While the computing revolution shifts from PC to server-centricity, market caps are shifting from hardware-centric to software and services-centric enterprises. This places the data center at front and center for the foreseeable future, and promises a much-needed disruption at the core of how data centers are designed, built and managed.
Note the theme from the last section of this August 29 piece from GigaOM on Dell and VMware, which IMHO is one of the first shots fired in the coming network hardware versus server software battle for the future of the network. Derrick Harris previously talked about this last fall in “At Cloud Scale, Data Centers are the New Servers”.
Most data centers in use today are not particularly innovative and, like filling stations with leaky hoses on their pumps, waste about half of the power and cooling intended for the IT infrastructure. Many are also running out of headroom for growth, are located in or maintain poor work environments and are losing their value as critical business assets, ironically at the time when IT applications and services are becoming increasingly critical to profits and valuations.
So while the IT hardware giants slug it out to gain share in a shrinking habitat mired in manual processes or make the leap to the software and server-centric world, the once stodgy world of data center development is poised for a revolution. See Jim Trout’s recent Industry Perspective in Data Center Knowledge. Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft and others have demonstrated leadership by developing data centers customized for their applications and services while also embracing unprecedented innovation, especially related to energy efficiency and localization.
Archimedius readers can track the drivers of the data center revolution, from the spread of virtualization into production, into the predestined yet messy Cisco-HP decoupling and into today’s PC “End of Era” head fake (which is really about the decline of shrink wrap software and the rise of the server). As we lament Steve Jobs CEO departure we enter an era which he has defined, an era of downloads and boutique services and entertainment competing for ever more fickle customers against ever more nimble competitors. In this era the data center is the channel, the storefront and the fortress for the modern enterprise.
As the PC eclipses the server, the data center becomes the creator and destroyer of market caps. The data center becomes the server, the cloud and the future.