Mapping Data Center Transformation in 2018

by Danny Bradbury

When you want to know what trends should be on your radar as a data center professional, Mark Evanko is a good source of knowledge. With nearly four decades of experience in the data center space, the co-founder and principal engineer at data center consulting firm BRUNS-PAK understands where today’s trends came from – and where they’re going.

Evanko will be talking about some of the trends he sees in the data center space at Data Center World 2018, which takes place in San Antonio, TX from March 12-15. Attendees at his Data Center Enterprise Transformation 2018 talk will learn about how these dynamic computing environments are changing.

He has his ear close to the ground, getting feedback directly from BRUNS-PAK’s target market. He hears what issues are top of mind for board executives and senior management when planning their data center developments and uses this to help maintain a multi-point strategic planning model.

In the past, that model has featured 18 elements that impact enterprise data center solutions. They have included cloud computing, colocation and disaster recovery. At Data Center World, he will expand this to encompass another one: edge computing.

Living on the Edge

“Edge computing has really taken root in the last year in some of these elements to be considered,” he says. In a world where computing infrastructure must deliver results in record time with little margin for latency, adjacency is key. Consequently, computing power is gravitating closer to the point of consumption. The processing is happening where the users need it, rather than at a central point.

“That’s a factor now that is impacting enterprise data centers and distributed processing,” he confirms.

Edge computing trends are accelerating thanks to factors including the ‘industry 4.0’ trend that is transforming manufacturing. By pushing much of the processing to the edge of the network, companies can analyze and respond to changes on the factory floor quickly. This is becoming more feasible now thanks to the acceleration in available computing power in small-footprint device formats.

Edge computing also carries benefits in more diverse geographical environments. Adjacency is just as much of an issue when users access administrative corporate applications as it is when machines make micro-second response times to environmental changes.

“Information transfer needs to be as timely as possible. You don’t want to experience latency issues across a geographic platform,” he explains. “Edge is one component of timing that delivery more efficiently.”

Security and the Cloud

Aside from processing performance changes, another significant factor for data center operators to consider is cybersecurity, especially as it pertains to cloud computing, Evanko warns.

“If data is ever taken, stolen or corrupted at a third-party venue, there is no recovery for the enterprise. They can’t sue the third-party provider because they absolve themselves of any liability,” he says. He adds that large third-party cloud and colocation service providers will generally not take liability for security breaches in client contracts because it would be prohibitively expensive for them.

“Some of these large enterprises are weighing that risk,” he explains. This manifests itself in decisions about which applications to take off-site and which to retain on a company’s premises. He has a process called ‘candidacy’, in which BRUNS-PAK reviews products and services against several tiers of mission-criticality. The cloud has a role in less critical applications, he says.

Evanko warns that there is still much educating to be done as companies struggle to keep track of a rapidly-changing data center landscape. “Many of the customers that we have come across have not necessarily understood what the impacts are,” he says.

Therein lies his fundamental message. When it comes to managing transformational data center trends like edge and cloud computing while keeping your information safe, data center professionals must understand how to balance risk, total cost of ownership, and functionality.

That can be a difficult path to walk, which is why understanding the impacts of these new technologies is so critical.

Mark Evanko  will update his list of transformational data center technologies on Thursday, March 15, at Data Center World 2018.  Register today!