Buying IT infrastructure

Despite customer-facing and immediate revenue generating projects enjoying broad corporate appeal, First Data International's senior manager for network implementations, Craig Douglas said getting budget for IT infrastructure projects remains a challenge.

Part of the struggle is a perception that infrastructure is a bit like the kitchen, and who wants to ask for money to renovate the tea room.

The financial services firm has 185 IT staff in Australia, and Douglas said availability and restoration is "a hot topic for us".

The company has undertaken a data centre management upgrade moving to KVM over IP connectivity, replacing old Dell and HP kit.

Douglas said local operations were the first to use Cyclades console management appliances which are now being used in the US.

The supplier Avocent was created following a merger with Cyclades and KVM providers Apex and Cybex.

Douglas said the project generated immediate savings by reducing expensive rack space for more than 100 servers.

And techies also have remote access to the data centre, a place where temperatures are often cold, which Douglas says is a health and safety issue.

Agreeing that "nobody wants to pay for IT infrastructure", Ericsson's planning and design manager and head of Hutchison's managed services, Michael Seager, also upgraded and moved to IP.

"Outages cost money so the goal is to have no single point of failure," he said.

Previously, the organization had 34 DSR branch switches with 16 ports each for several hundred servers.

Seager said the new system has only 15 DSRs and the organization is planning to upgrade further with greater integration of power devices.

"Before moving to a KVM over IP solution we had a lot of Dell kit and custom cabling with radio frequency problems; the old KVM lines into the data centre used to create corrupt signals," he said.

Avocent senior vice president, Dudley DeVore said it's easy to pick the data centre manager in a group of ITers, because "he's the guy running around with his hair on fire".

DeVore said the challenge is trying to manage a diverse network with less money.

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