As old as the first computer, datacenters have a deep rooted history in the world of enterprise IT and they have come a long way. From needing six full time techies to run a datacenter in the past, future datacenters might be completely automated. However, with cloud computing taking over the storage market, datacenters are no longer the prima donna of the market. Kevin Leahy, group GM for datacenter business at Dimension Data, describes the current state of datacenters in enterprise IT as “both shrinking and expanding”.
The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast states that worldwide datacenter spending in 2015 has declined by 3.8 percent, from $142 billion in 2014 to $136 billion. But, the leading analyst firm also predicted that the Indian datacenter market will increase by over 5 percent in 2016 and will reach $2 billion. Why do today’s Indian CIOs still prefer datacenters? The answer lies in the comfortable execution of on premise functionality, core business processes, operational data and better security purposes.
The Indian datacenter market will increase by over 5 percent in 2016 and will reach $2 billion.
In their predictions on the datacenter market, both Gartner and IDC stressed upon software-defined datacenter (SDDC) and its importance in the future. While Gartner listed SDDC as a requirement for over 75 percent of Global 2000 enterprises by 2020, it also stated that not all IT organizations are suited to SDDC right now due to its current immaturity.
“Hybrid infrastructures are the way to go,” advised Kimberly Stevenson, CIO at Intel. While any company without a single cloud offering is nothing but suicidal, she added that a mix of in-house datacenters along with public or private cloud infrastructure is what enterprises have to do to survive in the market.
“As organizations strive to transform themselves to a digital business, they will have to modernize their datacenters as part of this journey,” said Santosh Rao, principal research analyst at Gartner. “With technologies such as cloud and IoT, and an increasingly mobile workforce, more and more data will now be generated and begin to reside outside the primary datacenter,” he added.
So, are datacenters really not that important anymore? Why are Indian CIOs still investing in them if it is a futile attempt?
Let’s face it, almost everyone is looking for a hybrid infrastructure. “For CIOs, hybrid datacenters, software defined environments and hosted managed services would be of interest as they look forward to scale and build new infrastructure,” said Gaurav Sharma, research manager of enterprise computing at IDC. He added that investment in analytics to analyze large data sets to drive proactive decisions in resource management would also be gaining traction.
Pointing towards the future, Sharma also said that CIOs should start preparing for software defined environments as 2016 is looming upon us – considering converged solutions and open source options more carefully – with consolidation and standardization as the goals to move forward to. According to him, smart IT enabled datacenters that use advanced and integrated solutions to monitor, control, and optimize facility, would gain pace as India looks forward to contribute more in this space globally.
Rao advised CIOs to consider implementing bi-modal IT to support their business initiatives. “They must leverage existing architectures for legacy workloads that require stable and predictable changes, and place new workloads requiring more IT agility on virtualized, integrated and software-defined infrastructure or in the public cloud,” he added.
Smart IT enabled datacenters that use advanced and integrated solutions to monitor, control, and optimize facility, would gain pace as India looks forward to contribute more in this space globally.
While future investments will shift gears in creating 3rd platform based systems rather than only managing the existing (legacy) ones, 2016 would necessarily be a year of transition, wherein existing datacenters will be expected to spend more on efficiency, datacenter infrastructure management, and automation solutions.
However, Sharma doesn’t think everything is as bad as it sounds. “CIOs should start evaluating efficiency technologies as the future datacenters would be governed by those cost economics, and start investing in skills and training as datacenter automation will require highly skilled professionals,” he said.
Datacenters with dedicated server hosting, virtual private hosting, cloud hosting and collocation services are expanding its periphery on the Indian land. The application landscape of Indian enterprise infrastructures may be rapidly changing but datacenters are here to stay, maybe in a subdued manner, but with the advanced features of automation and hand-in-hand with cloud.