IT Infrastructure Designed for Your Business

By: Jeff Boyer | April 29, 2024

You may have heard stories about the legendary Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA. When first built, it was a modest two-story, eight-room farmhouse. Later, it was the target of an ongoing renovation and construction project, ultimately turning the simple home into a 24,000-square-foot, sprawling property with nearly 160 rooms.

What started as a small but functional home, over time became a massive estate with more bells and whistles than needed. If this reminds you a bit of your IT infrastructure, you’re not alone. When you first planned it, your IT infrastructure was carefully designed, built, and aligned for current business needs, along with any conceivable growth.

Chances are good that your technology platform is based on what was state of the art at the time but is now supplemented by an extensive list of bolt-on, incremental changes and gap filling solutions. Sound familiar?

Meanwhile, your business strategy has probably shifted. Not to mention the unpredictable factors like the pandemic, and innovative technologies like Artificial Intelligence have combined to render that carefully built technology strategy outdated.

Over time your business evolves, and thus managing your IT infrastructure becomes a project similar to that of Winchester House, eventually enduring a series of overly complex, costly to support, and difficult to secure additions and expansions.

Stuck in the Status Quo

Your IT Infrastructure is the fabric that enables your business. You rely on the interconnected components and systems of hardware, software, networks, data centers, and cloud services that support the delivery of your products or services. IT infrastructure supports vital organizational functions like HR, sales, marketing, distribution, finance, order processing, and billing - just to name a few.

And yet it’s because of its importance to the larger organization that often makes leaders reluctant to change course when it comes to their IT infrastructure. It’s called status quo bias and it results in IT leaders only making small, incremental changes – such as adding a new application in the cloud, adding a new rack of storage, or leaving multiple, duplicative data centers in place.

Technical silos inside IT organizations can also contribute to the divergence from business objectives. Typical silos include network, server, storage, cloud, and security teams that focus on their specific domains and tend to create new requirements that are rarely mapped back to a business use-case.

A Catalyst for Change

Change happens when the status quo meets a non-negotiable imperative – such as a lease expiration, merger or spinoff, or end-of-life announcements rendering parts or support no longer available. And yet, that change results in significant gains from a better, more relevant IT infrastructure.

Say you had to move a data center because your building’s lease is expiring. You wouldn’t just move what you had - you'd use the lease expiration as the catalyst for change to build a modern hybrid infrastructure combining cloud and physical elements that best fit the current business needs.

So why wait until you’re forced to change?

Infrastructure Modernization in Action

It’s common to see companies with multiple overlapping (and costly) monitoring or automation toolsets used by network, server, and cloud teams. Each silo chooses the tools that are best for their domain, not the single toolset that is best for the business.

In March of 2020, Solarwinds Orion software was compromised by hackers and malicious code was distributed to the users of their infrastructure monitoring platform. One of our clients who was affected by this event decided to shut down the solution and start looking for an alternative vendor to replace Solarwinds. After a brief search they landed on an alternative solution and discovered they had already purchased the solution years earlier, had been paying for licenses and support, but never fully implemented it. This is a common occurrence in large organizations.

Other examples of waste in IT include:

  • Applications that are licensed and supported well past their business need
  • Old infrastructure that is kept running without business justification
  • Multiple overlapping solutions that are partially implemented
  • Costly short-term licenses and support contracts based on uncertainty
  • Added resources and skills required to support legacy systems
  • Service provider contracts that are not cost optimized and aligned with a strategic plan
  • Lack of alignment between business and IT to guide decision making

More often than not, when a client is more aligned and efficient than most, it’s because they have recently gone through a significant event (such as a merger, acquisition, relocation, or other external catalyst) that required them to take a step back and create a strategic vision.

These external catalysts often come with short timelines and limited resources that become project constraints and ultimately lead to compromises in the final design.

Be the Catalyst!

If your IT Infrastructure is an evolution of multiple technologies rather than a prescriptive design built to enable your business, be proactive and think about a future state design that is aligned with your business requirements and create a budget friendly timeline for transition.

And if you need help coming up with a new strategic plan for your IT infrastructure, consider a CoreAIR or other hybrid infrastructure engagement with Core BTS.

Jeff Boyer is a Director of Innovation at Core BTS specializing in Network and Datacenter Infrastructure solutions. He has over 20 years of experience architecting and deploying infrastructure solutions and is a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE).

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