The data center industry has been undergoing a major transformation over the recent years with new providers offering broader portfolios of robust co-location facilities with mature cloud services at competitive price points. Even in the midst of the industry’s shift, firms continue to recognize data centers as integral components of their overall IT environments.
With ongoing changes in IT systems and service level uptime (availability) expectations, coupled with new providers and service offering opportunities, firms are examining how their current environment can best accommodate their users’ expectations. More CIOs and IT managers are looking to fulfill the “IT anytime, anywhere model” by delivering the necessary performance, uptime and level of fault tolerance. New technologies and services continue to enter the industry, allowing firms to leverage different approaches to their data center and operating model strategies to satisfy business initiatives in a cost effective manner. This ultimately leads firms’ to achieve better value for their IT spend.
Key trends surfacing in the data center industry
While co-location services are a foundational aspect of the data center strategy, firms are now going beyond this traditional approach. Here are some trends we have observed as firms seek to align their data centers with underlying business and IT strategies.
- Today’s data centers deliver a unified approach to reduce risks and increase operational availability. Migrating data centers from commercial office space is a key initiative for firms. Rather than conducting separate project initiatives, the new approach is inclusive of co-location, disaster recovery and managed services collectively. As firms address aging equipment, they are looking to leverage these additional services to update infrastructure and utility functions while allowing staff to refocus on IT applications, user productivity and governance.
- Disaster recovery now plays a major role in the data center architecture. In the past, disaster recovery was considered a separate project and often was seen as a cost-prohibitive initiative. Today, firms are recognizing that it’s not an optional component. With the ongoing changes, firms are challenged to reevaluate the use of technologies and impact to business operations to develop an effective and functional recovery solution inclusive of failover capabilities.
- Managed services are viewed as relevant and transformational tools. Top executives are beginning to understand and see the value of managed services. Often viewed as lacking an enterprise approach within the legal vertical, managed services are now gaining recognition as it continues to mature and provide cost-effective, secure solutions for strategic IT initiatives. One trending offering is the capability for firms to directly interconnect with cloud providers to leverage hosted application delivery and support. This is becoming a foundational tool to meet performance, security and connectivity requirements for enterprise applications.
4 tips for adopting a modern take on data centers
Since data center infrastructure and operations are critical to the success of your IT strategy, you will want to check the following tips off your to-do list before launching an updated model.
- Begin by developing an overall strategy. This should include a complete roadmap with predictable timeline, costs and results. It is critical to keep the timetable on task through the implementation. By leveraging the right combination of internal and external technical and project management expertise, you’ll be able to execute a successful data center project.
- Work closely with your firm’s business and IT organization. It’s necessary to collaborate across teams in order to create a solution that meets objectives while aligning with the overall technology vision. It is critical to incorporate interactive planning sessions and facilitated workshops to accomplish these goals.
- Ensure your data center solution addresses key areas. Before signing on with a solutions provider, you’ll want to make sure it covers all the necessary products and services with the appropriate contract provisions – from assessment of your data center needs to centralizing the design to actually installing the infrastructure. Successful data centers service three main areas, including advisory and assessment, data center design and infrastructure delivery models.
- Choose a provider with a portfolio of qualified partners. The best data center solutions have proven legal-specific reference designs and pre-qualified partners who bring best-in-class facilities, operations, monitoring, management, security and mature cloud infrastructure platforms. This comprehensive range of data center and managed services providers allows the data center to provide targeted solutions in a shorter timeframe.
In this atmosphere of high demand and changing technology, it’s essential to implement a data center solution that supports scalability and high performance systems that enhances lawyer and staff capabilities. To keep pace with your firm’s workload, you expect a data center that ensures a rapid implementation while achieving business and technology goals. After gaining an understanding of today’s trends and considering which data center services your firm needs, you’re ready to adopt a solution with a proven track record.
HBR CONSULTING has a proven track record of working with leading law firms to deliver Data Center Solutions that enhance lawyer and staff capabilities and position IT to deliver on business objectives. For more information or to arrange an exclusive Executive Briefing, please contact Peter Cotseones.