Data center transformation trend could boost cabling job opportunities

While a recent survey of more than 150 corporate decision makers found that most have no sense of urgency of data center transformation—including consolidation and virtualization...

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While a recent survey of more than 150 corporate decision makers found that most have no sense of urgency of data center transformation—including consolidation and virtualization—to meet rapidly changing business needs and rising energy costs, Hewlett Packard’s Technology Solutions Group (www.hp.com) has unveiled a Data Center Transformation portfolio of products and services to help enterprise users begin to adjust to rapidly increasing information demands that are already putting a strain on data centers.

In fact, the majority of respondents to the HP-sponsored survey agree: “Over the last 40 years, the data centers that power the world’s economies have evolved into a complex patchwork of interconnected systems.”

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A combination of enterprise services and technologies for the data center, including an 8-socket x86 ProLiant server designed for data center virtualization and consolidation, is being offered by Hewlett Packard in its Data Center Transformation solution.
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In the survey, conducted by Penn, Shoen, & Berland Associates (www.psbresearch.com), more than a third of CIOs interviewed believe that theirdata centers will be unable to meet new demands for business services andapplications in the next 2 to 5 years, with nearly 47% saying they plan to eventually reduce the number of their data centers through transformation—such as updating technologies, increasing productivity, and lowering overhead and management costs.

For cabling and network installers/designers, changes to data center design could present new job opportunities. Although those interviewed in the HP survey agreed that the decision to make a major data center transformation rests with a company’s highest level decision makers, 63% said that “any change [to a data center] requires scores of specialized IT people to manage the process,” involving both in-house and contracted expertise.

And while the majority of survey respondents currently spend less than 20% of their total IT budget on data center maintenance, more than one-third expect this level to increase over the next five years.

To help address this looming undertaking, HP is providing a new set of tools and strategies designed to help enter-prises—and their specialized IT professionals—with energy efficiency, automation, virtualization, consolidation, and business continuity.

“Today’s customers are facing multiple challenges—the explosion of data, a growing mobile workforce, and the need for access to real-time information,” says Ann Livermore, executive vice president of the HP Technology Solutions Group. She notes that the company’s new initiative is designed to help enterprise users “dramatically change the way they create, manage, and operate their data centers.”

Heading the list of services and infrastructure solutions in the Data Center Transformation package is the new ProLiant DL785 G5 server, which is a scalable 8-socket x86 unit with Quad-CoreAMD Opteron processor technology. HP says the server is an ideal platform for virtualization due to its processing power, large memory footprint, storage capacity, and expandable input/out-put. It also consolidates multiple servers and reduces the management, energy, and space issues associated with “server sprawl.”

Other components to the Data Center Transformation include services and software:

  • Critical facilities services—These services are focused on consulting, design, and assurance, and are designed to help enterprise users create scalable facilities that reduce the cost of data center operations through energy-efficient power and cooling technologies.
  • Data center consolidation services—Design, transition, and support services are designed to help reduce the number of data center facilities, and reduce energy and operating costs while supporting business growth with a flexible infrastructure.
  • Data center virtualization services—Design, support, and education services can help enterprise users create a virtual infrastructure from theirexisting physical technology assets,including virtualization across servers, storage, networks, and applications.
  • Insight Dynamics VSE software—Analyzes and optimizes physical and virtual resources, helping extend the life of existing data centers with what HP calls “advanced energy-aware capacity planning.” The company says the software will support multi-vendorhypervisor technologies, and canreduce costs of common data center tasks by as much as 40%.
  • Operations orchestration management—By automating manual and error-prone processes across clients,applications, servers, network, and storage, these integrations are designed to help better manage andautomate business services. HP says the enhancements are also designed to reduce labor costs, increase service availability, and meet compliancerequirements by providing auditable, standardized processes.

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