Forecasting the future of the datacenter

Emerson Network Power wants your input as it starts to plan what the datacenter will look like in 2015.

So what do you think the datacenter will look like in a decade?  Emerson Network Power wants to know, and rather than just tell you how they see the future shaping up, they are asking you for your opinion.

Looking to gather data from a plethora of people involved with datacenter design and operation, from CTOs to line staff, Emerson is reaching out through social media, targeted surveys, and their own website to get feedback on the projected future of the datacenter. The goal is to put together a comprehensive report on the data that they collect for AFCOM Data Center World at the beginning of May.

While they are using the traditional survey model as part of the process, allowing interested parties to fill out an extended question and answer form with the usual types of “what do you think” fill in the blank type form, they are also trying to get people to think about specific issues. To this end they are proposing three different scenarios and soliciting your opinion on what you think the actual directions or trends will be related to those scenarios.

The three scenarios

  • Inching into the future
  • Premise: Current trends of virtualization and packing more processing power into smaller packages continue to shape the industry but the basic landscape remains the same: enterprises own select IT functions supported by hyperscale facilities in a hybrid cloud model.
  • Efficiency is everything
  • Premise: Hyperscale facilities have been successful at driving down the cost of computing and the value proposition of shifting computing resources to the cloud has become so powerful that most enterprises have shuttered in-house facilities and purchase computing as a utility.
  • Innovation drives performance
  • Premise: Innovation has revolutionized the data center industry, solving the key challenges of efficiency, scalability and security in a way that has allowed businesses to continue to use information technology to create competitive advantage.

Reflect on very common thought processes you hear from vendors and datacenter operators when you ask them to describe how they are approaching the future.  Emerson isn’t looking to direct the responses to these scenarios; in fact offering to respond simply sends an email to Emerson with your response, so from that perspective the responses are not anonymous. It will also be interesting to see if Emerson is able to solicit any responses that differ from what is currently the commonly accepted view of the potential futures for the datacenter.

You can find the questions and direct survey links here.