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Questions a CIO should ask when considering consolidation, Part 1

What questions should one ask a CIO to gain an understanding of the objectives and constraints when attempting to consolidate?

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That is going to depend to a great degree on how the data of the business impacts or correlates with the business itself. Here is a list of what may be important to the CIO when considering a consolidation effort for an enterprise:

1. How will the success of a consolidation solution be measured?

  • What are the main reasons they want to consolidate the infrastructure/data?
  • What are the expected results?
  • Do you see any risks to your business?
  • Are you looking for an opportunity to grow, to gain an edge on the competitors?
  • Could you increase revenues or bottom line profits by being faster to market?
  • Does this new solution help to better position your company in the market?
  • What are the major challenges your company is facing today?
  • How are these challenges related to your new data consolidation solution?
  • How much time do you have for this process?
  • What would it mean to your company to be late?
  • 2. How is the data consolidation solution going to improve existing relationships with your customers, vendors and partners?

  • How can a consolidated infrastructure strengthen the service you provide to customers?
  • Does he or she favor certain suppliers or are they open to considering other vendors?
  • What is the estimated potential business cost of system downtime?
  • 3. Are you trying to solve globalization issues or, are you expanding outside your current market? Was there an acquisition that resulted in another data center with a whole new set of technology and management issues?

  • How broad reaching are the mission critical applications?
  • How many people from what geographies need to access the application?
  • Is the company expanding its international presence?
  • How do you adjust your offering to different market needs?
  • How do you deal with the different business pace in international markets?
  • 4. Seven areas of consideration: Servers, storage, applications, network, database, backup and disaster recovery.

  • What does the existing environment look like today?
  • What current resources do you plan to use for your application?
  • What other servers and storage systems are elsewhere in the company?
  • What are the mission critical databases/applications?
  • What, moving forward, will be the primary OS/platforms supported?
  • What kind of network infrastructure is in place? What services does it provide? (i.e., is there a utility segment for backups and is it able to keep up with the backup?
  • Is interoperability important? (Are they managing multiple vendors' storage solutions?)
  • Are open systems important (i.e., Oracle changed their infrastructure to Linux)?
  • Click here for Part 2.

    This was first published in November 2003

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