Archived Content

The following content is from an older version of this website, and may not display correctly.

Soeren Brogaard Jensen, VP of Enterprise Management and Software, Schneider Electric

What was the most important data center development of 2012?
This year has also been the year of data center infrastructure management (DCIM). We’ve never seen so much exposure of the subject – thanks in part to the team on DatacenterDynamics, as well as some of the analysts. The term DCIM has been agreed upon by the industry and although there’s still a little ambiguity around the definition, DCIM seems to be on everybody’s lips and there’s widespread recognition of the need for data center software. Awareness seems to have leapt ahead by a factor of ten during this year.

What single advancement will positively impact the data center sector in 2013?
We’ll continue to see advancement in the three areas mentioned above. Customers will continue to look at cloud and outsourcing as attractive alternatives but I also think that the industry will have to become much more transparent. It needs to be more open about key KPI’s, and we’re just beginning to see that amongst public companies like Savvis and Rackspace, as well as others such as Terramark, Telecity, Interxion and Global Switch. Major players in the market are starting to unveil information such as revenue per server, average revenue per customer as well as utilization levels and return on capital.

We’ll start to see from these companies how data centers can be run much more effectively. Transparency will create an internal pressure in which high level management will start to question the way that we do things in the data center. This will add momentum to the holistic efficiency discussion which has been started by The Green Grid as they evolve the power useage effectiveness (PUE) metric – the relationship between compute power and efficiency is more than just a matter of dividing two numbers.

IT efficiency is going to be big: When Savvis and Rackspace and other managed service providers are able to get utilization up from 10% to 30% it will positively impact their business model and improve their return on capital. In a sense, these companies are forced to solve the problems of IT inefficiency that exist today in order to stay in business and provide shareholder value. They can’t afford to run inefficiently because it will mean the end of their businesses.

These pressures are not currently the same in the big data centers which are chugging away in banks. But as we get more insights into metrics and KPIs from those who run their data centers as a business, there will also be consequences for those who run data centers as an enabler for their businesses – like large enterprises, or those who run their data centers as an investment – like the banks, pharmaceutical and trading companies.

Mark Roenigk, COO, Rackspace

What was the most important data center development of 2012?
The advancement of modular data center (DC) solution is, in terms of breaking typically monolithic electrical and mechanical systems into modules as well as the some of the recent improvements made in totally self-contained modular containerized solutions. The capital expenditures associated with bringing infrastructure online is the single biggest expense in this industry. The ability to bring on capacity in much smaller increments had moved us to more of a JIT (Just in Time) industry that is of course considering the necessary utilities are onsite and ready.

What single advancement will positively impact the data center sector in 2013?
Picking a single advancement is really tough. I would say converged infrastructure intelligence and by that I mean the machine and the DC environment working seamlessly together to drive the highest utilization of compute, storage and network while consuming the least amount of energy. Advancements in energy management software and monitoring automation will yield a lot of value in 2013 for our industry.

I also think we will see an increasing number of viable renewable energy options that can be implemented fairly easily yet make a big impact to lessening the carbon footprint for our industry.

Andrew Carr, CEO Bull UK and Ireland

What was the most important data center development of 2012?
Much of the discussion has focused on cooling systems, driving energy efficiency and green IT. While critically important, these issues have been talked about for many years and are increasingly viewed as a ‘given’ by data center users.

In my view, the single most important development of last year was the growing ability of service providers to commoditize pricing around infrastructure and PaaS. Providers are increasingly getting adjusted to seeing these models as commodity IT. It is yet another sign of the growing maturity of the cloud computing market, which is becoming defined less by technology for its own sake and more by the level of service, availability and support provided.

What single advancement will positively impact the data center sector in 2013?
Increased flexibility. 2013 is going to be the year of enabling the virtualization of high-density mission-critical applications. Data center providers have to be able to match the hosting requirements of their customers, particularly in terms of prioritizing the needs of certain key applications. For example, providing additional power storage and connectivity for the finance department when it is carrying out its end-of-month reports.