The data centre is the engine room of modern business. Highly secure and carefully managed, it provides the horsepower for millions or even billions of mission-critical transactions and processes, and the storage capacity for vast amounts of data. It is the focal point for IT investment, the core of the modern corporation.
But nothing in computing stands still, and a series of major changes is sweeping through the enterprise data centre. Responding to both business pressures and technological innovation, many large businesses are in the process of refitting, modernising or even rebuilding their data centres. It is a difficult, expensive and challenging process that has been likened to “changing the engines of a 747 in mid-flight”.
This exciting project was the main theme of Information Age’s The Future of the Data Centre 2007 conference, held in London in June. And it undertook to examine in depth the five clear business challenges at the top of the agenda for today’s IT directors, CIOs and data centre managers:
• How to make the IT infrastructure more agile and adaptive
• How to make the data centre more manageable and governable
• How to make the data centre more efficient and less resource-intensive
• How to ensure that it is robust and secure
• How to create a ‘greener’ data centre.
These themes resounded throughout the conference as speakers and delegates shared expertise and experiences during presentations, breakout sessions and panel debates.
As this report showcases, the event explored some of the many innovative and powerful technologies available to help managers meet these challenges, some of which are commercially proven, and others that are still immature:
• Multi-core processors, blade servers and storage area networks
• Virtualisation of processors and storage
• Advanced and autonomic management
• Rapid provisioning
• Grid and utility computing
• Advanced methods for power management and data centre design.
The exploration of these innovations certainly provided delegates with pointers as to how some of the major data centre challenges could be met, but there is clearly a great deal still to be done.
As several speakers emphasised: “There is a crisis in the data centre. Make no mistake about it.” Hopefully Future of the Data Centre 2007 went some of the way to defusing that situation.