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Cloud Computing: A Step in the Right Direction

The challenges of the corporate data center

We all take for granted that our online applications at home will perform the instant we need them. Whether it’s Voice over IP, video on-demand, gaming, or other applications, we have instantaneous, high-speed access, anytime.

In this environment, IT managers are now facing the question: “Why can’t you deliver the same quality of service at work that I experience at home?” Despite spending three to five percent of total revenues on computers, software, and IT services, corporations today still are not able to deliver this same level of performance we receive in our homes. To attain this level of speed and reliability, businesses need to shake off the antiquated computing model of the past and learn from today’s leading Web-based service vendors.

The Challenges of the Corporate Data Center
Despite all the technological changes that have occurred in recent years, corporate data center strategies have evolved very little since the days of mainframe computers more than 30 years ago. When a new application is installed, the IT manager determines the ratio of servers to users at peak workloads and then adds computing space accordingly. Unfortunately this results in server utilization levels averaging 10 to 20 percent. Worse, when large numbers of users do try to perform the same task simultaneously, performance suffers. IT managers find this approach cumbersome as well. It often takes a month or more to provision even one new system in the data center.

Moreover, the sheer cost of supporting this vast infrastructure is a burden on any organization. When you consider the labor, heating, cooling, hardware, and software costs, the annual operating costs of a server turn out to be three to five times the initial cost of the system. High fuel costs are yet another challenge that puts pressure on organizations to reduce energy consumption, at a time when most data centers are using blade servers that require tremendous energy to run. As these data centers have been built up over time to suit each new business need, they’ve grown into vast, disparate, non-standardized environments with large integration difficulties.

This approach to computing is not sustainable. What organizations need is the ability to ramp up computing needs on demand.

More Stories By Ivan Casanova

Ivan Casanova serves as the vice president of product marketing for DataSynapse. He has 15 years experience in marketing strategy and execution for a series of growth-oriented infrastructure software companies.

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