center personality. We’ve made Gartner’s report available for free download: “Seven Steps to Monetizing Your Information Assets.”