As a business society, we've been pretty much used to thinking of information technology as a disposable asset. Even data centers were built with a 10-year lifespan in mind, which means a lot of the work done and systems deployed around the year 2000 is quickly reaching that maturity point.
But that mindset came to a screeching halt sometime in mid-October along with the world economy, and Dell is using that attitude shift to challenge organizations to think of data centers as constantly evolving entities: Rather than overhauling the entire thing, an investment strategy that would be hard to support at any company right now, the company is encouraging businesses to embrace an endless cycle of three-year refreshes. And it is using its own experiences in improving data center productivity to shape a new set of services, according to Albert Esser, vice president of Dell's Data Center Infrastructure Group.
This new philosophy is known as the Hidden Data Center, and it's outlined here.
Esser says by applying Dell's optimization services, companies can address productivity across the data center, not simply some isolated improvements in power consumption. By applying some of the best practices it is now preaching to others, Dell managed to save $29 million in operating costs over a period of three years. More important, it was able to put off plans to build a new data center. Indefinitely. Which should give other organizations hope.
Core recommendations will include virtualization and storage consulting, data center consolidation, migration and design suggestions, strategies to refresh legacy systems and cooling equipment, and so on. Instead of focusing JUST on power usage effectiveness (PUE), Dell's strategy encourages organizations to look also at data center performance per watt. By its own estimate, Dell believes it can help companies increase compute capacity by 270 percent within the same power and space footprint, using less hardware. Dell uses this white paper from The Green Grid to help document its argument.