Eye on Blades Blog: Trends in Infrastructure
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9 Trends in 2009: What's Hot and What's Not in the Data Center

We can’t let Illuminata, Gartner, IDC and Forrester have all the fun, so we sat down and came up with our own "What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Data Center" list for 2009. Ice_Fire(17-11-02)-19
NOTE:  This blog post will self-destruct on December 31, 2009 should anyone feel the need to analyze our prognosticating skills in 2010. 

1. Power as a resource is HOT.  Power as a commodity is NOT.  If you knew your old refrigerator in the garage was sucking fifty bucks in juice a month, you’d pitch it or replace it, right? The problem is; you have no idea how much power it costs you.  In 2010, you’ll never think about power in the same way.  It’s no longer just a spigot of electrons with a bill that goes to the suits upstairs.  Power is a precious resource to your data center and a big part of your budget that stands in the way of growth in 2010.  “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”, so 2009 is the time to start measuring your power usage in detail so you understand what you need, what you have and what you’re wasting.  


 

2. TCO is HOT.  TCO is NOT.  Huh?  TCO will be reprioritized in 2009. Take Cost Out is the new TCO.  Okay, we don’t want to overplay this one.  Of course you want to be as efficient as possible down the road once the 2009 storm passes.  However, if you’re ever going to get there, you have to take cost out now.  That’s going to mean you have to make tough choices and some big leaps forward in order to put in place an infrastructure that can deliver savings today and be ready for tomorrow.  We believe very few stones will be left unturned in 2009 as businesses scourer their data center to find hidden pockets of cost – cables, steps in processes, HA, fibre channel, aging servers, wasted watts, unused A/C – nothing can hide from the new TCO.  Those trying to limp through 2009 by patching up some aging technologies will find themselves in world of hurt in 2010.  

3. Knowing is HOT.  Guessing is NOT.
  Whether you’re talking capacity planning for your apps and virtual machines, the power and breaker size you need per rack or the storage for your data explosion, using the old ‘rules of thumb’ for quarterly budgets aren't going to cut it in 2009.  Getting better data out of every circuit board that you can then use to take informed action will be critical to justify growth and to help you squeeze the most cost out from your consolidation projects.

4. Packaged infrastructure is HOT. Piecemeal infrastructure is NOT.
Sorry IBM, the mainframe isn’t part of this one.  We’re talking about pooled and shared infrastructure based on industry standard components.  We think you’ll see more packaged infrastructure solutions tailor-made to different applications and environments whether it’s a rack at a time for mega clusters or a unified communication platform for a small branch office. You already see it with ExDS, BladeSystems, PODs, NeoView, NonStop blades; the trend is probably already here but it’s going to really take off in 2009. The idea is simplified delivery, integration and expansion.  You just won’t have the time in 2009 to try and figure out how to get widget A to talk to widget B.   

5. Unified is HOT.  Siloed is NOT.
 Whether it’s Cisco, Microsoft, IBM or us, the vision of unified infrastructure is clearly our shared goal.  We just have different names for it.  The only question is how do we make progress in 2009?  We know one thing for sure; you can’t get there by forcing the perspective one silo one on another.  Network packets won’t unify your infrastructure any more than processor architectures will.  The only path to the unification you seek is from the top down starting at business and application services.  Understanding and managing in a unified way provides a different perspective on what tomorrow’s infrastructure looks like.  When you recognize that, you see that the center of the universe can’t be found inside the network, the storage or the servers. It’s at the business level.  

6. Performance per sq ft, per dollar per watt is HOT.  Moore’s Law is NOT.
  The days of chasing the tail of processor performance are quaint, but the new global economic reality will create a whole new class of benchmarks to help you better compare your choices.  Whether your issue is space, power or cost, you’ll be empowered in 2009 with a whole new set of much more relevant benchmarks to see where you stand.  SPECPower, VMmark and others are just scratching the surface of what will be a renaissance in data center metrics.  

7. DAS is HOT.  SAN is NOT. 
Okay, okay.  The SAN isn’t going anywhere.  But there will be a lot more choices in 2009 that flip the economics of storage on their head and put server admins in more control of their storage needs.  Last night I was browsing for some home storage backup and came across a deal for a 1TB home back-up for $149.  Buying your first TB in a traditional SAN will set you back $30 to $50k.  (Calvin Z's going to kill me).  Basically, storage is delivered by drives.  Shouldn’t you be able to pile up all the drives you have, DAS or otherwise and carve up that capacity how you see fit?  Check out some of the cool stuff we can do now with LeftHand’s innovations and you’ll see what we mean.  

8. Virtual infrastructure is HOT.  Virtual machines are NOT.
 Or said another way, “Virtualization is dead!  Long live virtualization”.  2009 will shift priorities from optimizing server capacity with virtual machines to looking for new opportunities at the server edge to extend the savings and consolidation to the network, management and storage realms.  Virtual infrastructure will be the new mantra and managing it, coordinating it and aligning it to the business will be the key.  In 2009 more people will think differently about infrastructure as service and something that you simply carve up and allocate capacity based on your demands.  It aligns to you, not the other way around.  With this in place, automation starts getting real too! 

9. Dynamic Core Utilization is HOT.  Multi-core apps running one application is NOT.
 This one almost fell to runner up status simply because it was a mouthful and a little geeky, but we needed 9 things.  Seriously though, the flexibility to adjust core utilization to match a workload has been a long time coming for the x86 world.  As 2009 starts to move us beyond quad-core processors, it makes no sense to continue the old, tried-and-true practice of one app per server.    

The runners up:
  

Dynamic Power Capping is HOT.  Power Face Plates are NOT.
 This one can be summarized above with “Knowing vs. Guessing”.  The low hanging fruit for reducing power consumption is just about gone.  It’s going to take more intelligence and coordination at the rack, row and datacenter level. The ability to reclaim data center capacity simply be allocating only the power you need makes too much sense to not make our list.  

Converged Fabrics are HOT.  Silo’d I/O traffic is NOT.
 Talk about an oldie but a goody, this one might start to make it over this hump this year. Aggregation of I/O to a single physical layer ushers in a whole new opportunity to simplify and cut big costs.  See most of the bigger trends we mentioned above and you see that this one is key.  

Industry standard gear for Telco is HOT.  Telco-only gear is NOT.
  Ah, one of the last bastions of proprietary gear. This one has been predicted so often, it fell to runner-up.  But the slow march continues and we think 2009 will speed things up a lot as more telcos start to see the benefits of gear like blades and standard rack servers on their balance sheet.  

Battery back-up at the rack is HOT.  UPS rooms are NOT.
  Nice idea that just doesn’t make as much sense as folks thought.  Hogs of data center floor space, budget and that nasty little 10% loss in efficiency make this one at least worth of the runner-up list.  

Blades are HOT.  Mainframes are NOT.
  Give me a break. We are the HP Blade Team. It just wouldn’t be an IT hot/not list without one little jab at poor Big Blue. ;-) 

 


We’d love to hear from you.  Tell us what you think about this list and share what’s on your HOT and NOT to-do list for 2009.

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  • More than 25 years in the IT industry developing and managing marketing programs. Focused in emerging technologies like Virtualization, cloud and big data.
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