Here’s one for you. What do datacentres and Andy Murray’s grand slam ambitions and have in common? They’re both going to have to get real and shrink massively over the next few years. Ho, ho.
That’s what industry analysts Gartner reckon anyway. (Although come to think of it, can something shrink massively? Whatever.) Either way, wowser! Did Gartner manage to come up with that piece of earth-shattering insight all by themselves do you think? Impressed. Not.
Come now Harriet don’t be churlish. Analyst baiting isn’t big or clever. Fun perhaps, necessary even, but definitely not big or clever. And besides they do at least appear to right on this one. Probably.
In its recent report, the prosaically titled Shrinking Data Centers: Your Next Data Center will Be Smaller Than You Think , the firm’s Managing VP and Chief of Research for infrastructure, David Cappuccio, posited four key drivers for said shrinkage.
Design – datacentres designed in order that differing workloads can be matched to the most appropriate areas of density and so on.
Green computing – whose continuing climb up the corporate agenda will see datacentres being to developed to comply with specific power consumption and efficiency targets.
Better density management – where physical and compute space is often poorly utilised and managed in many datacentres currently, new layouts will come to fore that make better use of racks and space to boost compute-per-square-foot ratios.
The cloud –non-critical workloads being farmed out into the cloud, freeing up floor space, power, and cooling resource in the process with mission-critical functions staying put in the “primary” datacentre.
Now it’s not that, factually and analytically, I have a problem with any of this. Quite the opposite in fact. It is all, in my view, pretty much spot on. Nor am I necessarily having a go at Gartner either. At least no more than I’m having a go at all the other commentators making similar noises about “the incredible shrinking datacentre” at the moment. (That’s what they always call it by the way.)
My problem is this: a) shrinkage really isn’t anything that most reasonably savvy IT managers didn’t see coming years ago, and b) no one seems to be putting anything other than a positive spin on it.
Datacentre shrinkage is being talked about as though it were an isolated issue. It isn’t. No datacentre is an island. To paraphrase Newton’s third law of motion (which is never healthy) for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
So yes, your datacentre is likely to shrink over the next few years. Yes it is likely to carry on doing so in perpetuity. And yes this will undoubtedly deliver certain big benefits. But to look at all this in isolation is to overlook one vital factor.
The datacentre might be shrinking, but data isn’t. It’s growing. Massively. And it has to live, breath, and be managed somehow by someone, somewhere.
How and wherever you choose to cut it, that process isn’t gonna get any faster, cheaper, easier any time soon.
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