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Enterprise infrastructure migration waits for no one

15 Sep 17

Asia Pacific is said to be at the forefront when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), with the number of connected devices expected to increase from 3.1 billion to 8.6 billion by 2020 in the region, according to IDC.

The growth of data consumption in Asia Pacific is expected to range from 30-60% per annum between 2015 and 2020, according to PwC.

Enterprise data center bandwidth is at risk of being overloaded in the near future. Same could be said of colocation facilities as well.

These are hardly revelations anymore.

Technology builds upon itself, so its growth is almost always exponential.

Needless to say, data center managers are having to adapt to some pretty tough challenges: applications demanding higher lane speeds and ultra low-latency performance; increasing port densities that can support leaf and spine networks, and find a way to improve network availability while lowering costs across the board.

For many data center managers, the answer lies in migrating their infrastructure - either with rip and replace or slowly over time -to support the new speed, latency and port density requirements.

But is this both necessary and true for all data center facilities?

Absolutely not.

On the one hand, there is no ignoring the fact that current and future data usage trends are alarmingly high and not expected to level off in the foreseeable future.

So infrastructure migration is not a question of if but when. On the other hand, every data center facility has a very unique set of business requirements, stakeholder expectations, and technical considerations.

Looking across the APAC region, markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan have been rapidly gearing up the development of its data center.

The region’s data center services market size is expected to grow by 27% per annum and the region’s market size will exceed the European market by 2021, according to PwC. As such, it is only a matter of time before we see the large scale migration of infrastructure. 

So, if not now, when is the right time?

Focus on standards

One of the requirements for proposing the development of a new standard is being to demonstrate the need for and feasibility of the new standard.

In other words, bodies like IEEE, TIA and ISO typically will not initiate work on a proposed standard if there isn’t much of a market need. So if a standard is being developed then likely there is sufficient market demand for whatever is being standardized.

Understanding your business

Data centers do not exist in a vacuum. Every facility plays a role in the greater ecosystem of the organization or market. Understanding the degree to which the organization relies on the data center is critical.

In some cases, prepare to be surprised. A 2015 study looked at the investment decisions of managers at over 1,000 companies and discovered that gut instinct tended to drive decisions rather than data.

The cost of standing still

If migration is going to be delayed, make that decision with eyes wide open. New applications or sudden changes in market dynamics can increase the bandwidth requirements overnight.

As data center demands grow, what’s the effect on enterprise’s infrastructure and how will that impact manageability and potential downtime?

The bottom line is that data center exists to serve a particular role. To determine if the time is right to migrate to higher speeds, ask this question: “Is my physical layer holding me back?”

While it is important to understand the vast array of technical options and emerging solutions, migration must be viewed within the context of a specific enterprise data center environment.

What is the trajectory of the enterprise? How does that affect the velocity of change and scaling requirements in the data center? What is the total cost of ownership for the various migration scenarios being considered?

Seeing how fast things can change in this digital era, developing a long-term migration strategy to keep enterprise data centre adaptable, capable and efficient is imperative.

Article by Gavin Milton-White, vice president enterprise, Asia Pacific, CommScope

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