The tag line for 2010 is definitely “doing more with less.” Research shows that more than 90% of senior business decision makers believe business cycles will continue to be unpredictable in the next few years.
As a result, 80% recognize a need to be far more flexible in their approaches to business and technology, according to a study conducted by HP Research in October last year. This requires IT to build elastic infrastructures that can easily be scaled up or down as business needs change. Other focus areas would also include the need for innovation and additional technology investments.
Manoj Bhoola, HP South Africa’s Country Manager for Enterprise, Servers, Storage and Networking looks at current server trends in the market.
1. “Urge to Converge” – Convergence of Computing, Networking, and Storage
A converged infrastructure unifies software, servers, storage and networking to improve business, application and infrastructure functions. A converged infrastructure enables simpler management of complex technology environments. Furthermore, organisations are able to use the individual components of their data centres in a synergistic manner, reducing costs and accelerating business growth.
1. “Ultimate Virtual” – Virtualisation Beyond the Server to the Infrastructure
Although virtualisation originally gained the most traction with individual servers, we now see virtualisation being applied more broadly so that servers, storage, and networking resources can be pooled and utilised across the data centre. You’ll see companies continue to apply the principles of virtualisation throughout the infrastructure in ways that could only be imagined a few years ago. Client virtualisation will continue to grow as organisations look to meet their employees’ mobility needs and take advantage of declining acquisition costs.
2. “Scale Up” — Scale-out/Skinless
As organisations in Web 2.0, cloud and high-performance computing (HPC) wrestle with rapidly growing mega data centres hosting thousands of compute nodes, these organisations are looking to leverage technology to maintain a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace. A “skinless” server design strips out unused features to drive down costs and energy requirements, enabling new business models.
3. “Be Cool” – Power and Cooling/On-board Sensors/Power Management
Heat dissipation is a key issue for servers today due to increased server density and workload demands that force IT administrators to make the most of available power. Smart sensors designed into a server can greatly improve their thermal performance while reducing energy loss, thereby lowering power and cooling costs in the data centre. Expect to see an upswing in sensors that automatically control server thermals to optimise power usage and cooling.
4. “Keep Up with Demands” – Virtual Server-to-network Connections
As companies roll out blade-based virtualisation deployments in order to gain the benefits of agility and reduced costs, many find that they have limited choices for network input/output (I/O). Although virtualisation has led to server and equipment consolidation, the technology has had the opposite effect on networks by actually driving up bandwidth requirements. Expect more companies to adapt interconnect technology designed to simplify the connections of servers to data center networks to maximise the benefits of virtualisation.
5. “Orchestrate the Environment” – Orchestration and Management of Service Delivery
Companies will look to adopt a shared-services engine that can adapt infrastructure on-the-fly, ensuring the technology can instantly respond to changing business demands. In this way, customers can simultaneously control and optimise all elements of an infrastructure that are needed to deliver a technology service – including servers, storage, network connections, and facility resources. With advanced management capabilities, customers can provision and adapt complex infrastructures in minutes instead of weeks or even months.
6. “Stack the Rack” – Growth of Rack-mount Servers
Rack mount servers offer increased flexibility over tower options because they can be slotted into an equipment rack. This allows equipment of all sorts to be mounted on top of each other, using less space than if they were standing side by side. Once an organisation begins to grow to the point where it has a few small servers dotted around offices with loud fans running next to people working, a rack-mount server configuration can reduce noise. Look for the advent of racks of all shapes and sizes to come to market with removable doors and side panels.
7. “PODnomena” – Advent of the Mobile Data Center
As organisations confront increasing infrastructure workloads, they must figure out how to reconcile growing demands with their traditional brick-and-mortar data centres. Enter “containerised” data centres that integrate servers, storage, and networking in a mobile, “pay-as-you-grow” data centre alternative, delivering the right amount of capacity when an organisation needs it. These containerised data centre options will continue to populate the market in 2010, as customers explore alternative facility strategies that are energy efficient, portable, and flexible.
8. “Proud of the Cloud” – Advent of Private Cloud/Shared Services
Cloud computing reached a fever pitch in 2009 and innovation will continue in 2010. Cloud computing has evolved to encompass a mix of many technologies and methods that have existed for years, even decades, as well as more recent developments that enable computing to be hosted remotely. Although more vendors crowd the market touting their cloud capabilities, customers will quietly be rolling out internal shared-services environments or “private clouds” that deliver similar benefits in speed and cost without the security risks of the “public cloud.”
9. “Rock the Box” – Movement Toward Blade Servers and All-in-one Units
Blade servers are part of a computer configuration in which power, cooling, storage, and connectivity are largely provided by an outer housing or chassis. With the slowdown of the economy in 2009 inflicting a deteriorating effect on technology sales, blade servers emerged as the bright spot because they outperformed the rest of the market in sales and revenues.
Accelerated growth and adoption of blade technologies will continue over the next year as customers seek power-efficient, small-footprint, computing options. Organisations can expect to see continued innovation in server performance, energy efficiency, virtualisation capabilities and management in 2010.
IT News Africa