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The next tech trends to disrupt data centres

Bonnie Gardiner | May 28, 2015
Trends are born from constant technology, societal and organisational changes.

This week CIO is exploring the top tech trends expected to disrupt data centres in the future, as well as IT departments, business units and the c-suite.

In a previous article published on Monday — 5 tech trends that will impact on data centres in future — we discuss the first five trends as shared by research analyst, David Cappuccio, at the Gartner Infrastructure, Operations & Data Centre Summit in Sydney last week.

With IT workers often slaving away over the last big project and spending up to three quarters of their budget keeping the lights on, new trends swoop in with the potential to disrupt the entire company. But without forward planning and consideration, IT can't see the forest for the trees.

Below are the next five of Cappuccio's top 10 IT trends, ranging from technology, societal and organisational changes, that are likely to have an impact on IT operations.

Disaggregated systems

In the previous article we ended on integrated systems. In this piece, we start with the opposite — disaggregated systems.

"Put them together — take them apart," says Cappuccio.

The basis of this trend is that by targeting processors, you can rely on various components and capabilities, as a system with a shared set of interconnects means users could easily swap in and out components as they need.

"Rather than upgrading severs and all the pieces attached to it — because today I have a processer, I/O, memory, power supplies, etc. I'm upgrading everything — what if I just upgrade to a new processor only? Everything else is still usable," says Cappuccio.

Many large web scale companies like Facebook are following this trend, and as networking and storage infrastructure is frequently purchased and configured separately from servers, these tech giants are buying many of their components from smaller vendors in Taiwan or China as opposed to more US-based technology stalwarts.

"Buying a shared interface using something like silicon photonics at Intel, based on a rack environment, I could put these components anywhere within that rack — so long as that interconnect was the same and they have the same interfaces," adds Cappuccio.

"I could grow that thing as I needed to grow it, so it could have massive scale, massive amount of compute, very small footprint, and a fairly low price point relative to general purpose because I'm buying straight from the manufacturer."

Though disaggregated systems are a good solution for large web scale environments, Cappuccio says it's not quite ready for prime time in general-purpose environment due to a lack of access to original design manufacturers.

"Do I have supply chain or maintenance cycle between them? Do I have a parts supply? Do I have vendors who actually understand what these things and can maintain it for me? In many cases today, the answer is no."


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