This article is part of our Essential Guide: Essential guide to prefabricated and micro datacentres

Gartner urges CIOs to scrap 'five-year plan' approach to datacentre investments

Enterprises should adopt a nimbler, “rolling” datacentre upgrade strategy so they can respond quicker to changing market trends, according to Gartner

The enterprise must adopt a nimbler and shorter-term approach to datacentre upgrades or run the risk of their facilities becoming “debilitated” by the internet of things (IoT) era.

That’s according to David Cappuccio, a distinguished analyst at IT market watcher Gartner, who said enterprises that doggedly pursue a five-year datacentre investment plan will find keeping pace with their competitors a struggle.

Instead, he advised attendees at the Gartner Datacentre, Infrastructure and Operations Management summit in central London to adopt a rolling, two-year datacentre investment strategy that can be incrementally adjusted to account for the latest technology trends and changes in customer buying behaviours.

“Five-year strategies don’t work anymore. Every year you should look at what you’re doing because – with cloud and IoT – the market is changing fast. You need a rolling strategy instead of putting a point in the ground and saying, ‘This is where we’re going to be in three years’. If you’re lucky enough to get to that point, the whole industry will have changed without you knowing,” said Cappuccio.

On the topic of IoT, he said there was a real danger that organisations could become “overwhelmed” by the sheer amount of data their endpoint devices collect, which – in turn – could have a “debilitating” effect on their datacentres.

“The datacentre will need to support and integrate exponentially increasing amounts of hardware and software over the next five years, mainly because of IoT, cloud-based initiatives and DevOps, along with all sorts of other reasons,” he said.

Datacentres will require more speed, more intelligence, greater risk management and greater innovation, but the question is do we do it ourselves, let someone else do it with us or create a new infrastructure to help support these initiatives?”

Continuing on this theme, Cappuccio cautioned enterprises against taking a “data lake” approach to storing and processing the information generated by their IoT activities, due to the high levels of infrastructure investment this may entail.

“Should you build environments like that? Does make sense? We would say, in most cases, it doesn’t,” he said.

Companies should consider using cloud-based services instead to reduce the cost, while employing the use of edge devices and micro datacentres that take care of processing IoT-generated information closer to where it is created, he added.

Overall, though, Cappuccio said one thing many of the enterprises succeeding with IoT have in common is that the work they are doing stems from IT taking its lead from what the wider business needs it to do.

“Most enterprises that are doing IoT well are not starting with IT. They’re starting with the business and asking, ‘What is it you’re trying to do, what do you want to get out of this and how can we help you?’. It’s the job of IT to support them,” he said.

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I agree. When's the last time anyone actually witnessed a five-year plan pan out? There is no way. My organization can't even maintain consistent goals or plans from quarter to quarter, let alone for 5 years. 
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