NTT Communications has developed a vision of the modern ‘hybrid’ data center and the steps/imperatives users need to take to create one. In particular they should:

  1. Standardize - Reduce diversity and align workload to optimal, fit-for-purpose infrastructure. Standardize processes, infrastructure and procurement. This is where IT organizations can unlock capital to support the rest of the journey. Standardization will make every other step easier and more likely to succeed. 
  2. Virtualize - Consolidate and abstract physical infrastructure. This step is more than just compute, storage, network and security. It is about virtualizing the entire IT infrastructure.
  3. Converge - Deliver workload-balanced infrastructure. Converge is actually less about technology and more about people, organizational structure and services.
  4. Automate - Simplify and automate infrastructure management. IT organizations often fail at this step, usually because of non-technical reasons. It is important to break down talent and practice silos to form a new team with new roles.
  5. Orchestrate - Simplify and automate service management. Orchestrating non-standard, non-virtualized infrastructure is costly and complex. To reduce cost and risk, IT organizations should focus on the first four steps—ruthlessly standardizing and virtualizing while making sure the proper organization and services are defined. At the same time, the orchestration technology stack is rapidly evolving, and companies can learn from the cloud service providers that are creating and deploying their own orchestration technologies.
  6. Hybridize - Deliver workload-proportional infrastructure. Organizations have the right amount of IT, exactly proportional to the needs of the business.

The Standardize, Virtualize, Converge and Hybridize steps may be invoked in any order based on business drivers and current situation - it’s wrong to assume that one proceeds the other. Automate and Orchestrate tend to be areas for focus after the customer has achieved a stable efficient base. Orchestrate enables customers to achieve a level of abstraction across hybrid platforms - e.g. deployment of application x can be done either on Private or Public cloud by pressing a button.

Consolidation is needed throughout this process, while the hybrid nature of the model requires data migration not just as a ‘one off’ movement from internal to external resources, but as an ongoing balancing of resources between the two.

An extract from: — Consolidation and Migration: A guide to a Simpler, More Efficient Data Center — An NTT Communications White Paper