The Future of the Data Center: Software Will Lead The Way

Amazon has turned the data center into an API and that has created a dramatic shift in the enterprise. The Internet giants – we sometimes refer to them as the hyperscale crowd (e.g. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, etc.) – are paving the way for the next generation data center. This brings several challenges to IT organizations including pressure from the corner office to replicate the speed, agility and efficiency of these innovators. The problem is, most IT organizations don’t have the engineering capacity of a Google. IT organizations will spend money (with a vendor) to save on management costs (i.e. they’ll buy a more expensive solution that is easier to manage). Internet giants on the other hand will spend time (engineering time) to save money. It’s a very different mindset.

So how can enterprise IT managers replicate public cloud capabilities within their own organizations? The primary goal for all data centers has been to connect users to applications using three core infrastructure components designed to meet specific requirements: compute, storage, and networking – on which so-called stacks are built. Data center infrastructure is expensive because it is “hardened” and has historically been crafted to meet current objectives for a projected workload growth. That’s why many enterprise data centers are so inflexible– because they’re “fossilized” around hundreds or thousands of purpose-built applications.

In today’s environment of rapid change and unprecedented data growth, can we truly predict workload requirements out 25, 10, or even the next 5 years? Cloud computing capabilities and software as a service are changing the way organizations predict, forecast and design data center capacity– making many old school processes obsolete. The enterprise needs to shift its technological infrastructure considerations to a new perspective. Public cloud is only part of the answer.

Call to Action: The IT industry ecosystem, as a whole, needs to develop a vision and solution sets for a modern data center stack – from the data center itself all the way through applications. Wikibon believes Software will lead the way and open source hardware (think OCP) and software (e.g. OpenStack) will be fundamental to this vision.

Our latest infographic takes a look at the future of the data center and it’s shift to software led infrastructure: the software defined data center. Important in this discussion – and one piece that is rarely talked about – is the data center itself…


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Research Agenda Big Data, Cloud & Infrastructure