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Data management in 2014
Category: Evergreen
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Author: Laura Varley
Date Written: 10 December 2013

Title: Data management in 2014


Data centres have always been important to businesses of all shapes and sizes - but their importance is growing ever more by the day.

Demand for greater transaction speed and a rise in the number of devices and applications across a wide range of sectors has helped push the importance of data centres up. As a result, expectations will increase, especially from business users who want to improve their productivity through customisation, on-demand services and self service capabilities.

A lot is set to change in terms of data management next year, which will present a whole host of challenges to IT professionals - here's what they should prepare for.

Power saving

Energy costs are set to escalate once again and the slow economic recovery isn't helping matters, which is largely why many firms will be looking to optimise as much power as they can. In the past, IT and facilities teams haven't usually worked together, but as power needs to be saved, firms will be focusing on encouraging these teams to work together and will aim to provide tools that work for everyone - not just specific departments.

Rise of the tech trends

Some of 2013's tech trends - virtualisation, cloud computing and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) - are becoming more widely accepted and used among businesses of all sizes. Virtualisation is making its way from servers to desktops and a rise in demand for flexibility and speed when it comes to provisioning, means private and public cloud services are becoming more popular. BYOD is also pushing up network traffic, as an increased number of people bringing their own electronic devices creates a whole new set of problems. Users need access to data centre resources anytime and anywhere but this in turn is driving up the server workloads.

As more companies uptake and implement these services, more pressure will be put on data centres and firms will find themselves pushing their power usage to the maximum. Some of the larger firms have already hit their power restrictions, whereas others have reached the limits set by their local utility companies.

Disaster plans

Another big concern when it comes to saving power and having backup power available, is natural disasters. Although disaster plans should be regularly updated and improved all the time, recent incidents have perhaps highlighted to some companies that redundancy measures are even more important than ever.

However, the real challenge for IT professionals next year will be to make sure that their disaster plans focus on keeping operations running for as long as possible by using backup power supplies. Disaster recovery also needs to be an important focus and power consumption should be kept as low as possible via regular adjustments to the server.

Budget restrictions

A rise in energy consumption in the data centre, which has been mostly driven by the migration of tasks to online and automated platforms, means that companies' budgets are changing. Servers and storage drives are now more affordable than ever, thanks to recent price reductions, hence why so many companies have migrated their tasks. It is argued that power and cooling now dominate the IT budget, with some saying power is the single largest expense. With energy prices continuing to rise, budgets are becoming even more stretched.

Budget restrictions also means that new tech rollouts are smaller than data centre managers first planned. This could mean a rise in phased-in deployments, where each phase funds the next. The same results will be achieved in the long term, it just isn't the ideal solution for many firms. However, energy prices aren't looking to fall anytime soon, so firms will have to make do as best they can within their budgets.

Evolution of DCIM

The demand for holistic DCIM (Data Centre Infrastructure Management) solutions are being driven by debates about energy management. Preferably, data centre teams will search for a solution based on real time data rather than predictive models, as they aren't as accurate. The solution should have thermal and power monitoring and feed data collection into holistic analysis.

Due to the evolution of DCIM and the pressures of the economy, it is likely that vendor consolidation will begin to occur next year. Larger developers could, for example, buy up smaller ones in order to boost the development of their own platforms. Although this will be good for customers, it means that companies will have to be wary when it comes to investment, as they risk investing in a solution that then gets bought out by a competitor.

Of course the future is impossible to predict with great accuracy, so anything could happen next year. However it does seem clear that IT professionals will be up against a number of challenges, especially as energy prices are rising and the economy is unlikely to dramatically change anytime soon. DCIM solutions might be the only way in which data centres can control their budgets and keep supplied at the same time - but only time will tell.

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