The economic crisis in Europe is forcing Allianz Global Investors of America to reconsider its data center consolidation strategy. Daniel Stroot, CIO of Allianz, says the company considered opening two data centers in Europe and two in Asia, in addition to the two it maintains in the U.S., but is now planning to add just one more. “We had planned to have two in each region but now we’re thinking maybe we only need three globally,” Stroot told CIO Journal in an interview. “The crisis in Europe has continued to force us to look at being more efficient.”
The other factor driving this change was that the company had moved so many applications formerly managed internally to public cloud vendors such as Salesforce.com and SuccessFactors that its internal storage and processing needs had diminished. Moreover, Stroot no longer wanted to be in the business of managing data center infrastructure, and was attracted by the fact that costs could come down as he moves more applications to the cloud. “It was the strategic thing to do, and it also saves money,” Stroot said.
According to the terms of the agreement, Allianz is charged based on power consumption, and after three years can see its costs reduced if it ends up using less power as it moves more applications to the cloud.
The company’s decision to use public cloud vendors for certain very time-sensitive applications, such as trading and settlement, while continuing to run less time-sensitive applications in the new data centers, also allowed Stroot to focus on leasing those data centers in different geographic regions. Spreading the data centers across the world provides greater assurance of disaster recovery than having them grouped close together, but would have created latency issues for time-sensitive applications such as delays between orders and fulfillment. “We couldn’t afford to lose any time when we were running trading in-house,” says Stroot. The applications Allianz still runs in the private cloud units, such as portfolio analytics and risk management, can be located around the globe. “Now we’re thinking about having fail-over capabilities between Phoenix and Frankfurt,” he said.
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