Future of the Data Center; Rolling Out an E-Records System

Opinion: Learning lessons from the MySpace.com outage; a look at the possible data center of the future; how an investment in e-records is paying off.

Few Internet users—everyone from IT managers downloading white papers to teens desperately trying to find friends online—have ever concerned themselves with where or how their bits of data are flowing. For many dot-com CEOs, VPs of sales, accountants and other money changers, however, the data center is the business. When its not running, theres no business.

MySpace.com, one of the most heavily trafficked sites on the Web, found that out the hard way July 23 when it was hit by a power outage. eWEEK Editorial Director Eric Lundquist asks why it had to happen in his weekly Up Front column, and points out that the event should be a warning to all IT managers: Spare no expense when it comes to the data center. Google certainly isnt. Its building a data center the size of two to three football fields. The bigger the better, right?

If Hewlett-Packards George Daniels vision is correct, the data centers of tomorrow may require not a football stadium to house them, but merely a conference table. Senior Editor Jeffrey Burt details one possible future in his story. In it, servers are "cells," and racks resemble snowflake-shaped structures only about 1 foot high and 18 inches wide, considerably reducing not only size but power and cooling costs as well.

We are talking maybe 10 years out, by which time Google may be ready to upgrade/downsize. Whats important is that as the responsibility of the data center grows, so does the need to think out of the rack, so to speak. "I dont want to call it a data center," said Daniels, "because that has a paradigm connected to it, and we wanted to get away from that."

Infrastructure also is at the center of the latest eWEEK Road Map feature. Senior Editor Paula Musich tracks Fallon Clinics transition to a more robust electronic records system . The move first required a major build-out of the network, enabling more scale, security and compliance capabilities. The price was high, but, for the patients, it was worth it.

Contact eWEEK Editor Scot Petersen at scot_petersen@ziffdavis.com.


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Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...