How to Improve IT Efficiency: 3 Strategies to Keep Services Up and Costs Down
IT is an integral part of the business and is fast reaching utility status (if it hasn’t already achieved it). Increasingly lower costs for sourcing infrastructure have made it possible to run more applications than ever before which has mistakenly made some IT processes, such as capacity management, seem obsolete. But is it actually efficient to stick to a strategy focused on additional provisioning?
The key IT management drivers now revolve around quality of service and cost control. The main focuses for IT are:
- improving business workforce productivity through quality of service
- improving IT efficiency by maintaining service quality while reducing costs.
That leads us to the term “IT Efficiency.” What are we trying to achieve when we talk about improving IT efficiency? IT efficiency means doing more with less, or maintaining or improving the quality of IT services while reducing the cost of those services.
1. Server Consolidation
There are a few reasons to focus on consolidation of physical hosts, but one of the most compelling is to reduce the burden on IT staff. Server sprawl has often resulted in a wide variety of hardware, each suited to a particular type of application. That means multiple kinds of operating systems, interfaces, and administration requirements, which require more time and resources to manage. And they likely are not all used to full capacity.
Another factor is power and cooling savings. More and more, organizations are slimming their energy budgets and trying to decrease usage overall. But continually adding more servers that use a lot of power and generate a lot of heat doesn’t achieve that goal.
Workload and server consolidation is one way to achieve greater IT efficiency when it comes to personnel burden and cost saving.
2. Virtualization and Cloud Instances
One of the main benefits of virtualization and public and private cloud is the impact on operational costs and space needed. But when migrating workloads onto those platforms, you need to carefully analyze the impact.
Let’s take a look at virtualization first. Combining multiple workloads on fewer physical hosts can lead to great savings and increased flexibility. But a simple lift-and-shift operation can also jeopardize their quality and availability. Understanding the requirements of each workload and the overall impact of the workloads combined on a host or in a cluster is paramount to successful transition.
Public and private cloud can provide great benefits for your organization for a lot of reasons. But capacity management is particularly important in order to ensure that you are optimizing the cost. Most workloads and their assigned resources will benefit from trimming and refactoring to operate a peak performance in the cloud. This serves to keep cloud costs down.
Virtualization and cloud can help achieve greater IT efficiency when it comes to resource utilization and efficiency.
3. Predictive Analytics
Many IT organizations are positioned to correct application performance problems after rather than before they occur. And, since our first strategy to improve IT efficiency consolidates workloads onto fewer servers, those workloads could interfere with each other and cause performance problems. While costs went down with hardware elimination, quality of IT services also went down.
The solution to keeping quality of IT services high and costs low is predictive analytics. Having a tool that identifies problems through automated predictive analytics before they happen is essential in improving IT efficiency. And the same tool that can help you monitor your cloud instances should also be able to do predictive analytics. That way, consolidation has the desired effect of reducing the burden on IT while not decreasing quality of service.
Being able to be proactive with potential application issues also means that fewer IT personnel will have to fight fires.
After a performance issue such as an outage or slowdown, more IT personnel are needed to resolve the issues than would have been needed to prevent outages or slowdowns. That decreases efficiency and halts other critical projects.
Overall, these 3 strategies work together to achieve long-lasting, improved IT efficiency.
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