The death of the corporate data center?…or not!

death of the data center or not!

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017

IT predictions are notoriously difficult to get right. For every Moore’s Law, there are hundreds of unfulfilled prophecies – the death of the mainframe, tape backup and spam for instance.

So when the hive mind declares the imminent death of the corporate data center, the CTO should pause for thought. Especially as many of these predictions are coming directly from cloud vendors themselves. 

In fact, there are two serious issues that suggest the rapid growth of cloud services themselves may stall. Or even begin to reverse.

The IoT problem 

The Internet of Things is vastly increasing the amount of data storage capacity required by businesses – but cloud storage is simply too slow. Take the example of autonomous cars – they need to be able to process and action data within milliseconds, to avoid an accident.

As IoT systems advance, expect to see more data collected and processed locally. This data will then be passed between other edge-based systems in a peer-to-peer network, making the cloud largely irrelevant in to IoT.

IoT/AI specialist Andreessen Horowitz has an interesting presentation on what this new edge computing environment looks like.

The data gravity problem

Generally, uploading data to the cloud is free – but using and exporting information is chargeable. “Data gravity” describes how difficult (and expensive) it becomes to move an ever-increasing amount of data between stores. 

Eventually, gravity reaches a point where it becomes too expensive to leave data in the cloud, and too difficult to migrate.

The corporate data center is here to stay

When considering the local demands of edge computing, and the exponentially increasing costs of cloud storage, it is clear that the cloud is not suited to every workload. Which means that the local data center will continue to play an integral part in corporate IT strategy for some time to come.

To learn more about increasing the ROI of your current data center by decreasing maintenance contract costs, please get in touch.