Can modular data centers actually streamline data center operations, reduce complexity, maximize efficiency and decrease costs?
Financial firms face a crisis in complexity unlike any they have ever faced before. Myriad challenges -- ranging from de-leveraging, increased regulatory oversight, new competition and product commoditization -- are forcing firms to rethink almost every aspect of the business.
Banks now have to organize their business processes in a completely different manner. Today, the focus has clearly shifted to discovering how to transact business in the most efficient and effective means possible. And in order to become an efficient organization, firms need to improve how they leverage information and make better decisions, faster.
At the center of these changes is technology. Financial firms' enterprise IT organizations face a conundrum: how to help the business become more efficient and make better decisions, while facing budget cuts, skill set shortages and increasing demand from all lines of the enterprise. To do this, leading organizations are looking to transform the service delivery model to be more agile, on-demand and cost-effective. One of the biggest barriers to transforming the delivery model is the data center facility.
The good news is, there appears to be one trend that is starting to take shape that can help remove this barrier: a modular data center. The 451 Group, an industry analyst firm, describes the emerging modular data center technology trend in the report "Data Center 2.0 -- The Industrial Evolution." The research points to the maturity of modular data center technology and data center infrastructure management automation. Modular data centers have substantial economic, operational and time-to- market advantages over traditional data center facility approaches, according to 451 Group.
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Recent market announcements seem to validate the modular data center trend. For example, in a recent press release, Goldman Sachs announced the selection of IO, a provider of modular data center technology, as its preferred global modular data center provider.
The press release states that Goldman's selection signals a shift from the large real estate-based infrastructures to flexible and sustainable modular installations. In addition to greater operating and capital expense savings, Goldman Sachs expects to enhance energy conservation and power usage effectiveness (PUE) associated with its data center facilities through its service agreement with IO. "IO's innovative technology and services will allow Goldman Sachs to scale its data center operations more efficiently and further advance the firm's broader commitment to environmental stewardship and reduced carbon footprint," said Don Duet, global co-chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs' technology division, in the release.
As both a former user and operator of data centers, it excites me to see the integration of the data center via technology into the IT delivery model, as Goldman Sachs is doing with IO Data centers. This is a significant validation and likely indication that the velocity of modular data center technology is going to increase. This technology innovation should enable firms to transform their entire businesses, starting at the foundation of their IT value chain -- the data center. Any architect or engineer will tell you that successful systems require a simple and scalable foundation.
Modular data center technology appears to be one of the key mechanisms for IT organizations to leverage in order to transform their delivery models, improve efficiency, enhance agility and reduce risk. Modular data centers are a trend that seems to be trending upward.
Tony Bishop is an IT and data center technologist. The author of "Next-Generation Data Centers in Financial Services -- Driving Extreme Efficiency and Effective Cost Savings," Bishop is a former technology executive for both Morgan Stanley and Wachovia Securities.