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Blog · 29 Jul 2020

How to get a cloud-like experience with your legacy data centre

Exploring what’s holding back data centre upgrades and how SD Fabric can offer private data centres secure access to cloud-like benefits.

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Director of network solutions, BT

I’ve noticed for some time that many customers I talk to would like to get more out of their data centre but are finding that something is holding them back.

Many have made the decision to sweat their assets for all they’re worth, hoping to get another couple of years out of the significant capex investment they made five or so years ago. And some are standing still because they’re thinking if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. What they’ve got is doing the job just fine right now. Their applications are running well, so they think it’s not worth the risk of trying new ways of working.

In today’s tough economic environment, I understand where they’re coming from, but it’s a dangerous game that only works if you can get the hardware and software support you need. Yet as data centres get closer to their end of life, suppliers often discontinue parts to encourage take up of new tech. As a result, sourcing spares from third parties can get prohibitively expensive — if they’re available at all.

I’m also finding that some customers haven’t decided on their data centre strategy yet. They’re still thinking about where they want to take their data centre, and how the cloud fits into their plans. Plus, for many, the pandemic has had a real impact on the budgets available for big transformation projects.

Not everyone can move their data centre to the cloud

We hear a lot about the cloud being the future for data centres, but some businesses need to keep a private data centre. I know many customers have applications that are so bespoke they can’t move them to the cloud. And others, such as banks, have applications they can’t send to the cloud for security or regulatory reasons. I’ve been exploring hybrid approaches with these customers, where they put less critical applications in the cloud but leave others on-premises to keep control over their environment.

Go hybrid for the best of both worlds

The advantages do stack up with a hybrid approach, letting businesses choose the best location for each workload and the best way to manage critical application data. It opens up more options for agility and flexibility and means they can move to the cloud bit by bit, when the time is right.

What I hear time and again is that customers who must maintain a private data centre don’t want to miss out on the benefits that transformation can bring. They want the opportunity to reduce their overheads and to take costs out of their operation. They’re looking to move from bespoke set ups that are difficult to manage to a more centralised, agile way of handling applications that uses a standard, repeatable platform. And they want a chance to reduce the number of touchpoints they have in their organisation, too, by moving to a set up where a single supplier manages everything under one contract.

An innovative way to update your private data centre 

Our SD Fabric solution adds a layer of smart, software-defined intelligence to your data centre, giving you cloud-like agility, better visibility and more control. Combining Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure technology with our cloud, network and management expertise, SD Fabric gives you a common platform for both your physical and virtual environments, with the visibility to see exactly what’s happening across the platform in one place. You can make changes and deploy applications faster and scale and grow your fabric easily. It’s a simple way to benefit from cloud-like services in your on-premise equipment without needing a complete redesign.

Plus, SD Fabric is an opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint. My team recently rationalised a customer’s private data centre from 120 cabinets down to 40, cutting the power and cooling needed dramatically. Consolidation to a smaller fabric gave them greater processing power, really boosted their green credentials and slashed costs at the same time.

SD Fabric as a stepping stone to a cloud-based future

When I first came across SD Fabric, I could see its potential in the hybrid data centre space as a stepping stone to the cloud. It helps you to design your network and workloads in a way that’ll be easy to translate to the cloud when the time comes. You’ll get a more agile and flexible way of working and an environment where you can automate workloads right now, with all the peace of mind around security and regulations that a private data centre brings.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can improve your private data centre experience, future proofing it while keeping it secure, please get in touch. 

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