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Technology / Cybersecurity

Firms ‘wasting money on data centres because of lack of analytics’

Liam Newcombe Romonet

Companies are wasting huge amounts of money on maintaining IT data centres because they do not understand which aspects are most crucial to their business, it is claimed.

Firms are spending vast sums on the security and maintenance of everything in their data centres because they cannot analyse sub-systems’ performance, according to a business that hopes to solve the problem.

Software company Romonet was co-founded by CTO Liam Newcombe after his time as a Cable & Wireless employee, when he was asked to justify an upgrade to the Linux server in its data centre.

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When he tried to do so he found there was no way to determine how sub-systems in the centre were performing.

He said: "We’ve made it rather difficult to understand which products make money and which lose money. The issue was simply down to the way that the costs of the IT activity and data were handled and are still handled in most organisations.

"There tends to be an arbitrarily set minimum standard for the database arrived at by organisations over a number of years."

The problem, Newcombe explains, is that by viewing a data centre as a single entity rather than lots of sub-systems, companies tend to buy the same security and maintenance equipment for their least important products as for their most valuable hardware.

"This all pushes the cost up," he said. "They build the entire data capacity as if everything is their key service. But looking at it they have no idea if it could cripple the business in 10 minutes if it went down or if nobody has logged onto it in 10 years."

This lack of knowledge does not only waste money, Newcombe continued, but could also put the business at a competitive disadvantage, because there is no way of evaluating the suitability of a product to the task it has been given, and so no way of knowing if it is not performing well enough.

"It would be unlikely to see the CFO of BT agree every company car should be a Range Rover. It’s too expensive but also the guys out installing telegraph poles need something completely different," he said.

The CTO believes the problem is that with no hard numbers on data centre performance, companies are not willing to change, but that the danger in sticking to this model is that firms will lose out to rivals who save money by going to the cloud, renting services by the hour.

But if they manage to reduce data centre costs he believes it could pay off as a safer option than storing everything on a cloud platform.

He said: "There are many things you should go and put in the cloud but there’s strong arguments that what makes your business better than your competitors is what you should keep out of the cloud, because that’s something you want to keep safe and secure and not on a shared platform.

What Romonet’s Portal 2.0 product enables companies to do, he said, is predict, analyse and improve the performance of data centres to reduce running costs to a much more manageable level.

It also gives firms options, he added, by being able to model any mooted data centre to find what works best.

Newcombe said: "Our software allows you to build a model of the data centre before you’ve actually built it, we can do design evaluation so it’s really cheap.

"The software then allows you to check it’s working properly when it’s built, what it costs to run everything and how they’re performing.

"With a small capital reinvestment buildings can be turned into 5% to 20% more energy efficient buildings and so cloud options may be nowhere near as viable as you think they might be. Our software helps make those decisions."
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.