AMI Data Center Infrastructure Delivery

Recently started thinking about my experiences in the past year related to the delivery of IT infrastructure for Automated Meter Infrastructure (AMI )projects. A few major themes come to mind:

  • Importance of time to market as the industry is still in flux
  • Extremely dynamic requirements
  • “We don’t know what we don’t know“

This is one area in IT where the traditional deployment schedule of 10-18 months does not work. Design, procure and deploy must be done in a few months. Additionally, experimentation and rapid innovation are critical as   new apps/functionality are being developed/deployed weekly.

The constraints above will flex data center infrastructure processes. Every process from provisioning to life cycle will have to be accelerated. Add to this the projected scale of data generated by AMI initiatives and you got what I call a “game changer”.  So how do you handle the agility and scale constraints when deploying AMI data center infrastructure? Focus on quick delivery followed by a strong, formal optimization stage. It’s what I have termed the “AMI infrastructure Quick Delivery Methodology” and it looks like this:

  1. Design and Procure
    – Typically 3-5 months
    – Largely based on estimates & “fuzzy” benchmarks
  2. Deploy / Pilot
  3. Gather Metrics / Assess Performance
    – Do we have gaps?
    – Did we meet our design requirements?
  4. Optimize / Plan
    – Mitigate issues
    – Add Capacity , resize
    – Determine 1 year capacity plan

This methodology is more balanced towards agility and delivery rather than short run cost optimization. However, the benefits from shorter time to market of new business functionality will trump the extra cost.

The challenge in IT infrastructure will be to manage the scale, complexity and cost and still be flexible and agile. How do you manage applications with 100 TB of primary storage and 5 TB of daily change, and still deploy effective backup solutions?  How do I share information or give access to other systems at this scale? How do I manage cost/value perception (I can get 500GB at CompUSA for $50!)? Ultimately, the answers lies in new technologies, new procurement processes, and new organizational structures. A short list of action items to come…

One thought on “AMI Data Center Infrastructure Delivery

  1. Interesting… Obviously, with such data requirements, storage costs must come down and I/O methods must increase in efficiency and speed. Until then, only the “Big Boys” need bother…

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