On Wednesday, May 13, at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKNews will host its monthly #eWEEKChat. The topic will be "Software-Defined Data Centers: The Changing Role of IT Hardware." It will be moderated by Chris Preimesberger, who serves as eWEEK's editor of features and analysis.
Some quick facts:
Topic: "Software-Defined Data Centers: The Changing Role of IT Hardware"
Date/time: May 13, 2014 @11a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST/7 p.m. GMT
Hosted by: @eWEEKNews
Moderator: Chris Preimesberger: @editingwhiz
Tweetchat handle: Use #eWEEKChat to follow/participate or use the widget below
Software-Defined Data Centers: The Changing Role of IT Hardware
What is a cloud but simply a data center that you don't see in person?
First of all, the general impression is that typically people in 2015 are buying less hardware and more cloud services. There's no question that cloud-services buying is indeed a trend, but that's certainly not overshadowing the standard huge market for servers, routers, switches, storage arrays, UPSes (backup power supplies), PCs of all kinds and so on.
Software and hardware need each other; one cannot exist without the other. But it is true that as software code gets leaner and more efficient, and as hardware becomes more power and workload-efficient, more work gets done in a shorter time--thus more work gets loaded into server racks and data centers. It follows that over time, less hardware will be needed to do the same jobs we do today.
For this eWEEKchat, we're going to whittle down our focus to the data center only; otherwise, we'll be all over the board. How is data center hardware changing, as opposed to say 20 years ago?
First of all, some data centers are becoming single-purpose, such as those being built by Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and other major-league Web-service providers. Facebook, for example, has data centers devoted singularly to: a) Web pages; b) mobile apps; c) storage of images and videos; and d) other services, such as messaging and advertising placement.
That kind of data center is way ahead of its time in that it is devoted to one company. So the hardware in it is all virtualized/optimized for that purpose--to serve users and buyers of products as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Of course, that type of data center is the exception to the rule at this point. The much more common use case now in public cloud data centers is the virtualization of hundreds of thousands of servers and storage arrays to be used for many thousands of apps--whether they be for mobile or desktop utilization. Storage, of course, is the No. 1 cloud service at this point.
Data centers are moving to larger and larger form factors, too. Generally, are we in danger of concentrating too much information in too few locations?
Convergence is a huge trend in data center hardware; more elements (computing, storage, networking) are being stuffed into smaller and smaller boxes, improving carbon footprints and saving power. Is this trend a keeper, or is it simply part of a larger, longer-term trend toward something else?
More data center elements are being virtualized, too--everything from standard servers to switches to the I/O itself. In fact, entire cloud systems are being virtualized in order to interact efficiently and in automated fashion with other clouds.
I challenge you to offer an opinion, observation or professional perspective during our one-hour eWEEKchat discussion May 13.
Questions we likely will ask:
Q1: What do you see as the main difference between "software-defined" and "software-controlled" data centers? Dell is espousing the software-controlled idea.
Q2: Data centers are moving to larger and larger form factors, too. Generally, are we in danger of concentrating too much information in too few locations?
Q3: Is the continuing convergence of more and more functionality into smaller and smaller boxes in a data center a trend that will continue?
Q4: What other changes in data center hardware do you see happening?
Plan to join us for an hour on May 13.