While power and cooling issues in the datacentre are among the biggest in the IT industry today, EMC’s A/NZ president, David Webster, said there’s a view out there among some vendors that the concept of the datacentre will be irrelevant in the future.
“If you look at the cloud concept, the idea of having everything sat in a datacentre is not important because most businesses don’t want anything to do with IT – they want a service with capacity and capability delivered to them,” he said.
He suggested current power and cooling issues would be a “speed bump” that the industry would solve within two years and move on. Within five years, he predicted the onset of cloud computing would make the datacentre irrelevant.
Although he agreed with Webster’s long-term vision, APC’s country manager, Gordon Makryllos, said it was complex and would take a long time to get serious traction in the market.
“There’s massive opportunity for our resellers in datacentres during the next 3-5 years because people don’t change their strategy radically in the short term,” he said. “There’s a huge crisis out there because most current datacentre stock isn’t functioning properly.”
Rather than concentrating on power requirements, Webster argued that the problem was really a management issue. “People have been shoving technology into datacentres with no thought of management strategy. The solution is not better datacentre design – it’s better management of information strategy,” he said.
“Environments get virtualised because it’s a solution to the problem but questions around what computing is used for, what customers are storing and how they are managing it don’t get asked. They just throw more technology at it but eventually they’ll get to the edge of the cliff and will be forced to make fundamental change.”
IBRS analyst, Kevin McIsaac, questioned whether the industry would be able to solve datacentre issues and move anytime soon.
“The mainframe was going to be dead in 1990 or 1995, depending on who you listened to, but it’s still there,” he said. “These things take a lot longer to change than we think. I think David’s [Webster] right as an endpoint vision but I don’t think it will happen in five years… maybe 20.”
And whether or not datacentre issues remain in the limelight, IBM’s client solutions executive for datacentre strategy, Howard Mann, pointed out that the physical capacity would still have to exist somewhere and this would still provide business opportunities for some organisations.
“Somebody has to do the portfolio analysis and individual companies struggle with that,” he said.