We live in an increasingly complex world. You need to do what you can to make your business more efficient. One of the best ways to do that is by evaluating your infrastructure management.
Infrastructure management is gaining an increased importance in the business world. Technology like cloud computing, mobility, and the Internet of Things all have the potential to change how we live and work for the better. Unfortunately, that’s only if we can use them effectively. Otherwise, they’re a veritable nightmare for your IT department, slamming them with a plethora of challenges.
How does one balance security with convenience? What can be done to keep critical data safe when it moves outside the firewall? How can one estimate bandwidth and management costs for devices that are rarely, if ever in the office? How can a small IT department manage a massive network of endpoints, smartphones, tablets, and computers?
There’s no easy answer to any of those questions, which represent a mere sampling of the issues an IT professional faces in the modern business world. There are plenty of other roadblocks. And the more devices you bring online, the more solutions you use, the more complex and difficult those roadblocks become – because the various solutions you’ve got in place can and will overlap.
“Complexity grows over time,” explains The Weather Company’s Chief Information and Technology Officer Brian Koehler. “Systems are built to do one thing, and then they’re modified, morphed, and bastardized to do things they were never meant to do.”
There’s one obvious solution to this problem – consolidate. Get rid of old, outdated infrastructure, and toss out hardware you no longer need. Unify your management tools, and transition from hardware infrastructure to stuff like cloud servers or virtual private servers where possible.
The problem is, none of the above is exactly easy to accomplish. Consolidation on any scale takes a lot of time, money, and effort. Old infrastructure needs to be transitioned out in such a way that operations aren’t interrupted. New platforms may require additional staff training. And everything needs to be brought together in such a way that it doesn’t compromise the security of your business.
Still, it’s something that’s well worth doing – and while you tackle the task of full consolidation, you can streamline things in a few subtler, simpler ways, too.
1. Automate Common, Repetitive Tasks
First thing’s first, look at how you manage your server. Chances are, there are a few tasks and processes that are repeated on a very regular basis – and they’re probably something of a timesink, to boot. Why not consider looking into automation?
By automating common tasks and operations, you can free up both time and resources, leaving you available to focus on more important stuff than day-to-day management.
2. Examine Your Workflow
Next up, take a look at how you (and your colleagues), work. Are you as organized as you can be? Do you understand the concept of agile software development? How skilled are you at prioritizing and re-prioritizing tasks?
It may be worth your while to incorporate a tool like Trello or Atlassian’s JIRA into your IT department’s workflow – because what a lot of people forget is that employees often do as much to contribute to complexity as technology.
3. Evaluate Your Metrics
Lastly, what metrics are you using to track your server’s performance – and what are you using to capture them? If you have no idea how to answer that question, you need to form one. Look into deploying a tool like Nagios or Icinga, and keep a close eye on metrics like error rates, requests per second, and peak response time.
While on the surface this may seem like you’re adding more work to take care of, monitoring your server gives you the ability to quickly react when something’s amiss – eliminating potential crashes and cutting out complexity in the long run.
Consolidation isn’t easy, and streamlining your business’s operations is a tough challenge – but it’s more than worth it in the long run. Liquid Web can help you with this. Backed by our Heroic Support, we’ll do everything we can to tackle the lion that is server complexity – whether you need backups, CDN-optimized hosting, or something else entirely.
Carrie Wheeler is the EVP and General Manager for Liquid Web and Nexcess. Carrie’s background has given her a unique perspective on how to combine excellent products and services. In her 25 years of experience in technology, telecommunications, hosting, and cloud services (at MCI, AT&T, and Cbeyond to name a few) she has served many roles in both Information Technology and Customer Operations.
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