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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.

Wayne Neich (WN), Nutanix: The important thing to focus on is, what is it that businesses are trying to achieve? Clearly, there's a total disillusionment at board level about what IT is doing and has done for years. It is a very expensive monster; it's like owning your own dinosaur. They cost a lot of money to feed. They cost a lot of money to maintain. The people that are at that board level are looking for how they can commoditise the delivery of IT as a service. To be able to commoditise requires the simplicity, the visibility. It is about being able to see all these core resource infrastructure elements in a single pane of glass, including storage, virtualisation, networking, and compute. If you're going to commoditise it, then you have to commoditise the skills around it. You have to take the complexity out. You're ultimately trying to reduce the cost of it and be able to scale it.

PH: The partner's value is that you are a CIO for hire. You've got all that experience and you can provide that advice with good solid grounding. And in the two years I've been at Westcon I've seen a number of our partners evolve to that, and it's great to see. We've still got partners out there that are shifting iron. And they need to evolve. They need to do the thinking and do the math and work out how to help the customer to see that Cloud can be a good thing, but you need to really understand what it costs to make the transition and what it is going to cost you and your business."

JO: Does data centre efficiency remain a key market driver for Australian businesses?
Jason Rylands (JR), DPSA: One of the big things to come along recently is a legislation called Nabers, (National Australian Built Environment Rating Systems), which is essentially a star rating of buildings, an energy efficiency rating, which helps deal with the intense power that server rooms take up and addresses the inefficiency of datacentres. In general, it measures the energy efficiencies, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the environment. The legislation is causing people to look at their servers and datacentres and question whether they need particular equipment in the commercial office space, or is there a better place for it to actually live? As a result, we see a lot of the 'build or buy' argument going on.

DS: Nabers will be a big disruptor in the next two to three years.

JO: Is there teeth in the legislation?
DS: Not currently. At the moment it's voluntary. But when you see how it evolved in the commercial office, it started out there being voluntary. Within two to three years it became mandatory. Currently, around 80 per cent of the Australian office stock is Nabers rated. And government is just a starting point. Enterprise organisations, along with anybody who's got any aspect of sustainability are prescribing a certain Nabers rating. And that will happen initially with datacentres. I don't see any reason why it won't grow to the Cloud. When you're looking at deploying a Cloud application, you will also need to understand how efficient the energy use that's producing the work in that Cloud is. And that is a real factor. There is a perception about the 'Cloud touching the air' so that it doesn't consume energy, that it is floating around. And even one of the advantages of the SDDC is driving that efficiency. But again, by abstracting it you take it away from the reality that it's powered, it's plugged in, and it's using power. As the price of energy, as the impact of carbon becomes more prevalent and, of course, water and all the other sustainability aspects, the holistic energy, the efficiency and sustainability of IT, in general, will become a major factor and will evolve.


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