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Turn-key data center deployment: What should a CIO care about?

By CIOReview | Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Emerging organizations often find themselves in a state of quandary when they try to focus on growth, cost, and hot spots at the same time. What makes this predicament to burgeon is, on one hand, it is imperative that they increase their IT capacity on a continuous basis, and on another they must also contain operating costs. Ensuring business resiliency, supporting application growth and meeting customer demands makes their tasks even more intricate.

High-density computing solutions are often implemented by many organizations to meet the capacity demands which place even greater aggravation on the energy consumption of their data systems. The operation cost of their data center also goes up with the rising energy prices. Many organizations also simply run out of usable floor space which takes the possibility of building another traditional, raised-floor data center out of the equation. Organizations are thus forced to install critical IT equipment in unconditioned, unsecured and unmonitored space, which raises the issue of data security.

That’s where Turn-key data center comes in! The organizations are enabled by these modernized models for quick and cost-effective implementation increasing server room capacity. Turn-key data center provides robust and scalable solution for an organization’s IT projects and management. According to a new market survey from real estate firm Avison Young, Data center users have leased more than 400,000 square feet of turn-key data center space in the last few months.

There are three phases in which the emergence of Turn-key data center panned in. The first phase represented the converged systems, which is expected to reach $21 billion by 2019 and be close to the spending on standalone systems. The second phase saw movement to hyper-converged IT systems. This phase was as popular as the first as the operational costs were reduced significantly.” A third phase has also begun to take shape where the reach of turnkey data center systems will be expanded to power and cooling solutions.

According to SearchDataCenter, more than 82 percent of IT managers have put metrics in place to measure IT energy efficiency. But even though the interest in modular turnkey data center infrastructure grows, deployment challenges remain. What are these challenges a CIO should care about? Let’s discuss!

The perils

Traditional distribution barriers have been broken down by the augmentation of Internet based services. The corporations must thus have flexible computing infrastructure to move fast and keep up with their customers. This is where turn-key data center are helping their cause by moving away from stand-alone devices.  

While vendors deliver these turnkey data center products to speed up deployment, executives are still grappling with the systems' features and complexities.

Containing IT Services

Suitable packages have not been developed by the suppliers that will contain the entire IT services; this in-turn has resulted in low-adoption of turn-key models. Also, the container solutions may have garnered niche acceptance primarily for emergency disaster recovery or IT power in remote locations, but the approach hasn’t been the same when it comes to turn-key data centers.


Data center equipment vendors, such as Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, and Oracle did try to solve the containing issue with containerized systems project collaboration with startups such as AST Modular and Cirrascale and were more or less successful. But this gave rise to another barrier, complexity.

Even if the components are bundled up in the containerized systems approach, a lot of integration work is required for tying container systems into the current infrastructure.

Complexity also presents a huge road-block when firms try to address the troubleshooting issues as visibility is not offered by the available tools, which is required by the data center techs to quickly and accurately pinpoint problems.

Balancing the weighing scale

While infrastructure plays a huge role in deploying a Data Center, a significant part is also played by IT. The Turn-key models haven’t been able to balance this weighing scale. The demand for IT system resources has grown and time to deploy has diminished, making the process to roll out their own infrastructure a no-go for firms. While it’s easy for conglomerates such as Apple, Facebook, and Google to quickly build out massive Turn-Key data centers (as they have invested billions of dollars in IT systems and crafted varying processes), small and medium scale organization face challenges in doing so.

Though turnkey IT systems such as hyper-converged infrastructure are simpler to deploy, these vendors are less adept at dealing with power and cooling systems making it difficult to balance out IT and data center.

What should a CIO care about?

To build an agile and cost-effective turn-key model that also has an end-to-end alignment with the business goals; a CIO must re-strategize the operational and organizational priorities. Disrupting technologies and economic trends must be kept in mind, while taking this decision. Here’s a list they must focus on.

Infrastructure assessment

CIOs must concentrate on the benefits that their organization will reap if a turn-key model data center is implemented. This will include addressing the organizational issues and how a turn-key model will solve them.

Determining the type

Turn-key data center models can be employed in a stand-alone, co-located or outsourced manner. CIOs must determine the type of turn-key model best-suited for their organization. The number and location of data centers must be mapped out before taking this decision.

Addressing disrupting technologies and economic trends

CIOs must be cognizant of the disrupting technologies and economic trends and how that will affect their organization’s turn-key data center processes. This can help them in determining the suitable time to launch this project.

Achieving savings

A turn-key model deployment may incur huge bills for any organization. Thus, it is very important for CIOs to determine how they can achieve savings in server, storage and network infrastructure. Vendor comparison can be a useful metric to determine the best-suited vendor and achieve a cost-effective model.

Human Resource Management

 Processes, technology, or infrastructure can’t run on their own. Human resource is needed to run all these different elements in a consolidated and synchronized way. CIOs must encourage all the stakeholders in addressing the internal political issues, which can be a major rock and contribute to derail plans.