Data centers

Learning what options are reasonable for disaster recovery: Michael Cantor, Park Place

Park Place Technologies offers a smarter way to monitor, support and optimize your digital infrastructures. It is servicing more than 17,000 customers in 150+ countries. Here, Michael Cantor, Chief Information Officer, Park Place Technologies, tells us more.

Park PlaceDQI Bureau | DATAQUEST

DQ: What are the five emerging trends for data center networking in 2020+?

Michael Cantor: There are five emerging trends that we see today.

• Achieving a closer tie / increased reliability / increased bandwidth between the enterprise network and public cloud.  With more critical services placed in cloud, ensuring the reliability of that connection back to the company network via the data center has become a concern.  Also, with data warehouses receiving data from public cloud infrastructures, bandwidth between the data center and public cloud is constantly increasing.

• Continued outsourcing in day-to-day operations, such as network monitoring and VPN monitoring.

• Applying datacenter networking skills to public cloud networking.  Many of the same concepts that apply to datacenter networking, such as security configuration, are necessary in public cloud as well.  Translating those mission-critical skills to the various public cloud vendors and adding a layer of on-demand cost management skill.

• Network automation.  Using tools such as Ansible to automate more daily tasks, lower the skillset needed for maintenance, and improve the reliability of configuration changes, i.e., lower the number of outages from complex network changes.

• Continued dismantling of datacenter networking as services move to SaaS and public cloud.

DQ: How is the market now for adoption of hybrid cloud and datacenter virtualization?

Michael Cantor: These are well into the mainstream now.  Any organization not currently virtualizing in the data center is significantly behind the curve.  Given the improved reliability available in virtual infrastructures using technologies such as VMWare vMotion, not having virtualization in place could be almost considered career-limiting.

Hybrid cloud is almost unavoidable given the number of SaaS solutions in the market. Companies are well into the process of implementing services that cross from on-premise infrastructure to SaaS/public cloud in order to implement functionality such as service integration and data warehouse population.

DQ: How are you rebalancing your provision of data center services, colocation and capacity management?

Michael Cantor: We are minimizing further investments into data center services, colocation sites, or on-premise capacity in favor of public cloud.

DQ: How are you updating DR plans to reflect this new world of vendor-distributed work?

Michael Cantor: A significant amount of work and education is going on in this area. While we’ve put these areas into our DR, we’re still learning as to what options are reasonable for disaster recovery.  For example, we do extract all data and back it up, but we have no control over the software and would be unable to start an application with the data if there were a failure.  Also, it’s difficult to get a vendor to test or simulate DR, and we have yet to see any of our vendors actually get into a DR situation.  These factors make it difficult to figure out how to update DR plans.  So, while we ARE updating DR plans, it’s a trial-and-error update process at this point.

DQ: Are you looking at remote management of data centers?

Michael Cantor
: Our data centers are in colo sites, so they are already lights-out.

DQ: Demand for cloud services will soar in some sectors, but wither in other verticals. Which sectors, specifically?

Michael Cantor: I personally don’t see cloud service demand withering in any sector.  A couple of sectors have been slower to adopt: highly regulated (financial and healthcare) and GDPR-covered sectors (due to uncertainty over the regulation requirements for local data storage).  I think EMEA still lags, but the cloud vendors will figure that out and find ways to eliminate those concerns.  In financial and healthcare, they’ve become acclimated and while behind other industries, I believe they will catch up quickly.

DQ: How are CIOs looking at data centers in/post Covid-19?

Michael Cantor: It hasn’t changed my outlook: data centers should already be lights-out and virtualized, so operating them in a Covid-19 environment has been unaffected.  The one opportunity is to acquire more and more managed services to lower the daily operating burden on a company’s staff, removing any need to interact with / monitor the equipment to a minimum.

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