Smarter Spending: Getting the Most Bang for Your IT Buck

Posted on July 15, 2015 by Adam Burnham

By Jeff Flanagan

Gartner recently released its forecast for worldwide technology spending, estimating that it will reach $3.5 trillion in 2015, which is a 5.5 percent drop from spending in 2014. Many people see this figure and immediately think the market is constricting, and businesses are investing less in their IT infrastructures. But this isn’t necessarily the case.

As articles in ComputerWorld and ZDNet point out, this decrease in spending may have more to do with a strong dollar and investments in hardware (i.e. iPhone, PCs, tablets) that are lasting longer than previous models, instead of a decrease in IT activity. Both of these are valid points, but at Markley Group, we are also seeing another trend that is allowing organizations to spend less on IT overall – smarter spending.

In today’s tech-focused landscape, companies understand that taking the time to understand all of their hardware and software options and select the right service provider (or providers) is critical in creating an IT infrastructure that fits their organization’s individual needs. It is also critical in achieving a flexible, scalable environment that allows them to grow and expand as business needs change.

Here are the top three trends we’re seeing across Markley Group customers that are ensuring they get the most bang for their IT buck:

  1. Data Tiering

There are many companies out there that simply pick certain storage specifications and apply them across all of their data. However, this practice often costs much more than necessary and is surprisingly ineffective. Instead, organizations should be viewing their data as tiers, and separating information based on performance and reliability requirements. For example, if you can separate your “hot” data (business-critical data that needs to be access quickly and frequently) from your “cold” data (data is rarely accessed,) you can ensure you’re implementing the most effective data storage system. Here’s a full breakdown of the most common data tiers:

  • Tier Zero – typically only about five percent of active data, including mission critical data
  • Tier One – typically 20 percent of active data and reserved for business critical data, such as business apps
  • Tier Two – around 75 percent of data – and where most of the client’s data should live
  • Tier Three – cold data, which encompasses all data, especially for compliance purposes, but with lower performance and response times than the three previous tiers
  1. Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud provides a great, cost-effective solution for organizations, while allowing businesses to maintain a mix of both public and private controls – meaning you can store business-critical, readily-accessed data on private, on-premise systems for the highest level of control, security and ownership, as well as store other, less critical data on public, off-site cloud solutions that deliver a more cost effective storage service. The mix between public and private solutions can be tailored based on individual needs, such as latency, disaster recovery, encryption and more.

  1. Colocation

Colocation is a great option for organizations that don’t have the capacity, bandwidth, resources (or even the desire) to store their data in-house. In fact, colocation facilities are purpose built, meaning they are specialized real estate with the sole purpose of housing and running servers in a data center environment – and they offer the same performance levels as a private data center without the extra upgrades, maintenance or cost. Companies that choose colocation also often have a wide-range of choices in networking and connectivity, which leads to a more personalized and cost effective solution. Ultimately, colocation is a great option for an IT environment without the incredible investment and hassle that comes with building a private data center.

How is your organization spending smarter in the IT department? Share your thoughts with us here or connect with us on Twitter. And if you’re looking to get the most for your IT budget, connect with Markley Group’s team of experts today for a discussion on the solutions that best fit your organization’s data storage needs.