Data Center

The 4 Building Blocks of a Stable IT Platform

The most critical component of a successful enterprise is a reliable network infrastructure. Instability can lead to downtime, data loss, lower productivity and, potentially, lost revenue.

This stark fact of IT life should place the reliability of the data center physical infrastructure (DCPI) at the top of an enterprise’s list of priorities.

While the DCPI encompasses many aspects of technology – providing power and cooling, physical housing, disaster protection, data security and cabling – the most stable DCPIs are managed in a holistic fashion.

In other words, managing your DCPI as an integrated system with interdependent parts increases the chance that your IT platform will remain stable and efficient.

This mindset is most critical during the design and deployment phases, when IT professionals are best able to shape the DCPI to the enterprise’s needs.

We’ve identified four building blocks essential to maintaining a stable information technology platform and thus a reliable IT business operation:

  • People
  • Process
  • Information technology
  • DCPI

DCPI is listed at the bottom not because it’s least important, but because it is the foundation upon which all others above it must rely.

But the foundation itself must be solid, and that’s why the most reliable DCPIs are usually the best-planned. Systems are chosen based on their ability to interact with other components of the DCPI system. The goal is seamless integration, products designed to work together, and few service contracts.

That also means standardization, modularity and scalability, which are essential to the long-term stability of the DCPI.

Right above DCPI in the IT business operations model is information technology – data centers, communications systems, hardware, software, etc. As with DCPIs, integration and interoperability should be a top priority when making IT purchase decisions.

How effectively information technology is used to achieve business goals is determined in large part by the processes developed for running the IT environment.

Processes must be clearly communicated, simple to understand and well-documented. Inject any confusion or inconsistency, and the end result will be inefficiency, loss of data or downtime.

The top layer, of course, is people. The IT and operational staff must have the right skills to run the DCPI and greater enterprise. They also must receive the appropriate training. Both of those requirements underscore the importance of a well-planned, integrated IT environment.

It should be emphasized that the best skills in the world won’t matter if you’re understaffed. You need enough people to effectively support the operation.

Consider that up to 60% of unplanned downtime is caused by human error, and you can see the importance of smart hiring, appropriate staffing and quality training.

Most successful businesses set (and achieve) three objectives: 1) increase revenue, 2) reduce costs, and 3) better utilize assets. An integrated DCPI can help an enterprise achieve all of these goals.

To learn more about how DCPI can help the enterprise achieve its business goals, check out the APC by Schneider Electric white paper, Data Center Physical Infrastructure: Optimizing Business Value.