IT Infrastructure Lifecycle Management Best Practices
Park Place Technologies
Thanks to technology advancements, as accurately foreseen by Moore’s Law, your complex IT estate is constantly turning over. While the effects of these advancements can be beneficial for businesses, end users, and the planet at large, these developments can quickly complicate your life as a Data Center Manager or Systems Administrator.
While managing the lifecycle of your IT infrastructure is not your only job, it can absorb disproportionate amounts of your time if you don’t follow best practices.
What Is IT Lifecycle Management?
IT Lifecycle Management (ITLM) is the process of identifying which purpose each component of your current or ideal IT infrastructure serves, how long it can optimally maintain that purpose, and then planning its retirement, replacement or upgrade.
Ordinarily, a component would be a physical asset such as server, storage, or networking gear, but can also be housing infrastructure from a chassis or rack to a data center location or series of locations. Some businesses may choose to include data management, human resources and contractors, and policies, systems or software in its Lifecycle Management process.
The IT Management Lifecycle itself is a structure consisting of:
Challenges of Information Technology Lifecycle Management
Infrastructure lifecycle management is ever-changing and always growing more and more complex. The expectations on your IT team grow at a compounding rate, while your budget seems to increase by mere percentage points each year. The following three challenges are among the most common throughout the IT lifecycle management process.
Environment Expands Beyond Control
Growth is necessary in a healthy system, but managing growth can present difficulties. The more assets, systems, applications and events that get added to an IT ecosystem, the more networking and data center problems are created. Reduce friction by streamlining common tasks and reduce human error by implementing automation tools, like real-time network monitoring software.
Outstanding items left to fix later, or legacy systems and code will hinder efforts if there’s no unified IT lifecycle management process or single set of tools to manage everything within your organization. These can also be obstructed by not having enough staff.
Business Continuity (BC)
A strong BC plan recognizes potential threats to an organization when planning replacements, hardware upgrades and data center decommissioning. As an IT Ops professional, you have a need to ensure the vital business objectives are met and you leverage maximum uptime.
Benefits of IT Infrastructure Lifecycle Management
A consistent IT infrastructure lifecycle is one that looks after the entirety of your organization and stays true to being cyclical: each stage proceeds from the last and into the next.
Infrastructure lifecycle management of content, software, and patches across all assets helps eliminate risks involved with compatibility, unsigned packaged or security vulnerabilities.
Your business relies on IT systems, uptime and load speed. If users cannot quickly access the data they need, it could have an immediate impact on the bottom line. Provisioning at scale over co-located data centers using platform-agnostic tools becomes easier with a properly implemented management system.
View of Managed Assets and Configurations
See at-a-glance what your IT estate encompasses and how it’s operating against baseline configurations and data gleaned from the past. You can achieve this through the help of IT asset discovery tools, network asset discovery software, or manual inventory methods. This enables you to achieve your desired system state that stays in line with budget constraints.
How Does the IT Infrastructure Lifecycle Work?
The ideal outcome is to end up with a list of all your infrastructure components and their current utilization across your organization. You can then find areas of optimization for efficiency that can impact the following: updates, power usage and cooling, extended warranty coverage, budgeting for new assets and opportunities to utilize cost-saving efforts.
Through the management of hardware end of life dates, coterminous contracts and an overview of all upcoming important infrastructure milestones, you can define your objectives for purchasing, procurement and decommissioning. Every business will have unique needs to be considered. When planning, consider how decommissioned assets can be reused, what to do with old IT assets, and how their replacement is going to be procured.
By reincorporating information from the decommissioning and budget management of your existing assets, as well as moving aging assets to disaster recovery or backup, you can free up budget for the year ahead to identify key assets for procurement. By working with a third-party maintenance company or with careful planning, your IT procurement management practices can also help contribute to reduced cost and risk. When procuring new assets, have a plan for their deployment as well as a strong idea of their end-of-life dates.
Installing and implementing the components of IT infrastructure using highly skilled technicians, admins and managed service providers is essential. IT asset deployment is where both the planning and procurement stages pay off and the benefits of a fully developed planning system are realized. Ensure that when you are deploying, you have full transparency and monitoring for how these assets will perform.
Asset Management (ITAM)
During maintenance and measurement periods, automation of procedures and continuous delivery can yield further improvements. These IT asset management practices alongside preventing security breaches, improving UX, and legal and compliance monitoring can then feed back into the planning and procurement phases. Keep up to date on the latest developments and have a plan for repairing, replacing and/or upgrading this equipment.
Decommissioning and IT Asset Disposition (ITAD)
You can maximize asset recovery value or offset new equipment costs by reincorporating aging assets back into your system in areas that are less critical as part of your asset lifecycle management. Otherwise, establishing data destruction standards and ensuring security through proper data decommissioning and IT asset disposition procedures is vital.
3 Best Practices of IT Infrastructure Lifecycle Management
The technology lifecycle management best practices can be broken down into three easy steps:
1. Keep a Current IT Inventory
Your inventory should include descriptions of assets, their standard operating benchmarks, end-of-life dates, parts, spares, contracts and SLAs, as well as meta data such as location and hardware and software details.
2. Contingency Planning for EOL & EOSL
Ensuring compliance with upgrades, adaptability to enterprise demands, and planned phasing-out of insecure or unsupported technologies. In times where timely IT hardware acquisition is difficult, third party data center maintenance companies can provide multi-vendor support to extend the life of your IT infrastructure.
3. Leverage Network and Hardware Monitoring
The best information you can get is from within your own organization. Use network, storage, and server hardware monitoring tools to stay on top of your own baseline statistics and inform your next quarter or annual plans. Automating data center chores can help free up your team’s time for more strategic initiatives.
The Right Data Center Networking and Optimization Partner Can Help
Fortunately for you, there are strategic partners that can offer post-warranty network maintenance, storage maintenance, and server maintenance or a more comprehensive infrastructure managed services package to ease or eliminate the pressure of IT chores.
Park Place Technologies can shoulder the tedious infrastructure tasks that burden your team so that you can focus on strategies that help future-proof your operations. Contact us today to learn how we can help optimize your IT output!