While the topic of green datacenters tends to hold the attention of myself and other datacenter folks and the various changes in the datacenter facility model have captured the majority of the ink on datacenter issues in 2011, a look back really does show that other topics have actually had more impact on the everyday lives of IT and datacenter operators. My personal favorite of these topics is the massive increase in mobile users and its hidden effect on the datacenter.
Look at it this way; who do you know that doesn't have some form of mobile device that they use to check email? I can't imagine any major company that is email dependent that doesn't have users who have their own email access. It used to be that email was something that was heavily utilized during business hours, but almost quiescent after the employee went home for the day. These days, the employee probably has a smartphone or even a feature phone that has a full email client, and email interactions with the corporate datacenter now become a significant 24/7 workload.
And while individual emails aren't large, when you consider the huge number of emails sent by a business in a day, you begin to see significant bandwidth use. Add that to the change in what used to be considered email etiquette, where email senders minimized the content of their email messages to take pity on those with reduced bandwidth, to today's model, where everything and anything gets attached to email messages, regardless of size, and the impact on bandwidth and even storage becomes even more significant.
Datacenter operators and IT also need to be prepared to support mobile access; not just the traditional ability to allow remote or casually connected user to access corporate resources with their notebook or desktop computers, but to also support the ability to deliver necessary content to users on smartphone and tablet devices, making sure that the data is received in a well-organized, easily read, and most importantly, easily utilized format. This means that the datacenter needs to enable the middleware components that deliver these services to mobile users. More software that needs to be supported with appropriate hardware and IT support.
The list goes on. Mobile has changed the way that many organizations do business, affecting both internal business processes and external customer facing resources. Let me know how supporting mobile has affected your organization.