The Data Center is Dead. Long Live the Data Center

March 17, 2015
The data center is dead. There is no shortage of people predicting the end of the data center. If so then, why are there so many people building data centers? Bill Dougherty of RagingWire and Jeff Frick, cohost of theCUBE explore the myth.

This week’s Voices of the Industry, Bill Dougherty, the CTO of RagingWire, shares insights from his discussion with Jeff Frick, cohost of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team.

The data center is dead. Ask any pundit and they’ll tell you so. Go to a cloud conference or do a search on the internet. There is no shortage of people predicting the end of the data center. Cloud is going to eat the world. There will be no enterprise IT in five years. Colocation is a dying business. If so then, why are there so many people building data centers?

I was speaking at the Structure 2015, one of the premier cloud conferences. It’s a fantastic industry event to learn about the latest trends in cloud computing and Dev ops. But it’s a strange place for a data center guy to hang out. Or is it?.

In my many conversations, I offered the opinion, and found consensus often, that the death of the data center has been greatly exaggerated. Cloud, and most specifically public cloud, will continue to grow. But so too will colocation. There are four key drivers to this trend:

  • Clouds live somewhere. The place they live is in data centers. And with the exception of the “super 7,” most cloud providers don’t want to build or operate their own data centers. It isn’t their core business and a 20-year data center investment doesn’t match their operating time frames. It’s too limiting.
  • Not all workloads belong in the public cloud. At the end of the day, computers exist to do work. Public cloud is great for non-persistent workloads, such as web servers and streaming media. If you can lose a machine, or a whole set of machines, and you don’t care, then public cloud works. But many workloads, especially legacy transactional systems are persistent. The old rules of ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation and Durability) apply. For most organizations, these systems don’t belong in the cloud.
  • Regulatory Compliance is an issue. This includes not only security but also change management, data localization, and taxation. For many organizations, where the transaction occurs, and where the data lives, can have large financial implications. We see this most especially in financial and health care companies, but it also applies to e-commerce companies and any company generating or storing confidential personal data.
  • Data growth is outpacing storage capacity. According to IBM research, 90% of the data in the world today was created in the last 2 years, and 80% of that data is unstructured. It’s been said that up to 80% of the data being generated is never persisted because the systems/storage/bandwidth required is not yet available. This is the world created by the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, mobile and social. We now instrument not only homes and cars, but tractors and dog bowls. There is simply no limit to the number of devices we can and will connect to the network. And they all need servers and storage.

All of this leads to a robust demand for data center space, with no near-term end in sight. It’s a hybrid world, and companies will continue to operate their own data centers, utilize colocation, and move some work into the cloud.

The data center isn’t dead, it is very much alive and growing rapidly.

Bill Dougherty is the CTO of RagingWire Data Centers, which is is responding to this demand by ramping up its growth across the United States. RagingWire’s campus in Ashburn, Virginia will double in size in February 2016, and it has begun construction on a second campus in Virginia that will span up to 2 million square feet of data center space. In Northern California, RagingWire has 680,000 square feet operational and is looking for land for our next campus. In Dallas, Texas the company has started construction on a 1 million square feet campus.

About the Author

Voices of the Industry

Our Voice of the Industry feature showcases guest articles on thought leadership from sponsors of Data Center Frontier. For more information, see our Voices of the Industry description and guidelines.

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