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Disruption set to force dramatic change in the data centre: Gartner

Brian Karlovsky | Sept. 15, 2014
Four disruptive factors are set to force dramatic changes in the data centre market by year-end 2016.

Four disruptive factors are set force dramatic changes in the datacentre market by year-end 2016, according to Gartner.

A Gartner report found highly disruptive competition, big Cloud provider dominance, economic warfare and nationalism will occur with different intensities over different time frames.

However, at least two of these factors will drive significant disruption within the next three years, and elements of all four will drive the opportunities and risks in the datacentre market during the next three to four years.

In Australia, spending on datacentre hardware is forecast to reach almost A$1.7 billion in 2014, and A$1.8 billion next year.

Gartner vice president distinguished analyst, Joe Skorupa, forecasts that Chinese suppliers will increase their share of the datacentre infrastructure market by 2 percent by the end of 2017, at the expense of western companies, partly due to increasing anti-U.S. sentiment. He also says that expansion of the big Cloud providers will spell the end of growth for traditional datacentre vendors, partners will become competitors and the 'Snowden effect' leads buyers to believe that none of the large multinational providers are trustworthy, so emphasis shifts to in-country-developed technologies.

Although, on the surface, the DC market is poised for growth, existing assumptions regarding the ongoing growth of the DC market are unlikely to be realised, according to the report.

"They rely heavily on the current base of traditional enterprise IT end users, and a vendor community that is more likely to support the status quo, rather than introduce risk and break the enterprise IT mould," the report said.

The report said an uneasy peace existed among the incumbents in the market.

"While there is some heightened tension as former partners now compete, no one wants an all-out slugfest because everyone is addicted to the high 50 per cent or more gross margins in storage and networking hardware and DC infrastructure software," the report said.

"New workloads may be going to external IT providers, and these buyers are not interested in high-price/high-margin commercial off-the-shelf products as they shift toward open-source software and embedded manageability. However, vendors are focused on maintaining the status quo for as long as possible."

If a powerful incumbent aggressively enters an adjacent market with a new offering, it could trigger severe shockwaves throughout the industry.

The report said there were numerous potentially disruptive technologies, including software-defined networking and software-defined storage, network function virtualization, extreme low-energy processors and webscale-integrated infrastructure.

The centre of gravity for new application development and deployment is shifting from in-house to Cloud-first as consumer/mobile needs dominate, according to the report.

This is also starting to influence the expectations around new internal applications, which require more-flexible, distributed and hybrid IT.


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