When we look at the datacenter container business, one thing stands out; the providers are almost all hardware vendors of some sort, using the container model to push their own hardware as the backbone of future datacenters. The primary standout from that model has been Microsoft, who is instead partnering with selected hardware vendors to push their operating systems as the backbone software of the next generation datacenter.
On Friday, i/o Data Centers announced that they would be entering the datacenter container market. The announcement, made at the Datacenter Dynamics conference in San Francisco, by Andreas Zoll, i/o's director of Data Center Engineering and Product development, didn't focus on the specifics of their offering, but instead talked about their vision of what the next generation datacenter needs to be.
Mr. Zoll didn't make any ground breaking statements regarding what he saw as the future needs for datacenter containers, focusing on the oft mentioned aspects of scalability, energy efficiency, need-based expense, and the ability to be in-place wherever the computing capacity was needed.
Where i/o really has the chance to shine is to apply the lessons they've learned as a datacenter services provider to the issues of container design. Frankly, most of the designs we see are pretty similar with few exceptions. Some vendors are offering broader cooling options, some offer solutions that can take advantage of hardware form factor's that are vendor specific. But the designs have been focused on selling more of the vendor's hardware (or software).
If i/o can find a hook that really lets them sell containers based on a completely open approach to solving customer problems, without regard to the hardware or software vendor, they might have a game changer that could drive the container market.