When it comes to the next-generation data center, forget the physical location

Stick the phrase “next generation” in front of a few words and you’ve turned something old and stodgy into something cool and hip – or, so you hope. One of the industry’s latest attempts at this comes with the catchphrase “next-generation data center.” Away with visions of rows upon rows of servers and cabling up the wazoo and in with the vision of something, well, much more high-tech on one hand and abstract on the other. The next-generation data center – or New Data Center, as we here at Network World like to call it – isn’t about a building or a room but a strategic approach to the ways in which IT makes the business agile, dynamic and intertwined with the business. Enterprises that embrace the next-generation data center concept are Web-based and services-oriented, supremely agile, operating in real time, obtaining computing resources as needed on demand, and without boundary. Paul Strong, distinguished research scientist at eBay, articulated the concept quite well during a keynote address at this week’s new Next Generation Data Center Conference & Expo in San Francisco. While the next-generation data center encompasses a load of emerging technologies like policy-based computing, grid computing, utility computing, organic IT, on-demand computing, the real-time enterprise, autonomic computing, adaptive enterprise and so on, he said, it is really far more than a collection of technologies, Rather, it’s a way of running business processes driven by service-level agreements. It’s about turning IT from a cost center to a value center, he said. Ann Livermore, EVP of technology solutions at HP, hit the nail on the head, too, in her keynote. “Don’t think about the next-generation data center as a physical location,” she said. Instead, she added, think about it as the way in which IT will allow the organization to do more powerful things. It was good to hear these and other industry luminaries driving home our New Data Center! Get more insight from eBay’s Paul Strong in this Q&A Head to the New Data Center site


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