Leveraging the Data Center for Bimodal IT

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, September 2nd 2015

Thing 1 and Thing 2 as visual for Bimodal ITAgile. Scalable. Startup mentality. At times, it can seem as though your IT team will never catch up to “modern” practices. After all, they need to take care of daily tasks, support tickets, and unexpected issues, all while moving through Standard Operating Procedures and documentation.

That’s where Bimodal IT comes into play. Gartner made some noise with the term last year, defining it as two modes for your IT department: “Mode 1 is traditional, emphasizing scalability, efficiency, safety, and accuracy. Mode 2 is nonsequential, emphasizing agility and speed.”

Data center services can be set up to facilitate Bimodal IT methodologies, by enabling quickly provisioned applications, additional IT resources, and a variety of scalable tools.

 

How Cloud Helps Bimodal Methods

Gartner claims that 45% of CIOs already have a second operational model that allows them to work faster. Bimodal IT allows organizations to get ahead of BYOD and shadow IT by encouraging and keeping track of agile methodologies and small scale technology adoption.

Cloud computing enables self-service, on-demand provisioning of infrastructure as needed. With new software-defined technologies and policy-based automation rules, environments can scale across availability tiers and storage modes. This is somewhat old news. Hybrid cloud has been hyped for its ability to burst to meet sudden demand for some time.

However, by getting ahead of the game and creating predefined templates that can be quickly requested by other departments or provisioned by sub-groups within IT, IT executives can lay the groundwork for true Bimodal operations. That also includes collaboration and mobility tools, so workers can take advantage of IT resources where and when they need them.

Colocation Can Be Agile, Too

Working with a data center provider that can quickly scale out additional space can also help you reach your Bimodal goals. When a new system or application emerges from a  Mode 2 team, it may need to migrate to a stable environment and live next to your legacy and standard systems. 

By designing your colocation space for the future data center, you can maximize your current efficiencies and also leave room to grow. Consider running a 480 V power feed to the rack, so it can run both legacy equipment and higher densities. Don't overbuy or overrent your space, but try and locate a facility with room if you need to add racks later on. If buying or building, take a look at modular data centers.

Maintaining Harmony

At the same time, legacy systems must remain maintained, highly available, and reliable while smaller teams are embracing their newfound agility. These applications have to coexist with new platforms in development. You’ll need to evaluate which types of infrastructure are ideal for which project. Many repeatable and simple applications can move to SaaS, while IaaS might be ideal for larger sprawling projects, or scaling requirements.

When a project emerges from a Mode 2 team and reaches stability and widespread adoption, it must move into infrastructure designed for Mode 1. Luckily, cloud is ideal for these types of test-dev-production hybrid environments.

One potential pitfall predicted by some is that Bimodal IT will lead to political scuffles among your IT department. That could be true: as different teams scrabble to promote their own project, each believing it will help end users more, it could lead to conflict over available resources, whether they be compute, budgetary, or personnel. Without proper management and oversight as to which teams are working on what projects, different small and agile groups could even be tackling the same problems unbeknownst to each other.

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