What are the Best Use Cases for the On Premises Data Center?
What are the practical use cases for an on premises (in-house) data center? When does it make sense to maintain hardware in a data center that is located in your office building or a leased office building?
Here are the most common:
Leveraging your on premises data center investment – You’ve invested capital (money) into your in-house data center with physical security, multiple power feeds, multiple generators and UPS equipment. The facility meets your uptime requirements, and the CFO wants the business to get its money’s worth from the investment.
Small footprints with lower uptime requirements – You have a few servers and some network gear, the lion’s share of the users are in the building, and your organization can tolerate some downtime if there is a power or equipment failure. Investing in generators and battery backup may not make financial sense, so the cheapest way to go is to run the equipment in a converted office or closet.
High demand workloads – Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI, is the most common workload we see remaining in an on premises data center. Hardware and network performance are critical for VDI success, and many IT teams would rather have the VDI servers and network in-house to minimize latency.
Lots of Ethernet connected instruments, machine tools or other devices – Your manufacturing facility or laboratory has machine tools or instruments that communicate via the same Ethernet network as your servers. Often these connected tools or instruments have special software or latency specifications that require local server hardware, applications and control.
Today, cloud servers (or Infrastructure as a service – IaaS) and modern telecom circuits are addressing some of these use cases. Small footprints can often be moved to a cloud-based server environment for costs similar to purchasing servers, with significant maintenance workload reductions for IT staff. Low-latency telecom circuits and private cloud infrastructure can match high demand workloads and in-house performance with much better uptime.
And an on premises data center doesn’t have to mean hardware purchases or hardware maintenance. Some cloud providers, including Expedient, offer an on premises version of private cloud as an alternative to traditional off-site cloud or hardware purchases. Some on premises clouds offer near instant failover capabilities to the cloud to protect against the known risks of on premises outages.
How do you choose which approach is right for you?
Review your workloads – Are they high demand? Are they dependent on low latency connections to equipment?
Evaluate your tolerance for downtime – If your downtime needs to be low or zero and you’re committed to on premises, you’re going to need a very expensive in-house data center or an on premises cloud solution with fast failover.
Consider maintenance workload – Does it make sense to significantly reduce IT staff maintenance workload by using cloud infrastructure rather than in-house equipment? Would the organization benefit by pointing the IT staff at the business rather than server hardware and other data center “plumbing”? Contact me for an in-depth discussion of your environment and what approach may be best for your company.
Doug Theis is the Director of Market Strategy in Expedient’s Indianapolis market focused on engaging with and improving the regional IT community through planning, sponsoring and attending community events, facilitating IT-focused continuing education opportunities, and sharing strategies, tactics, and research to help IT professionals stay abreast of best practices and industry trends. Connect with Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.