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Information Technology Navigator

Tips, Advice & Insights from Technology Pros

Is a Data Center Assessment in Your Future?

Posted by Sean Gilbride

Thu, Oct 08, 2015

Data Center Assessment

“Do more with less” has become the mantra folks in IT have come to live by. It is the reality we live with every day. We must be as efficient and effective as possible to be able to compete in today’s market. We must find a way to be viewed as an innovation center, and not a cost center to the business.

How we go about enabling the enterprise to innovate is what sets us apart. It all starts with a good plan and to have a good plan, you must understand the strengths and more importantly, the weaknesses in your IT environment.


“We must find a way to be viewed as an innovation center, and not a cost center to the business.”


IT Assessments should maximize value to your organization

We’ve all been there. You pay “experts” to come in and perform an assessment of your IT environment. But when you receive the final deliverable, you’re left with more questions than answers.

Why are we paying so much money for such little value?

A valuable assessment, like an interactive roadmap, should be designed to clearly show you the road ahead, and should identify the following details:

  1. Where you need to prioritize your resources and why
  2. Which issues need to be addressed immediately and which can be earmarked as a lower priority
  3. How to ensure a proven framework to consistently deliver high quality

The most valuable assessments span multiple technologies and account for the many interdependencies within your custom environment. These comprehensive deliverables provide strategic, actionable and prioritized steps as well as consideration for non-critical, longer-term issues that can turn into major road hazards if not addressed in the future.

“The most valuable assessments span multiple technologies and account for the many interdependencies within your custom environment.”


What makes an assessment valuable?

Specificity and breadth. The best assessments are the ones that are highly descriptive and go very deep into your environment to uncover hidden issues impacting your architecture & design, system health, alignment to best practices, system performance and the maintenance of your underlying environment.

“The best assessments are the ones that are highly descriptive and go very deep into your environment to uncover hidden issues.”


A well designed assessment includes a granular score card that highlights the strengths and weaknesses of your environment as well as the integration points. It includes a comprehensive report which goes in-depth into the findings, the associated impact and finally a summary of recommendations.

But that’s not all. The summary report should be prioritized with a timeline that clearly maps out the urgency of each recommended action - immediate term (< 30 day), short term (< 90 days) and long term (> 90 days) remediation. These recommendations should be prescriptive in nature and clearly identify the path to remediation, and include a final deliverable that is tailored to executive, managerial and technical audiences to ensure all parties understand the state of the infrastructure.


“The summary report should be prioritized with a timeline that clearly maps out the urgency of each recommended action.”


Preventative maintenance and optimization are the key

When was the last time you scheduled and appointment to see your doctor for an annual checkup? What about the last time you scheduled an annual tune-up for your car to make sure it was roadworthy. We do these things without second thought, yet we often overlook the importance of performing the same preventative maintenance on the systems that are critical to our businesses.

The simple fact is that IT professionals spend so much time implementing new business solutions along with the day-to-day maintenance of core functions, that monitoring the health and optimization of our infrastructure takes a back seat. Don’t laugh. According to Forbes, the day-to-day maintenance and core IT functions require 75% -> 80% of our time.

With all of this time spent on just keeping systems running, it’s easy to lose sight of the need to take a fresh look at things. More importantly, if you were able to address inefficiencies within your infrastructure, how much of this time spent keeping the lights on could you reallocate to focus on innovation?

“According to Forbes, the day-to-day maintenance of core IT functions requires 75% -> 80% of our time.”


When was the last time you had an incident in your environment which was later determined to have been entirely preventable? Although tough to admit, it’s happened to all of us.

IT systems are incredibly complex and your team may not have the time, skill sets or tools required to perform a deep inspection to ensure your systems are healthy and designed for resiliency. Proactive monitoring and reporting can help but annual, regularly scheduled inspections can uncover many gaps missed by traditional monitoring solutions.

How proactive you are to resolve each issue will determine if you’re a cost center or innovation center.

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