Running side by side with the National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas, last week’s Gartner Data Center Conference was a wild ride of its own, providing a glimpse of what 2014 will bring as the data center continues its transformation to a software defined business asset. The session agenda for the Gartner conference was leading edge, with a focus on IT business issues such as internal and external cloud computing, data center operations, mobile applications, connectivity and IT operations. It’s telling that there were also sessions on attracting and retaining data center talent, a challenge facing many data centers around the world.
Cloud topics were front and center in most presentations. Speakers and providers at the conference discussed the major challenges encountered by companies moving to the cloud and the impact of the cloud on the data center. As businesses move some of their operations to the cloud they must identify appropriate cloud providers, devise mobile strategies, plan for complex application migrations and implement tighter security controls. Some companies are going to outsource some of their applications to a cloud provider while others are looking for ways to build and manage their own cloud solutions internally.
George Slessman, IO CEO and Product Architect, gave a thought-provoking and persuasive presentation about the tipping point for data center infrastructure. He mentioned skyrocketing costs, time to deployment, and lack of scalability of current data centers as factors that have led the industry to reconsider how data centers will be built and operated going forward. He predicts that significant changes in the data center are only just beginning. IO was also on site with an impressive booth, providing tours of an actual IO.Anywhere modular data center and demonstrations of IO.OS, its data center operating system. Customers and analysts were able to see first-hand how the modular approach makes perfect sense given today’s trends.
Complementary sessions were devoted to the “intelligent data center,” with discussions about how to build space-efficient data centers that reduce power and cooling costs, and how technology can be used to synchronize IT and business objectives. Gartner’s David Cappuccio and Rakesh Kumar gave a keynote address entitled “The Intelligent Data Center – What Will Unfold over the Next Five Years.” They discussed how the data center must, will, and has begun to transform into the fulcrum for enterprises that need to address megatrends like mobile, big data, cloud services.
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) was also a hot topic. Beyond DCIM, IO believes a true data center operating system is needed to manage and optimize the data center around real time fluctuations and demands, and that 2014 will be a significant and defining year for the software-defined data center. While many customers acknowledged the importance of DCIM (based on interactive session surveys), most were still looking , but had not tested, chosen or implemented a DCIM solution yet.
The Enterprise Cloud market is ripe for the Software-defined data center.