The Future Perfect … Data Center

We are happy to share that we were featured yesterday on BrightTALK. We discussed data centers and what the future holds. What does the future data center look like? Is it racks and racks of computers? Is it heavily automated? Is it just a shim to the larger world of the cloud? Listen in on this dynamic panel discussion in which we delve into the future of the data center with our experts, Edward Haletky and Steve Beaver. We discussed where we are going, how the hybrid cloud fits in, and the ultimate vision of the data center.

During the BrightTALK, we discussed the future of the data center and how to get from where we are today to the data center of tomorrow. By looking at historical trends, we can try to predict where data center technology will go in the future. Where we are now is not where we will end up. We all know that, but how we get there will be an interesting journey. We also fielded some very interesting questions.

Our data center thirty years hence is like science fiction in that it is still a possibility, but a distant one. Over the next three years, we will see more adoption of cloud services. We will not necessarily see the adoption of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS); instead, we should see a transition from IaaS to Software as a Service (SaaS). There will be a great adoption of SaaS rather than IaaS over the short term. We should see more IaaS being given up as additional SaaS becomes available to cover basic functionality, such as web hosting, big data, etc. Beyond the next three years, our thoughts diverge quite a bit.

The questions were quite enlightening, and we hope to answer more of them as we receive them:

As everything becomes more internet connected, will we lose our privacy?

This is and is not is tied directly to security. Security is about confidentiality, integrity, and availability of corporate data and services. Privacy is an individual concern. The overlap is that individuals are members of corporate IT. The practices we have within corporate IT should also be used by individuals. We need to understand the tradeoffs between having everything at our fingertips and the increase in privacy that comes from a little bit of waiting. For example, there are now apps that track your position in stores and spit out discount coupons for you to use. Is this for everyone? Not really. I personally do not load store or convention applications on my devices. For me, that is a privacy decision. It is a decision that everyone needs to make, balancing their own privacy versus convenience. Those who want to protect their privacy will take those steps. I expect that privacy-defending applications will become available to do just this. One more cloud service, perhaps?

As we enter the era of IoT and distributed computing, will we need to rethink security, or will traditional methods work?

I think there will be a transition between traditional security methods and a rethink going on in the short term. The traditional methods will be used as long as they can scale to the needs of the application. However, we will need to rethink security for more and more applications. We’ll need to rethink the application as part of the process. Security will be entering the application more often than not: a critical component with its own primitives, instead of a bolt-on. It ends up being all about scale in the end. How much throughput do you need for your application? There is a need for clients to be secure by default. There is also a need for more training: training that does not make light of security in any way, shape, or form.

How do we make a data center self-healing by using dynamic application performance methods?

There was more to this question, but that is the gist of it. The key component is to define the application in some automatic way. Once you know what services and containers make up an application, you can apply self-healing methods and algorithms (machine learning) to all parts of the application. This is the real basis for IT operations analytics: to get to the root cause, fix it, and move on. The goal is self-repair without human involvement, except for approvals and monitoring.

Closing Thoughts

The data center of the future is going to be a wild place, one that looks like today’s science fiction become real. We all know that automation will reign supreme in the near future. To allow for automation, we need to get over our trust issues. We need to start trusting automation. If we do not trust automation, we need to know why. Automation also needs more monitoring capabilities. We are on the cusp of automated data centers, but we’re just not there quite yet. Where are you on your journey to the data center of the future?

Listen to our BrightTALK and let us know your thoughts!

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Edward Haletky
Edward L. Haletky, aka Texiwill, is an analyst, author, architect, technologist, and out-of-the-box thinker. As an analyst, Edward looks at all things IoT, big data, cloud, security, and DevOps. As an author, he has written about virtualization and security. As an architect, Edward creates peer-reviewed reference architectures for hybrid cloud, cloud-native applications, and many other aspects of the modern business. As a technologist, Edward creates code prototypes for parts of those architectures. Edward is solving today's problems in an implementable fashion.
Edward Haletky

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