Gartner’s recent assertion that the data center is dead might be a gripping headline, but not all experts agree that the data center will disappear completely over the next few years.
Driven by the increasing complexity of Internet of Things, edge services and Software as a Service, almost all experts agree that the data center will have to evolve over time.
But what tech will power the new evolutions of the data center? There, experts are also divided.
Software-Defined, HCI and More Will Transform the Data Center
The “death of the data center” likely only refers to traditional data centers, says Paul Schaapman, CTO for the mid-Atlantic at CDW, who predicts that private data centers will rise up to take their place.
“A private data center is a data center that has adopted cloudlike management and methodologies,” explains Schaapman. “So, I think we’ll see the trend of moving from the traditional to private to public continue by adopting those low-touch approaches to managing your infrastructure. That’s going to be the future, for sure.”
Software-defined data centers, which allow businesses to move workloads elastically between cloud and data center, are also likely to take a firmer hold at companies across the country.
“The traditional data center absolutely is going away, but you’re still going to have data centers with hardware in them, but they’re going to be driven much more by software that allows you to put a workload wherever it needs to be,” says Kyle Green, who heads Americas channel sales for software defined storage and hyperconverged infrastructure at VMware. “Starts in the public cloud, goes to the hybrid, goes to the edge, comes back, wherever it needs to go.”
HCI, which is already on the rise at large and small businesses, will also grow in importance as the traditional data center no longer serves.
“Hyperconverged infrastructure’s very important. It gives us that idea of doing more with less,” says Dave Winkelmann, field solution architect at CDW. “Long gone is the idea that a single IT administrator has to be siloed into a specific workload. Now, we want IT to be able to wear multiple hats, do multiple things, get as much done for the company as they can with less.”
This is where HCI can step in to enable IT teams to simplify management and workflows, freeing up their time to work on multiple projects and tasks.
“The idea is that you can consolidate infrastructure, have less hardware in the environment, which is less things to support, as well as get more visibility into your infrastructure. And, more importantly, you have one phone number for support across multiple stacks or silos of technology,” Winkelmann notes.
VMware’s Green suggests that the future of the data center will go even further than just easy-to-manage data centers, to ones that can somewhat manage themselves in “a self-driven data center, like a self-driving car,” he says.
The company is already working on a product that can deliver this.
“We’re using our end-user computing platforms to take public cloud applications, private cloud applications and give an end-user experience that doesn’t care where that lives or what device you’re viewing it on,” says Green.