With their expensive maintenance bills and enormous power consumption, massive data centres seem like “an albatross” around the neck of IT, according to Patrick Gray

3 data trends coming your way
It used to be that data centres were the pride of IT organizations.
IT budgets, according to Patrick Gray, managing consultant at IBM, seemed to be more acceptable when executives could be paraded through rows of humming server stacks.

After years of economic downturns, massive data centres, with their expensive maintenance bills and enormous power consumption, now “seem more like an albatross around the neck of IT,” Gray said in a recent post on the online technology news site TechRepublic.com.

Gray, who also authored the book, Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology and the e-book, The Breakthrough CIO’s Companion, offers up three relevant trends that could be worth boning up on as organizations consider their data centre strategy.
 

Data in the cloud – Cloud computing promises to rid IT departments of the responsibilities or owning and maintaining a data centre. In a perfect world, the cloud will store all of the organization’s computing power and storage and be able to instantly scale up or down to meet business demands and allow IT teams to focus on other functions. Meanwhile, all this is delivered via hardware and application-agnostic environments that are available on commodity pricing.

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Sad to say, cloud computing has not yet evolved to such a point both in technological and vendor capability term. Bandwidth and security remain critical concerns. Major cloud vendors still struggle to provide the utility model they promise.

Many have just rebranded their hosted models as cloud offerings, according to Gray. Still, he said, there are many applications that are obvious cloud candidates. “Migrating these apps and diligently reallocating or disposing of the free IT resources can diminish the size and cost of your existing data centre, and in the case of smaller entities, eliminate it altogether.”

The rack revisited – The size and layout of x86 servers have, over a couple of decades, evolved to something of an essential global standard. They work well, but cooling and maintenance remain a growing concern.

About two years ago, Facebook launched its Open Compute Project which revamped data centre design down to the layout and architecture of servers. In order to cut cost, components such as physical cases were removed and a layout meant to optimize cooling and power efficiency was used. This direction is bound to influence traditional vendors and is worth investigating for organizations intent on expanding their data centre

Refocus- Building or buying IT “tooling” is no longer the focus of data centre design. Today it’s all about providing scalable capacity to meet a business need. Rather than worry about whether your organization needs a hybrid private cloud or a vendor-managed internal cloud, you should focus on determining the capabilities you need and which one are most likely to fluctuate based on business demand, according to Gray.

“At the end of the day, users and IT buyers want to buy access to an IT-driven service, not infrastructure,” he said.

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