For every action there is an equally potent reaction, and that is certainly the case in IT developments we've been seeing as of late.
Call them paradoxes if you will, and I just published some of them in an article for Database Trends & Applications on the shifting currents reshaping today's data centers as we know them. Here are five of the top 10 paradoxical trends, based on the views of some leading experts and practitioners. (PDF link to the article here.)
Paradox 1: More Centralization Increases Decentralization of Computing Resources. For large systems sites, there will be a continuing evolution away from single, large general-purpose processors toward more distributed workloads on more cost-effective platforms.
Paradox 2: Tight Economy Drives Eco-Friendly IT. In times gone by, an economic slump meant companies would hunker down and focus on survival, while shelving “do-good” projects such as environmental awareness and protection. Mark Monroe, director of sustainable computing for Sun Microsystems, says today’s rough-and-tumble economy may be dampening new projects and innovation, but the downturn is a boon for green IT initiatives. “The unstable economy is forcing IT managers to refocus on consolidation and energy efficiency to cut costs, in addition to a focus on co-location, managed, hosted or cloud computing providers rather than traditional in- house services,”
Paradox 3: Everyone Wants Virtualization; Not Everyone Understands It. A recent survey conducted by Unisphere Research for SHARE, the IBM users’ group found that virtualization is on the radar screens of a majority of enterprises, with server or storage virtualization already in place at many organizations. However, most respondents admit they are still learning and understanding virtualization, and most virtualization efforts are scattered or spotty. Ultimately, a majority of respondents view enterprise virtualization as a long-term IT strategy.
Paradox 4: Centralized Virtualization Leads to “De-localization” of Data. Tim Carbery of Axis Technology put it this way: “Virtualization and cloud storage trends coupled with data privacy and information management techniques will radically transform the concept of managed storage. Once a company has crossed the virtualization boundary, then information can be delivered to the point of impact, whether that is a telecommuter’s home, a researcher in a lab, a doctor’s office or the corporate head office. This ‘de-localization’ of data will then serve as a self-reinforcing catalyst. Collaboration technologies will finish the transformation of corporate office to virtual space.”
Paradox 5: Complexity Increases Simplicity. "There is pressure on data centers to provide more services, scalability and availability than ever before. That’s why cloud computing approaches are gaining in popularity—companies can ramp up capabilities by hiding away the complexity. “We do not see the concept of the data center disappearing, instead, we see the concept of data centers becoming more amorphous,” says Martin Schneider, director of product marketing at SugarCRM. “The emerging trend of cloud computing kind of ties all of the major trends around data centers, in that it enables companies to run far simpler data centers, if not obviating the need for them in some instances.”
I'll bring out the next five paradoxes in a follow-up post.