Infrastructure refers to the processes, procedures, and systems that make up your business or department. Choosing the right infrastructure has a huge effect on the future of your company and how it grows. Organizations with leading IT infrastructure practices are also more likely to deliver superior financial results and optimized business outcomes.
How much infrastructure do you need?
There is no blanket answer to this question. It is individual to the company or department's needs. Your first task is to determine those needs.
When building out your initial IT infrastructure, don’t underestimate the importance of planning for growth. It’s important to plan an IT infrastructure that meets present needs while being scalable as the company grows.
Many companies make the mistake of purchasing only the minimum IT infrastructure necessary to support their current operations, but fail to plan for future IT needs. This can cause workflow challenges and poor decision-making under stressful situations, which can cost a company its edge.
There are two separate ways to create infrastructure: end-to-end or converged infrastructure, or infrastructure delivery.
The biggest benefit to converged infrastructure is that it aggregates all IT needs into one package, which simplifies operations. You are working with a single vendor, who handles everything from cloud storage to budgeting, financing, and innovation. Most vendors also offer ongoing support and maintenance and implement updates as needed. This can reduce outage times and streamline support processes.
Converged infrastructure is a good choice if there are more needs or major growth in the future. It can be financially beneficial to condense services into one package because of the savings in the long run. It offers easier management and advanced automation.
High costs on the front end and limited flexibility have made some companies slow to adopt this method. Another drawback is that you may not always get optimal performance from each component if you're using the single vendor approach.
Infrastructure delivery may not be as extensive as converged infrastructure. There is often more emphasis on aspects like newer outsourcing models, networking services, and cloud solutions. It also doesn’t always cover other areas of operations like budgeting, financing, and supporting product innovation. Your company may have to utilize two or more vendors to fully accommodate all the company’s needs, which can be costly.
But while there are multiple management interfaces and more complex support solutions, it’s still a lower cost compared to the converged infrastructure option.
Which option is best ultimately depends on your current and projected future needs. If only a handful of services is needed and the won’t be any major growth, infrastructure delivery is sufficient. It’s also good if you like specific services from specific vendors, and might be a smart choice for small startups, as the initial outlay of cash will be less.
Converged infrastructure is probably better for a new data center. It often does not fit with already-existing data center infrastructures and that in turn can create a costly and complex replacement strategy.
In order to determine which infrastructure is best for your company, identify the specific needs of your business. It’s important to end up with secure data storage, access to top of the line communication tools, and increased productivity in all departments, regardless of how you get there. It’s also a good idea revisit your infrastructure on a regular basis to see if it is still a good fit for your needs.
The right type of structure that can be expanded to serve future needs will be your best choice, whether it is converged infrastructure, or infrastructure delivery.