As the first Spring of the new decade rolls around, we are all currently dealing with finding things to do while staying at home during this global situation. But while COVID-19 may have changed your routine, one productive way you can use the time as always is to revisit your IT infrastructure. Most likely, your IT infrastructure has become increasingly cluttered over the last ten years, and while tidying up your IT infrastructure is not the same as tidying up your house, it can bring great benefits just like a deep house clean would be. It is never the wrong time to take stock of your current IT environment and look for ways to make it more efficient, more manageable, and more cost-effective to your organization.
Just like putting on some rubber gloves and giving the bathtub a good scrub, no-one looks forward to doing an IT infrastructure Spring clean. However, the benefits of taking a deep dive into the cluttered chaos of your IT infrastructure has several benefits. Not only does decluttering your IT infrastructure allow for reduced time taken in IT issues and smoother operations, but it also makes future growth easier and less costly. So now that you know how doing an IT infrastructure spring clean can benefit your business, you can use this blog as a checklist for your deep clean.
The Kondo Method
The Netflix show ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ started a new craze that swept the nation and had people clearing out their homes by using Marie Kondo’s signature method - only keep objects that spark joy. The same can be implemented when cleaning out your IT infrastructure. While the visual of a server room filled with computing devices all neatly organized with flashing lights may be appealing, it is not always the appearance that matters.
Reducing the rack space in your server room by using hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) appliances and hyperconverged solutions to replace the legacy monolithic servers could actually save you money, and saving money brings any business owner joy. In the past, multiple physical hosts were needed for computing and multiple storage devices were needed for redundancy, however hyperconverged technology has made it possible to consolidate servers and storage into a single appliance. This means that you will have fewer devices which means lower costs to power, cool, manage, and maintain.
Get Rid of Licenses
Software licenses are an IT rabbit hole. First, you purchase a software license to use the software, then there’s the license if you want to be able to manage the software on multiple servers from a single console, and then again your license doesn’t include that new feature you have heard about - so you’ll need a new license for that. It can drive anyone crazy.
The good news is that not all solutions license this way. There are some solutions, such as edge computing solutions and hyperconverged solutions, that allow you to pay once and only worry about regular support and maintenance fees. These solutions also don’t implement a tax for every feature.
Consider Simplification in Management
Does your IT management workstation look like a battleship control room or NASA’s mission control? Well, it shouldn’t. Most IT infrastructures will be built of different components and each of those components will have their own management consoles - even worse, there may even be a management console just for storage or one just for server hardware, maybe even another one that’s just for backup and DR solutions. All these consoles make it a headache to ensure everything is monitored and running smoothly, thus leaving space for human error.
How can this be fixed? HCI. Good hyperconverged solutions eliminate this requirement of monitoring several consoles. This is achieved because hyperconverged solutions consolidate the storage, servers, virtualization, and backup/DR into a single console where they all can be managed from.
End your Commitment to Vendors Not Sparking Joy
Multiple vendors may make you feel that your IT infrastructure is secure, however this is actually the worse type of clutter you can have. Having one vendor for storage, another for backup, another for virtualization, and so on can be a nightmare in the case of a technical incident. Each vendor will start to point the blame on another causing your more stress than is needed to identify and resolve the issue.
Therefore, reducing the number of vendors you are working with avoids the finger-pointing and allows for issues to be resolved quicker and more efficiently. Once again, HCI can help to achieve this. HCI allows for a single vendor solution. Utilizing a hyperconverged solution means that you benefit from getting your storage, servers, virtualization, and backup/DR solution from one server. Not only does this reduce the number of vendors you have to speak to when something goes wrong, but it also reduces the amount of contact information you have to store as well as the number of support contracts you have to keep track of and renew.
While the steps taken to tidy up your infrastructure are not as simple or commonly known as deep cleaning your house, the benefits are similar. Reduced stress, easier time management, and lower costs. While you may use this season to clean your IT infrastructure, it shouldn’t only be an annual event, there is never a wrong time to take stock of your IT infrastructure and see where you can make changes to bring you, and your IT team, more joy.