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Making a business case for your data centre upgrade

Making a business case for your data centre upgrade

Schneider Electric - It can be challenging to justify and make a case when it comes to upgrading an existing deployment. Take the sudden shift to work from home (WFH) around the world as an example. Daunted by the complexity, the additional work of setting up a proper work environment, and concerns about whether the company will pay for it, many of us typically limp along with whatever we have.

Why we don’t upgrade

The same can be said of the data centre. While data centre professionals understand the significant gains that can be made by modernising data centre infrastructure, it is no walk in the park to convince senior management to take on the risks and cost of an upgrade. And we are not even talking about the technical challenges of designing and implementing an upgrade yet!

Examples of a data centre upgrades might range from basic battery replacement, overhauling a backup power generator, swapping out an ageing uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system for a modern one, or upgrading the data centre infrastructure management to a newer version.

The result is that many data centres continue using the same set of equipment for years on end, while data centre professionals do their best (and keep their fingers crossed) that nothing will break on their shift. As a customer or a stakeholder with workloads running in such a data centre, this is probably not a situation you want.

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The case for upgrading

So how can we convince decision-makers and key executives of the need to modernise a data centre? This comes down the use of hard numbers and clear benefits to establish the business case in a way that executives can understand.

Below are four key strategies that data centre professionals can use to make their point.

  • Newer systems are more efficient: Power and cooling systems from a decade ago are simply less efficient than their modern equivalents today. Modern equivalents are typically more compact, easier to deploy and scale, have lower maintenance overheads, and crucially, are more energy-efficient and gentler on the environment. An upgrade can hence free up additional space for additional systems from the same building or space – while increasing reliability and manageability.
  • Measuring the savings: Various online calculators are available to help businesses estimate the operational and efficiency savings from an upgrade. For a start, check out Schneider Electric’s 3 Phase UPS Modernisation OPEX Calculator, Single Phase UPS Efficiency Calculator, Li-ion and VRLA UPS Battery TCO Calculator, or the Edge UPS Fleet Management Comparison Calculator.
  • Longer lifespan: Some vendors such as Schneider Electric also offer modernisation services that include offering new equipment at discounted prices. Newer infrastructure can also be deployed in a modular fashion, and typically incorporate serviceable and upgradeable components that can add life to an existing system while simultaneously reducing the risk of failure and interruptions to the business.
  • Market demand for sustainability: A recent report by 451 Research that interviewed 800+ data centre service providers worldwide revealed that 57 percent of the respondents believe efficiency and sustainability will be highly important competitive differentiators in three years. The common areas that operators are focusing on include optimizing and upgrading of cooling and power distribution infrastructure. Both areas tie in with efficient use of resources which lead to increased savings over time.

Of course, the actual value of an upgrade is heavily influenced by the organisation’s overall priorities and strategy, so the relative importance of each of the above might vary. Other variables that matter will include potential business losses stemming from unscheduled downtime from an unavailable ERP or downed factory automation.

Additional you can click here to learn more about the report by 451 Research and gain insights on how sustainability in business is no longer an option, but an imperative regardless of industries.

There is a lot to consider when making a data centre upgrade. Hopefully, the above tips will be helpful for your journey.

Article by Michael Kurniawan, Vice President - Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric

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