Silo Wars: The Reality of the Modern Data Center

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu

Users rarely consider enabling technologies until something goes wrong. Well-engineered technology, whether a bridge over the Potomac or a cluster of dynamically-provisioned servers, should be invisible when performing optimally. Put another way, for those it supports, your infrastructure should neither be seen nor heard. This creates a fundamental disconnect between the tacticians focused on maintaining the specific technologies they find themselves responsible for, and the strategists responsible for the performance of the infrastructure as a whole, and the mission-critical services such as CRM, ERP, and email that they underlie.

While those who find themselves elbow-deep in the datacenter may know their racks down to the cable, at the C-level and the user level, what matters is how well the service they’re providing performs. This disconnect between the real-world realities of a chassis in a rack, the SAN it’s wired into, the network delivering it up – and the abstraction of the one or many services it provides sometimes creates conflict both within the data center and all the way up to the corner office.  It’s a challenge many technical managers are familiar with – the need for an approach to real-world problems that blends the tactical realities of a humming data center with the strategy required to innovate.

So how can a savvy technical manager reconcile these two worlds?

An approach that allows for the consideration of your infrastructure as a whole, yet provides room for considering each inextricably linked component is, we believe, the best way to manage the new reality of IT. For someone working in a role that requires them to have a foot in both the tactics of enabling technology and the strategy of providing services is aware that nowadays, no transformative technology decision can be made without affecting the core pillars of your infrastructure – your servers, storage, networking, and client endpoints.The modern data center is like a house of cards – the wrong move in your storage environment can bring the server environment crashing down – leaving your network with nothing to deliver to end users.

Worse yet, is that tackling, say, networking projects without taking into account the needs of your client environment, can not only leave money on the table – but worse, it can leave organizations with a solution that doesn’t integrate well or even function properly.

Softchoice’s assessment services approach uses a unified methodology that allows organizations to investigate their infrastructures and validate decisions at an organizational level, while still conducting targeted activities in the areas of server performance, storage, the network, and client endpoints to make sure no critical enabling technology is under-represented.

Whether conducting a Server Virtualization Assessment to better understand how to decrease your datacenter footprint, or carrying out a Network Discovery Assessment to better understand your entire network and any opportunities for improvement, you’ll be plugged in to a process that allows you to broaden the scope of the project to encompass the whole datacenter without leaving any of the necessary specifics out.

So can a technical manager successfully blend tactics and strategy to prevail in the cross-silo skirmishes and win the war for the data center floor? Absolutely – by ‘smashing the silo’ and addressing the infrastructure as a whole, but doing so while armed with the specifics about each core infrastructure area.

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About Dean Williams

Dean Williams is the Manager of Services Development at Softchoice and is responsibilie for working with customers to understand their needs, and the creation of tools and services to better serve them.