The Changing Data Center

Data Center Transformation

Data Center Transformation

You’ll notice this site has changed. What started a couple of years ago as a website covering the world of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) has migrated to a site that calls attention to a vast number of changes underway within the data center fueled primarily by COST. For the first time in years, the data center industry is thinking smarter and diving deeper into answering the new challenges at hand. Whereas we all spent much of the early 2000’s building bigger or faster versions of existing technologies, starting in 2005 or so companies like VMware and Apple led the charge to think differently. These visionaries demonstrated a whole new approach to innovation: Start with a clean slate and consider what SHOULD be possible, rather than trying to build solutions merely based upon previous foundational designs. And then like a one-two punch, the economy of 2008 forced these new approaches to be considered, really considered by everyone, even the neigh-sayers. It became very vogue to talk about SAVING MONEY in the data center, not just building bigger (and spending more).

The industry’s visionaries started articulating tough questions, which in turn generated some pretty refreshing new answers. Questions like, Who said disks need to spin? Why can’t we ‘rent’ computing on demand? Do companies really need to each individually build data centers? Do end-user devices really need to be administered? Why do 20 people each have to save to disk 20 copies of the same document? Why does scaling capacity have to be so painful? How do we blur the WAN/LAN lines based on modern use-cases?

We find that the data center industry and the usage of its resources is going through some amazing transformations in some very diverse ways:

  • Cloud Computing, matching capacity to demand
  • Virtualized Storage, Switching and Computing
  • Handheld devices for business, BYOD and Mobile
  • Physical Infrastructure Management, and the discipline to manage change
  • Modular computing, building block approaches from servers to data center structures
  • Smart Storage, tuned for both access speed and size
  • Infrastructure Wireless, Gigabit and beyond
  • Smarter Facilities, Cooling and Power advances

Over the coming months, I will be exploring these and related topics. I won’t forget the site’s DCIM roots here, and will cover all of the advances being made on that side of the house, but all of the transformation underway is simply too big to limit this site to DCIM.

While the data center has felt very stagnant for the past few years with regular announcements that amounted to bigger or faster versions of the same old stuff, what we are now seeing today is fundamental change. New styles of computing. New business models. Completely new ways of meeting the challenges of users gaining access to information.

Keep your seat-belt buckled!

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Mark Harris Fremont, CA
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