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How to Repurpose an Obsolete On-Premises Data Center


There comes a time in the life of every data center when its owner faces a stark choice: update, repurpose, or unload the facility. In 2019, Gartner
predicted that A “cloud-first” mentality has gripped today’s IT world, and one result has been vacating the physical data center space, observes Steven Carlini, vice president of innovation and data center at energy and automation technology provider Schneider Electric. “Similar to the vacating of office space When it comes to repurposing an existing data center, the first step is assessing the facility and its assets. “You must understand your current hardware lifecycle, power, cooling, and physical security before setting out to make any changes,” says James Obukhovsky, associate director of cloud services at IT services and infrastructure consultancy Netrix.

Multiple Options

In most cases, enterprise-owned data centers are regarded Many data centers feature tall ceilings, open spaces, and high power and cooling capabilities. All of these attributes could be attractive to potential buyers or lessees, such as enterprises looking for a laboratory or testing facility. Another option could be targeting manufacturers specializing in some type of demanding industrial processing, such as water desalinization or electrolysis for hydrogen production, Carlini suggests.

Obukhovsky notes that enterprises also have the option of transforming an obsolete data center into a disaster recovery facility. Look at the existing hardware and other resources to see what can be leveraged, he recommends. “Building a resilient multi-phased approach will ensure that you have a method to centrally manage and automate across your new and old data center.”

If you want to repurpose a data center for disaster recovery, the first thing you need to do is wipe everything … so digital files can’t be traced back Once a data center has been decommissioned, remaining servers and storage resources can be repurposed for applications further down the chain of business criticality. “Servers that no longer offer critical core functions may still serve other departments within the organization as backups,” Carlini says. Administrators can then migrate less important applications to the older hardware and the IT hardware itself can be located, powered, and cooled in a less redundant and secure way. “The older hardware can continue on as backup/recovery systems, or spare systems that are ready for use should the main cloud-based systems go off-line,” he suggests.

Equipment Recycling

Besides reducing the need to purchase new hardware, reassigning last-generation data center equipment within the organization also raises the enterprise’s green profile. It shows that the enterprise cares about the environment and doesn’t want to add to the already existing data equipment in data centers, says Ruben Gamez CEO of electronic signature tool developer SignWell. “It’s also very sustainable.”

When data center hardware is totally obsolete and not suitable for any future use, it should be responsibly scrapped. Gamez recommends choosing an external vendor to handle the job. “A prior plan must be communicated as to how each step will be executed,” he says. Ask the vendor it outsources any part of the process and check their credibility. “Understand their security protocols for recycling,” Gamez advises.

Yet Another Option

While dedicated data centers are on the decline, there are many enterprises that, for one reason or another, still need to operate their own facility. “I think the best use for a data center is as a data center,” states Steve Padgett, global CIO at Actian, a data management, cloud integration, and analytics solutions provider. “The equipment is rather specialized and tearing the equipment out for another purpose is terribly expensive,” he notes. “As a society, we would be better off if all this equipment does not wind up in a landfill or in electronics recycling.”

What to Read Next:

  • Do Private Data Centers Make Sense Anymore?
  • 6 Reasons Why Internal Data Centers Won’t Disappear
  • How to Plan Today for Tomorrow’s Lights-Out Data Center

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