Q&A: Data center predictions for 2017

The Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) market is expected to reach $3B by 2024, meaning innovations and opportunities will continue to command the headlines in the coming year.

We spoke to Jeff Klaus, Intel’s GM of data center solutions, to get his views on how the data center industry will look in 2017.

One of the biggest trends will be around trying to close the gap between customer’s infrastructure telemetry and their application level telemetry. 

Currently we see these two usually owned by different teams with different goals in mind (how do I most efficiently run my environment vs. how do I get the most out of my compute devices), with little thought being put into how the two play together.

Over the past year we have seen large CSP type companies start to tie these elements together and be able to see the benefits of optimizing their environment utilization based on their workload. 

As these companies continue to publish these results we will see large enterprises and smaller companies, alike, start to adopt this joint approach, which will be a key driving area going forward.

2. With the explosive growth of IoT connected devices expected over the next several years and as more and more companies begin to operate in the cloud, how will data centre managers manage this increased traffic?

As companies start to tie in telemetry from sources outside of the data center, one of the biggest requirements will be to implement tools that can model this data, display where it came from and provide a holistic view of a company’s entire environment that is providing telemetry.

This requires businesses to not just look at data coming from physical locations they own, but also from any site where they are collecting data from, and the path it took to get to them. 

That means their tools will need to be able to see outside of the data center and be able to associate things happening around the world with the telemetry coming from their own physical, on-site machines.

3. What is DRaaS and how can data centre managers stay prepared for future unexpected data centre outages?

DRaaS is Disaster Recovery as a Service. With the continued growth of automation and orchestration across the data center, this type of service will become more and more feasible and interesting to companies as they no longer will need to maintain physical off site Disaster Recovery facilities. 

Instead, companies can maintain engagements with DRaaS companies and fire up Disaster Recovery services as needed, based on demand.

As companies become more automated, the ability to spin up on-demand versions of their services is easier, meaning leveraging off-site services will be an area companies grow into as they look to lessen unneeded expenses.

4. What role will automation play in future data centre management strategies?

The largest role automation will play is to cut down manual processes in the data center. We found that 43 per cent of data centers still rely on manual processes, like Excel spreadsheets or walking the data center with a tape measurer. 

Additionally, over half of manual planners are spending more that 40 per cent of their time every month, for capacity planning and forecasting.

5. Is future industry consolidation a necessity to ensure DCIM growth?

Consolidation is not required but will most likely happen unless a common protocol for DCIM-type applications to share data is created. Currently there are two types of DCIM applications: ones that try to do one thing extremely well and focus only on that one thing, and then those that try to do a little bit of everything, but don’t focus on one specific function.

Currently, we are seeing these “little bit of everything” companies turning to the smaller but focused software companies when one of their customers wants something specific, or more in depth than what the company currently offers. 

As this continues to happen, the “little bit of everything” companies will be forced to either buy up smaller focused companies, or more easily share information between themselves and smaller focused software companies.

Sam has more than six years' experience as a reporter and content writer.