Whether or not IT budgets have recovered to pre-recession levels, the pressure on IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) managers to maximize the work that can be accomplished by the least budgetary dollars will always be a given.
Analyst firm Gartner plans to present an in-depth discussion on what steps leaders can take to help optimize I&O budgets at its upcoming Gartner Data Center & Operations Summit in London, and at the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas.
Implementing the suggested steps could result in a reduction of I&O costs by as much as 25 percent, the company said.
At the top of the list, according to a Gartner statement, is to defer projects and costs that aren't absolutely necessary for the business. Among the questions that managers should ask are whether a project supports a key business initiative, does it lower I&O costs in the time required, and does it lower the risk of major outages or performance degradation?
Networking and data center costs are high, but they are often flexible, so another cost saver is to constantly monitor and renegotiate sourcing of network services.
"Because nearly half of the network expenses go to telecom service providers, network managers need to continue to renegotiate contracts with these vendors to ensure that their contracted rates are market-based," the statement said.
As data centers once again grow in importance, in some cases in support of cloud computing strategies, concepts such as integration, virtualization, and standardization point to consolidation as another area of focus.
This includes virtualizing I&O in order to lower data center costs. Gartner figures that servers often run much lower loads than they are capable of. Average usage rates can run as low as 15 percent.
Virtualizing multiple server loads onto a single server can drive down costs for hardware and energy by as much as 50 percent, Gartner said.
A key area where costs have been growing aggressively -- in double digits -- and, thus, making it a candidate for cost savings, is storage. Gartner calculates that by 2016, businesses will need to install 850 percent more terabytes of storage than they have installed in 2011, pointing to the need to use storage virtualization solutions and automated tiering to rein in costs.
Other areas where I&O costs can be minimized are to push user support down to the lowest, and least expensive, levels and to use tools such as IT asset management packages. Finally, there is a wide array of outsourcing services and vendors available -- so-called "multisourcing" -- that can help keep outsourceable functions and services under control.