The cloud and IT outsourcing business is currently undergoing an extremely dynamic development. While the cloud was still considered the ultimate a few years ago, the trend is currently moving towards hybrid models. This means that a company or organization combines its own existing IT infrastructure with elements of the public cloud. In the course of this, on-premises is celebrating a renaissance. It is not uncommon at present for applications that were stored in a cloud to be pulled back into the company's own "legacy". However, this approach makes data center consolidation inevitable. The various systems must be compatible with each other. It's all about network speeds, different protocols, security aspects, a unified management layer and much more. The complexity of transformation projects is often underestimated. But how do you approach the project correctly? What are the strategies?
The decisive factor for setting up the project plan is the reason on which the transformation project is based. What was the trigger for the strategy change? What is the focus of the intended data center consolidation? Is it the optimization of costs or business continuity, an increase in efficiency, the improvement of security or the CO2 balance, personnel as well as organizational changes, digitization goals or is there rather a pressure to innovate due to new technologies? Only when these questions have been answered do the important topics emerge and the individual milestones can be defined. Since the evaluation phase forms the basis for the transformation project, it should not be underestimated and sufficient time should be planned for it. Risks must be weighed and decisions made. After all, optimizing the IT infrastructure entails changes at the same time. And these must be well considered. Any approach focusing on the IT infrastructure must drive modernization.
As soon as the objectives and milestones of the transformation project have been defined, the next fundamental decision has to be made: How do you deal with the topic of cloud? Which applications are to be "cloudified", which are to be kept "on premise" in the company's own existing IT, and which are to be outsourced to a colocation? Will the goals be achieved by renewing the existing IT or rather by merging different locations? Basically, it is always about these three options and their weighting within the IT strategy: on premises, colocation or cloud. It must be thoroughly evaluated how the focus should be placed here.
Standards and methods for successful IT transformation
Choosing one of the established cloud providers, predefined tools will get used in the implementation of the transformation project. One gives up some means of control, but at the same time one has to accept that only very marginal influence can be exerted on the process itself. With non-cloud solutions, the situation is completely different. There are no limits to customization. Here, various tools, such as SWOT analyses, checklists from the BSI (German Federal Office for Information Security) or TÜVit's own criteria catalog TSI.STANDARD (Trusted Site Infrastructure) can be used and applied as a guide. Especially for critical infrastructures, the numerous serious acceptance criteria are decisive. For example, in order to adequately meet the challenges that have to be overcome during migration or when planning a new data center or server room, an analysis of the requirements according to KRITIS, including the industry-specific security standards (B3S) and the corresponding standards such as ISO 27799, is indispensable. When information technology is renewed and relocated, the primary difficulty is to ensure the relocation of a highly complex, sensitive system without data loss, while avoiding or managing downtime in a controlled manner.
Hyperconvergence as a success factor for hybrid models
To ensure that the flexibility to move freely between the three options of on premises, colocation and cloud is still available after the IT transformation, interoperability between the different systems should be a particular focus of the project. Keyword: hyperconvergence. In a hyperconverged system, computing, storage, networking and virtualization resources are combined into a software-defined unit and managed as a single application. One great advantage of this is that complex infrastructures can be centralized, thereby reducing interfaces, eliminating inefficiencies, and increasing computing power. In the orchestration of container systems, for example, the open source system Kubernetes has established itself as an important standard.
It is obvious that due to high complexity, the project management of an IT transformation is subject to very special requirements. The in-house IT departments are extremely challenged. This is particularly true in the case of data center consolidations, where, for example, applications are moved back from the public clouds to on premises. This is because the large hyperscalers usually do not provide any advice on the way back. For successful implementation, it is therefore all the more important to have a competent partner at your side. This can be done via colocation providers or traditional IT consulting by system houses. What is often missing here, however, is experience in practice. As an integrated solution provider for fiber-based connection technology, cabling solutions as well as infrastructure services for data centers, Rosenberger OSI combines all decisive competencies: both in-depth expertise in the development and production of system solutions as well as experience in data center operation. Only through the combination of expert knowledge and practical experience can risk factors be correctly identified in advance and potentials for convergence correctly assessed, meaning that nothing stands in the way of the successful implementation of an IT transformation project.
Would you like to delve deeper into this topic? Then click here and watch the Webtalk recording of our live webinar "On the way to the cloud - has the classic data center had its day?”