What will the data centre of the future look like? Well, according to Rinat Dequcinis, sales and marketing manager at Pedion Technologies, "The data centre of tomorrow will be designed as a fluid resource that can rapidly adapt to the evolving needs of the business." Dequcinis is describing the concept of data centre on demand, where businesses can pay as their usage requirements grow.
She explains: "Traditionally, customers would buy the infrastructure they needed for next three years with the intention of growing into it. This required that they be able to forecast exactly what their storage requirements would be in three years' time. The end result is usually that they've either over- or under-catered, and if it's the latter, sourcing additional components to expand their data centre's capacity timeously can prove tricky."
Pay as you grow means that businesses can start with a foundational data centre and, as their requirements increase, they can incorporate additional nodes into their environment and pay for their usage, instead of outlaying a large capex spend without knowing whether they'll use the whole environment.
"The advent of software-defined storage is driven by the ability to create virtualised software environments," Dequcinis says, "we used to talk about hardware virtualisation - this is the next evolution."
This capability is enabled by the evolution of agile technology that's allowed data centre environments to become simpler to maintain, says Dequcinis. "Software-defined solutions are taking over the management of the hardware. This enables these resources to be managed as a service through software that is tightly integrated with hardware that's simpler to deploy and manage."
"Hyper convergence technology means you can create pools of shared compute, storage and networking, and add appliances into the environment," says Dequcinis. "The way that technology is evolving to become software-driven, means that the infrastructure is almost irrelevant. The intelligence lies in the software, you no longer buy a box, you buy a total solution. Your infrastructure is being driven by software, regardless of whether it's on-premises or in the cloud. We're seeing a shift towards software-defined everything."
What all of this means, is that data centres are performing at greater speeds with better reliability with less infrastructure required, allowing for better energy utilisation and saving on power consumption. "What would have required six servers a couple of years ago, can now be done with only two servers that will probably outperform those six servers, and this is all because of the software enabling the hardware to do that much more."
It also means that vendors are partnering in ways never thought of before to create containers of applications in the cloud. "We're seeing the advent of Containers as a Service, which enables businesses to add and remove applications as needed. Containers are a solution to the problem of how to get software to run reliably when moved from one computing environment to another. This could be from a developer's laptop to a test environment, from a staging environment into production, and perhaps from a physical machine in a data centre to a virtual machine in a private or public cloud."
This means that businesses can spin applications up and down as and when they require them, which means that they only have to pay for the software licence for the period that they require the application, instead of paying for dormant software that's only being used for specific projects during the course of the year.
The bottom line is that businesses, much like people, are demanding increasingly individualised solutions that can ebb and flow with their business requirements. Software-defined everything as a service is helping them get there.
"These are truly exciting times," says Dequcinis, "I can't wait to see where technology takes us next."