January 24, 2024 By Paul Carley 6 min read

With the seismic shift wrought by generative AI, the pressure is on IT to modernize and optimize to meet the demand. Cloud service platforms abound promising greater elasticity and savings. There are times, though, when CIOs and data center operations prefer to keep certain applications and data in their own data center—security and compliance requirements or control of sensitive data for example. But on-premises can also mean the need for a refresh, especially as new technologies, services and processes come into play. 

Migrating to a cloud provider versus a data center refresh is a complex decision. Both options have pros and cons, and the best choice depends on your current and future business needs.  While many are choosing the cloud, let’s look at some reasons why a data center optimization initiative may be the more advantageous and cost-effective choice: 

Operational efficiency

Rising energy costs and greater focus on sustainability are pushing for better, more energy-efficient infrastructure. Modern designs and advanced technologies have enabled data centers to significantly reduce energy consumption and cooling requirements, both of which help lower energy costs and the environmental impact.  

Regulated cloud costs

Too often, organizations overprovision resources in case there’s a spike in demand to make sure their applications perform. But the cost of running inefficient workloads is often more than expected. Add that to the ongoing cost of continuously running workloads and your finance team will ask you why your cloud costs are always over budget. 

Control and security

With an on-prem data center you retain complete control over your infrastructure, data and security policies. This is often crucial for industries that need to maintain high security for sensitive data or strict compliance requirements.  

Reduced ongoing cost

While the initial capital investment requires upfront costs, long-term operational costs for an on-prem data center may be lower, especially for organizations that have very predictable workload and large data storage needs.   


Building your own data center can enable you to customize your environment to meet your organizations specific needs, allowing you to design for efficiency and security based on company requirements.  

The best of both worlds: a hybrid solution with IBM Turbonomic

As you weigh your options, consider a hybrid cloud approach. This allows you manage your on-prem data center and give you the ability to access cloud-based SaaS applications or burst to the cloud on demand. This flexibility and efficiency give you the balance needed to meet ever-changing business demands.  

Of course, there are challenges and complexity that comes with managing workloads across the data center and the cloud. This is where IBM® Turbonomic® comes in, helping you re-imagine the data center as the next-gen hero of your ecosystem.  

Turbonomic automatically optimizes your applications’ resourcing levels while dynamically scaling with business needs—all in real time and without sacrificing performance. Turbonomic customers have seen a reduction in required hardware and also been able to avoid annual refresh costs by 75%* while still adding resources to applications that need it. Optimizing your data center first enables you to better plan on hardware refresh; in some cases, it also reduces the amount of infrastructure needed to modernize your data center.  

Let’s discuss how this works 

It starts with planning. If your organization is looking to refresh data centers, consolidate within an existing private, public, hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environment or be more efficient on-premises, Turbonomic can help accelerate the process. Turbonomic software plans out your data center transformation for you and helps ensure the performance of mission-critical applications throughout the process. 

Turbonomic planning helps organizations understand what hardware they can or should keep. In planning, Turbonomic software takes the efficiencies of different hardware and depreciation schedules into account, plugging in tags to indicate when leases expire. With a data center consolidation, organizations generally start by consolidating onto fewer hosts, and then consolidate to fewer data centers. We offer the following services within Turbonomic to help:   

  • Optimize on-prem plan to allow users to scale or move virtual machines and consolidate hardware
  • Hardware refresh plan to allow users to see how many new hosts they will need when they upgrade.
  • Host decommission plan to allow users to see whether they can support their current load if they shut down a host

Before choosing a plan, organizations should consider resizing test/dev to get more out of their hardware. With the help of AI-based insights, Turbonomic can help guide you through the consideration. 

Figure 1: IBM Turbonomic plan management tool 

Consolidation aims to minimize downtime and optimize data center hardware and resource usage. Once you’ve consolidated onto fewer hosts, you might want to move to fewer data centers, and potentially reduce your licensing costs. By creating the appropriate policies to merge clusters (even between vCenters® and data centers), virtual machines can be live migrated to their new destination.  

Once you’ve decided where to place your workloads, Turbonomic can help automate your application resourcing to ensure your applications run optimally in the cloud or data center. Turbonomic’s AI-powered platform can continuously analyze application demand and ensure applications don’t become starved for resources or cause break/fix scenario.  

Here are five ways Turbonomic helps keep your applications running optimally: 

1. Workload Placement  

Turbonomic can analyze workload demands through its AI-powered insights and understand customer demand as well as resource availability across the data center and the cloud to ensure optimal placement for cost-efficiency and performance.  

2. VM Rightsizing 

Turbonomic doesn’t just analyze and make suggestions like other solutions; it can take actions through automation to migrate workloads to underutilized resources and scale those resources up or down based on demand. It can even shut down unused workloads or resources to improve cost and infrastructure capacity, enabling you to expand your footprint without having to purchase new infrastructure. Customers can replace current infrastructure with more energy efficient models as needed instead of growing their footprint, thus providing more long-term savings. 

Figure 2: Turbonomic virtual machine rightsizing 

3. Continuous Storage placement   

Turbonomic software understands the experience each workload gets from storage, and the relationship storage has to the availability and performance of the underlying array. This enables the software to optimize the storage device by moving data at the virtualization layer without disrupting performance or forcing a reconfiguration of the array itself. 

Figure 3: continuous storage placement 

4. Capacity Management 

Turbonomic software uses an accurate view of the real-time environment to simulate changes you define, such as how much physical infrastructure is needed to support growth or migrate workloads. With continuous data center automation and optimization in place, you can run any simulation your team can dream up.  

Figure 4: Turbonomic capacity management 

5. Optimize super clusters 

Turbonomic software enables you to create “super clusters,” or virtual pools that unlock the total cumulative resource amount by allowing workloads to move between clusters when demand increases. This delivers more elasticity, better performance and improved cloud economics right in your data center. 

Figure 5: Optimized super clusters 

Unlocking the promise of cloud: true flexibility and elasticity  

Vendor lock can be challenge, and concerns about price hikes, license changes and customer support is the cause of many sleepless nights. Even worse, it has the potential to stifle innovation, and cost-effectiveness in both the data center and in the cloud. The ability to run workloads on the most cost-effective and optimal infrastructure can mean all the difference.  

Turbonomic can help organizations leverage flexibility and prevent limitations by offering integration and recommendations for:

Infrastructure compatibility—Turbonomic seamlessly and agentlessly integrates with your legacy and next-generation data center technologies, enabling rapid auto-discovery and time-to-value for VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Nutanix, Kubernetes and ServiceNow. No matter what infrastructure you are running on, Turbonomic can help make your environment as efficient as possible and allow flexibility and elasticity.

Multicloud compatibility—Turbonomic supports a vast number of public and private cloud providers, including AWS, Azure Google, VMware, Red Hat OpenShift and more. Turbonomic can analyze and determine the best infrastructure for your application to run that will enable it to assure performance at the most cost-effective price. 

Reaching the right conclusion 

Once you’ve made a thorough analysis of your specific needs, resources and budget, you can determine if it’s time to refresh your data centers. IBM Turbonomic empowers you to make optimal decisions based on what’s best for your organization. We invite you to see how the software platform can help you achieve a modern data center—it’s ready for anything.  

Learn more about IBM Turbonomic
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