What’s Your Refresh Strategy? by Ark Data Centres, 3rd February 2016

Enterprises must adopt a nimbler and shorter-term approach to data centre upgrades, so they can respond faster to changing market trends.

That was the hard-hitting message delivered by Gartner at its recent Datacentre Infrastructure and Operations Management summit held in London.

According to Gartner, five-year strategies don’t work anymore. Thanks to the Cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT), things are changing fast. And those companies that continue to doggedly pursue a five-year datacentre investment plan will find keeping pace with competitors a struggle, says Gartner.

Gartner’s warning highlights a discussion that’s been rumbling for some time now around the topic of balancing capital spend against operating efficiency and risk mitigation.

It’s a debate that illustrates the profound ‘disconnect’ between two schools of thought: IT and Finance.

Under pressure to increase the IT organisation’s ability to rapidly respond to new business needs, while continuing to cut costs, today’s CIOs view the reduction of fixed or non-discretionary spending as the key to increasing IT agility – and that means optimising the technology refresh cycle.

But all too often, however, IT refresh decisions are driven by depreciation schedules. Resulting in the three and five-year refresh standards that, typically, are dictated by finance teams.

There’s growing recognition that IT kit can become obsolete after three years, and that refresh cycles need to be much faster -certainly, brands like Google refresh even more quickly than that – and more flexible.

Clearly, there’s a balance to strike. A technology refresh involves time and effort to do the work – something Cloud players can undertake more easily, thanks to apps that are kit-agnostic and therefore more easily transferrable.

But if you’re in the enviable position of having cracked the hardware/application separation challenge, then you’ll be able to pursue a highly optimised nine-to-18 month refresh cycle that could potentially generate significant bottom-line savings.

That’s not such a crazy concept, considering that in that time frame a new generation of IT kit will have emerged that’s capable of ‘doing’ twice as much as the previous generation. So, within three years, your infrastructure could be doing the same job using just one-fourth of the kit/space required today.

Gartner recommends IT should annually review business demands and technology evolutions, implementing a rolling refresh strategy to stay ahead of the curve. It’s an approach many of our customers are keen to pursue – and it’s a strategy we’re perfectly placed to support.

At Ark, you only pay for the infrastructure you need – an approach that works to the advantage of many of our customers. And, unlike many datacentres, which are designed to meet a 25-year vision, ours are designed to adapt to compute demand on a moment-by-moment basis.

In today’s world, this gives you a distinct advantage, because no one can predict what technology will be capable of in five years’ time, let alone the next 25.

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