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Data centre directions 2014 roundtable: Reinvention and renewal

Jennifer O'Brien | Feb. 11, 2014
A group of select attendees gathered at an exclusive roundtable lunch to discuss data centre predictions for 2014 – with a key focus on the software-defined data centres promise and vision.

Allan King (AK), Infront Systems: From the evolution side, it's at the operational level that we're seeing the major shift. We've trended with the marketing rhetoric over the last three to four years around business demanding more from IT. But where the pressures are coming from internally within the business is not necessarily aligned to the marketing. It's not the business demanding more, it's IT demanding more from IT that is spawning our ability to address IT's requirements and spawning out this shadow IT market.

Our observations, particularly over the last six to 12 months, have been that the application development team is demanding more from the operational team in terms of agility. Their ability to develop and be 'a time to market' process is what the business expects. And traditionally we've just been very slow at an operational level to adjust to that. With every major customer we're engaged with at the moment, we're engaged to meet the application development requirements for agility. Where we are unable to do that in a timely manner is where an organisation spins up the Cloud service. They are literally taking their credit card and spinning up a test development environment to identify and meet business requirements. That's a challenge for IT and it's a big evolutionary step from what we've always done in decades past. We've been very static and very slow.

The other thing to address is the exponential growth in the data with which we manage. We've been pretty lazy in a lot of ways from our governance frameworks to ensure that we are right-sizing our environment. We're consuming a lot of capacity but not necessarily using it well. The biggest trend for us is automation. It's a top down vision. But the first thing we articulate to a customer is that the strategy is built bottom up. Automation requires orchestration; it requires tight integration.

Peter Hewett (PH), Westcon: We're in the middle of an evolution in data centres thanks to what's happening with software defined data centres and networking. It's a very exciting time and we have a great deal to learn as a distributor; we all have a great deal to learn about what's going to happen next. It's going to be a very exciting time over the next two to five years.

JO: What is the definition and power of the SDDC?
Aaron Steppat (AS), VMware: It is a common infrastructure that guarantees the service levels to the business for what makes their business tick. It's what gives them their competitive edge. It's what helps them realise time to value and gets their time to market down. And those are the key things that a SDDC should actually and will actually provide.


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