Ponder this: traditional data center may rise again, thanks to cloud

Data centers were originally designed to efficiently run and protect core systems. Will cloud clear away two decades' worth of clutter?

Industry analyst and author Judith Hurwitz points out that many of today's data centers are collections of platforms, operating systems, and networks, much akin to a garage that gets used as a storage space for household goods -- and can no longer accomodate cars.

Data Center NASA Photo credit NASA

However, cloud computing may once again help clean up the data center garages and return them to their original purpose -- "a fit-for-purpose environment to manage and protect systems of record." Systems of record include ERP, CRM and anything else that requires "low latency, tight control and governance, and  high levels of security."

Cloud computing, on the other hand, will support "systems of engagement" -- applications with requirements that rise and recede as the business changes. Judith doesn't mention examples of systems of engagement. But these could include non-core-business services requiring elasticity, such as storage, mobile access, email, collaboration, development, and testing.

Systems of record for on-premises traditional data centers versus systems of engagement for cloud solutions -- a demarcation line to consider. Will cloud computing sweep all the extraneous activity out of core enterprise data centers, so they can again focus on a few core applications? Another potential boost for data centers -- many organizations, including non-tech companies, are becoming cloud providers themselves, and need to maintain capabilities to extend or share services with customers and partners.

(Photo credit: NASA Office of the CIO.)