During my reading of the Internet I happened across an ad on Network World that stopped me in my tracks. And not because it was one of those “pre-ads” that you can’t avoid, nor because it was cool or flashy or said something particularly witty. No, it stopped me in disbelief because it implied that someone else (a vendor) was in charge of your data center architecture; that you had nothing to do but sit back and wait for them to let you know when it – and you – were ready to take the next step.
Look, it’s your data center. It’s your infrastructure. It’s your architecture. Not mine, not some consulting firm or systems’ integrator, and it certainly doesn’t belong to a vendor. Every data center architecture is somewhat unique, even if its architects followed every last “best practices” document that every vendor provides to support their peculiar view of the world.
Sure, the data center is going to transform to meet the needs of new application architectures and deployment models. It is going to change. Emerging technology is moving fast and at the center of all the hype around virtualization and cloud computing is infrastructure. For the first time in nearly a decade, infrastructure is “all that” and on everyone’s minds because it necessarily must be. Infrastructure needs to change; it needs to adapt and evolve in such a way as to support the radical changes in the way applications are deployed, delivered, and accessed. It needs to support the goals of efficiency and reduction in costs currently driving data center and business decisions. In that respect the ad was spot on: the data center will need to undergo a transformation from static, brittle components to more dynamic, fluid ones. The question really is when and how, and that can only be answered by the people who have to enact that change: you.
If you’re ready to change your data center infrastructure now, then you’re ready now. If you’re ready tomorrow, then you’re ready tomorrow. It’s our job to enable you to architect the best data center infrastructure possible, and to ensure the solutions you need are flexible enough to adapt to your unique environment and specific application delivery needs. And that means offering choices. Choices in the way solutions are not only deployed but how they are configured, how they are managed, and how they are integrated.
You should be the one to decide how and where network and application delivery network infrastructure are deployed. Sure, there are best practices out there; there are advantages and disadvantages to any given architectural choice, but it’s your choice. You shouldn’t be forced to deploy a given set of solutions in a specific way just because that’s how the vendor thinks it should be deployed. The vendor should make sure you have choices.
Dynamic infrastructure is today’s data center bling. But the whole concept behind bling is that it is uniquely you. And data center infrastructure is no different. It should, if implemented correctly, be driven by you and your unique data center “style”. Dynamic infrastructure must be capable of putting control over the architecture of your application delivery network in the hands of those responsible for the task: you.
Oh, there’s a transformation coming alright. But it isn’t just going to be about the new technology that will enable the transformation to a dynamic data center; it’s going to be about the ability of IT to control its own data center destiny.