3 Tips to Trim Data Center Costs


1. Speed Up the Auditing Process and Free Up Your Staff The costs of compliance audits are substantial, not only monetarily, but also in terms of spent resources. The goal is to reduce the need for an administrator to be tied up dealing with the auditor.

"You need to get your arms around the auditors. We deal with multiple countries and languages where server farms distribute applications," said Jared Victor Blazowski, Chief Information Officer of General Dynamics European Land Systems. "Coralling auditors, using automation tools, having one single audit in whatever language and have a common understanding saves money."

Blazowski's team reduces the time it has to spend with auditing by predicting what the audit team asks, and then prepopulates the information they need into a management system. In that way, the auditors have access to realtime data, populated, for example, that morning and which generally has all -- or most of -- the information required. But, cautioned Mark Gathje, vice president of architecture and technology services at VeriSign, a company's focus should not be on auditors, but on figuring out what its vulnerabilities are.

2. Minimize downtime This is a no-brainer, but one worth mentioning. Downtime is a profit killer. Every organization will be faced with the rollout that doesn't go smoothly, but planning for that possibility is crucial. "The approach to take is to minimize risk," Blazowski said, adding that the fact the application does not work is not actually as critical as is the speed in which the problem can be fixed.

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3. Prevent Unauthorized Change Change is part of the IT industry. New software versions are rolled out, typically, with little trauma attached. However, unplanned or unauthorized change, which generally happens when someone forgets to plan for something that consequently has to get done in a rush, can bring a system down and be very costly.

"Unauthorized change can be no cost, or can mean 'game over,'" said Curt Smith, senior vice president, global infrastructure, E*Trade financial. "If we have 15 minutes of downtime, we have to report to auditors and you're on the news."

E-Trade minimizes downtime caused by unauthorized change by monitoring every server every night. The company also has a lot of application visibility, for example, matching the previous day's load to service loads, etc.

"Because of that visibility and because there is a lot of peer pressure here to not cause an outage [there hasn't been an outage in a long time]," Smith said. "Unfortunately, in our world, if you do cause an outage, you're not here any more. It's an effective policy, though, because it's been a long time since I had to research an outage because of an unscheduled change. "