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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.

JO: How aware, and receptive, are customers about the SDDC?
Matt Zwolenski (MZ), EMC: Two things are driving our strategy: the software defined datacentre and Big Data. Customers want to know what it means. How do we get there? Are there products and solutions available today? What will things look like in the next three to five years? As I talk to CIOs and CFOs I ask them, 'Why haven't you adopted the software defined datacentre yet? What's the biggest impediment to why you're not there today?' The answer is never the technology. It's never the products or solutions. The answers are usually: 'My organisational structure doesn't support it; my culture in my organisation doesn't support it or something in my process is holding me back from delivering it.' We've done a lot of work in consulting in terms of IT transformation for organisations to help set them up so they can provide internal consumption models back to the business to charge the business as Opex.

JO: What is the view of the software defined datacentre from the distribution layer?
Ean Mackney (EM), Westcon Group: I'm watching the vendors have a much a larger conversation around getting back in touch with their alliance partners and it's around the applications and what you can provide. And this is probably going to be the steppingstone and the building blocks to what will become the software defined network. Because I know we're talking about it as if it's the here and now, and it is, but I'd be interested to hear what everybody's thoughts are on how far away we are we think this is from going live. Because I don't think this is something that's going to happen today. This could be five, could be 10 years and we're all going to end up there. I have every confidence in that. And obviously in the way that we consume and the way that we offer that to the partners is going to be the really interesting piece.

MZ: In terms of going live though, I bet if you go into major Cloud providers you'll see that they don't have separate pools of computer storage.

EM: Absolutely not. What I see more often than not at the moment is more like a Platform-as-a-Service.(PaaS). And a lot of the smaller more niche guys who have been positioning themselves as a Platform-as-a-Service. They are actually really great at SAP. They have Oracle skills. These are guys that are suddenly finding themselves moving up into a Software-as-a-Service conversation because they didn't think that that was where they were meant to sit, but they realise that unless they have the skills in house and the ability to offer that then they are going to be dead in the water. So the next question there is what are the offerings that the vendors have? Obviously with the initial server consolidation around a long time ago, we're all there for it. That was realistically the first software defined network. That was it for us in this recent addition. The only difference now is we're including the internet of Everything in between where we're trying to go and charge that out. We are figuring out how to do it, right now.


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