Special Report

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Next-Generation Data Centers

Change often has come slowly to the federal data center, and for good reason. Given the importance of the data center, agencies prefer to stick with traditional designs and solutions. Unfortunately, with the increasing complexity of the IT enterprise, those designs have proven inefficient and inflexible and are not likely to meet future needs. Fortunately, the next generation of data centers, based on new technologies and innovative processes, is quickly taking shape.

Traditionally, government efforts to reduce the cost of data center operations have focused on energy use. But more and more agencies are recognizing that the latest generation of data center technology provides new ways to reduce expenses and better align operations with mission requirements.
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The one-size-fits-all approach to data center design is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. With the emergence of virtualization, converged infrastructure and other technologies, agencies have numerous options for designing a data center that meet their needs.
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Most agencies will not migrate to a software-defined data center in one fell swoop. Nonetheless, the potential for reduced expenses and increased flexibility in all aspects of data center operations is attracting more and more interest from IT managers.
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Storage has often been an afterthought in traditional data centers, but it will be front-and-center in the next generation. Tiered storage, solid state flash drives and converged systems will all play a part in future data center operations.
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The modular data center, whether offered as a complete containerized solution or a selection of prefabricated elements, is stirring interest among government agencies. It is not mainstream yet, but its potential to quickly add capacity while saving on costs may soon move the modular data center to center stage.
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