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Consolidation should be done for the future: Alcatel-Lucent

Data centre consolidation is nothing to be afraid of, and organisations should do it in preparation for the future, says Ahmed Youssef, business development manager for network infrastructure at Alcatel-Lucent MEA.

“You don’t necessarily have to dump everything and bring up a whole data centre all at once, because that can be easily hundreds of millions of dollars. I think that is the scary part for a lot of organisations,” Youssef said.

“It is something you can migrate to in stages. In general you want to choose a solution that has open standards, inter-operability and scalability. The data centre will eventually need to be redone, but it can be done in a phased approach through a stage of migration,” he added.

Youssef said that while data centre consolidation is vital to adapt new technologies, it is equally important to avoid the common pitfalls.

“To be honest, right now it really is a major sea change and complete refresh of the data centre because of virtualisation, explosion of information and big data. It really requires, from the ground up, a whole new foundation,” Youssef said.

“One of the biggest risks is not looking properly at the big picture. When an organisation has a lot of silos of expertise that’s related to the data centre, they don’t talk to each other. The application developers don’t talk to the infrastructure management, who are not talking to the storage group. That lack of coordination is a big risk in not properly designing the data centre,” he added.

Youssef also believes that companies should definitely not go through logical and physical consolidation before rationalisation.

“A lot of people are focusing on the data centre from within a particular organisation in one particular location, but they’re not looking at the big picture over the WAN and the data centre interconnect between locations,” he said.

“Any decisions you make are going to affect you for the next 10 to 20 years, so you have to be very careful in really making the right decision in the core of the network. The data centre fabric is the most important thing. You want to make sure you have the fastest performing infrastructure with the lowest latency,” he added.

Youssef said Alcatel-Lucent focuses on the ethernet fabric for consolidating everything into data centres, and now is the time for companies to embrace this new way of thinking.

“In the past 15 to 20 years, I would say network infrastructure has been kind of the same and it’s been treated kind of like plumbing. It’s been not much in the way of revolutionary ideas,” he said.

“Now with the whole data explosion it’s requiring a whole new fabric, the core itself and foundation for the future,” he concluded.

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