CIOs need to fundamentally rethink their data centres in order to ensure that they become much more dynamic and less rigid, according to analyst house Burton Group.

Speaking at Burton's Catalyst Conference in Prague, Drue Reeves, VP and research director says it is self evident that business dependency on IT will continue, but applications and workloads are tied to physical resources. Inefficiency abounds said Reeves, and the lack of IT agility is limiting business growth.

"Data centres must be more dynamic, especially in today's rapidly changing markets and economies, but organisations can only change as fast as their infrastructure allows," said Reeves.

He cited inefficient management which is unable to exploit excess capacity, relocate workloads, and automate change. "We need to rethink our approach to data centres," he warns.

Reeves is calling for what he calls a ‘dynamic data centre' that can enable workload mobility, and which is dynamically and automatically managed. It also must offer high availability and automatically maintain continuity. Reeves says it should also utilise a unified fabric, and should be energy and space efficient. Needless to say, the dynamic data centre also has to maintain security and regulatory compliance, be service-oriented, and seamlessly integrate with external services.

"The goal is to have a dynamic data centre that can finely tune and dynamically configure data centre resources to meet business requirements and inexpensively achieve business objectives," he told delegates at the conference. "It must enable workload mobility, automated management, and high availability."

However, there are other data centre issues other than server virtualisation. These issues centre around licensing, security and management.

"Without effective orchestration and automation, the IT administrator often becomes the bottleneck," said Reeves. He feels that the major vendors should be providing more tools to help ease this administration workload.

There is also evidence of increasing adoption of storage virtualisation, Reeves feels, which enables storage consolidation, energy and space savings. Reeves also predicts that 10GbE Data Centre Ethernet will be the main network speed by 2010.

Achieving a dynamic data centre will not be easy though. Reeves predicts that because it blurs technological boundaries, IT staff must resist the temptation to protect fiefdoms. Also a sceptical executive management will need to be convinced of its potential ROI.

"IT organisations must reach for the dynamic data centre," said Reeves. You are going to have to invest in these technologies anyway, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The CIO must lead the way, and demonstrate ROI at each step. IT directors must become efficiency experts."

"Exploit server virtualisation for more than consolidation," Reeves continued. "Deploy storage virtualisation to efficiently manage data growth. Also, invest in orchestration software to create IT agility."

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