Storage pros envision pools of capacity

The data center of the future will be made up of flexible commodities, speakers and users said at SNW

The data center of the future will be a set of commodities, speakers and attendees of Storage Networking World said at the conference on Tuesday.

Much of the attention at this week's conference in Orlando is focused on the flexible use of resources, and both enterprise IT managers and vendors came to the same conclusion despite having different viewpoints on other issues. As the growth of data and of computing power demands comes up against limits on space and power, being able to make more efficient use of what fits in a given space is a key objective.

Asked what the data center of the future will look like, several featured speakers on a panel at SNW all envisioned pools of resources in some form.

"To me, the data center of the future is an outsourced data center," said Martin Gomberg, senior vice president and CIO at A&E Television Network. "We don't need to be in the business of managing data centers. It should be data that's striped across the world. We don't need to know where it's located ... we just need to be able to get to it as we need."

For others, outsourcing won't work, but they have similar visions. Jeff Kubacki, CIO at risk consulting company Kroll, said his employer can't outsource its storage because it's responsible for storing sensitive data from its clients that is used as evidence in lawsuits. But an unexpected slowdown in litigation last year brought his vision to light.

"I had excess capacity in servers and storage ... and I hate having so much fixed cost. So I need variable cost, and I only want to pay for what I use," Kubacki said.

Those resources simply will have to be within the company's own infrastructure, he said. Recently Kroll met with a hardware vendor that was trying to sell its cloud solution. Kubacki said another Kroll executive summed up the company's feelings about the concept: He didn't want it.

"He said, you know, I don't care if you call it a private cloud, a public cloud, a hybrid cloud, a swimming pool, or a basketball court," Kubacki said.

A private cloud is exactly what Anthony Abbattista, vice president of technology solutions at Allstate Insurance, called his vision for the future data center. He would like to be able to move storage capacity around on a "plug-and-play" basis.

This rings true for Parag Patel, vice president of VMware's Global Strategic Alliances Organization. He said enterprises now think in terms of service levels instead of technology and are moving toward a hybrid infrastructure in which some of it is privately owned and managed and some is outsourced.

Virtualization will play a big role over the next five years or so at the Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, said Rob Carlisi, who works in the IT department there and attended the conference. Along with data deduplication, which eliminates duplicate bits of data in backups, virtualization will help the IT department deal with power and space constraints, he said.

Like Carlisi, the conference panelists saw their visions playing out over the next few years. But one attendee looked even farther into the future and saw a radically new kind of data center.

Virtualization centralizes data centers in terms of hardware but keeps the model of having an operating system in every virtual machine, said Ty Boyack, Unix network manager at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins. That model will scale up for a while but eventually break because it retains a lot of complexity, he believes.

Fifteen years from now, Boyack expects data centers to return to a mainframe-like model in which there is one operating system to run all applications. However, Boyack also sees hardware as a commodity in the future: That single-OS data center will be powered by hardware components that can be swapped out at will, he said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags storagedata centrescloud storage

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?