Monday, 6 December 2010

Gartner Data Center Summit 2010

British weather permitting, I should be at the Gartner Data Center Summit in Las Vegas today.  Lots of things to look forward to, not least getting myself up to speed with what Gartner and the user community see as their key issues for 2011. 
I notice that one of the keynotes features a presenter from eBay.  It will be good to hear how their IT is progressing as it is a few years since I had any direct contact with it.  In those days their business growth was so phenomenal that they spoke of how many servers were being installed per day, not per month or quarter.  It was the epitome of server sprawl.  How do you ‘plan’ capacity in an environment like that?  It showed me that new business challenges need new approaches, and both Metron and the industry at large have taken a broader view of capacity planning and the need to tie it closely to business strategy since then.  I’ll be keen to see if virtualization has helped them cope with that sort of growth thanks to the flexibility of provisioning it offers.  I also wonder if they have had to respond to the pressure to be ‘green’ with IT.  Without good planning tied to business metrics, I don't see how you can adopt a green strategy in an environment as dynamic as theirs.  I’d be interested to hear anyone’s thoughts on this: how do you optimize your server usage to minimize environmental impact when your business is growing at that kind of rate?
Many of the hot topics at the summit are around virtualization and Cloud, as you would expect from a data center event this year.  Last year the figures from the show for take up of Cloud services amongst delegates was very low.  How much that has changed this year might be a good indicator of just how pervasive Cloud architectures will become.  A major change I have felt through this last year is that when you mentioned Cloud last December, people seemed to talk first of public services.  Now, private Cloud seems the paradigm most likely to be of concern to major IT users.  Public, private or whatever hybrid model evolves, at Metron we see this as meaning the environment that our clients manage is becoming ever more complex.  To handle this we are concentrating our product enhancements on making the software capable of handling an even wider range of inputs.  In the future you might not be able to have influence over sources of performance and capacity data in the way you could when everything was in-house, so being able to take what is available and use that now has more significance.  Someone far wiser than me once told me that one way to handle stress is to not worry about things you can’t change.  This could be appropriate for Cloud.  Capacity management of Cloud could cause stress for any of us, and there could be many parts of our environment that we can’t change or affect.  Measure what you can, use that data well and hopefully you won’t get too stressed. 
I’ll be giving you an update on events at the Gartner Data Center Summit later in the week.

Andrew Smith
Chief Sales and Marketing Officer

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