Three of Gartner’s top 10 technology trends envision significant changes — and problems — with data centers.
The number of systems managed on premise is on decline, as more work is moved to cloud providers, SaaS vendors and others. But that trend doesn’t mean that an IT manager’s job is getting easier.
“IT shops are realizing that as we move more work off-premise, it makes the job more complex,” said David Cappuccio, the Gartner analyst who develops the research firm’s annual list. He presented it Monday at the this year’s Symposium/ITxpo here in Orlando.
The “Disappearing Data Center” was the top-ranked technology trend. But another point about data centers, “Stranded Capacity” — listed as No. 6 on the list — is closely related.
Gartner, through its user surveys, found that 28% of the physical servers in data centers are “ghost” servers, or what are often called “zombie” servers. These are systems that are in service but not running workloads.
Another problem Gartner found in data centers is that 40% of racks are underprovisioned. That means data center managers are wasting space by not utilizing racks, and might be able to shrink the size of their data centers through better management, said Cappuccio. Servers are also operating at 32% of their performance capacity.
Another data center-related trend, No. 5 on Gartner’s list, was the idea of Data Center-as-a-Service. Instead of thinking about the “data center” as the center of computing resources, managers are seeing their role as a deliverer of services to the business.
Other trends included interconnect fabrics, listed at No. 2, which are increasingly available in multi-tenant data centers. They provide networks that give users access to multiple services, such as the cloud services offered by Google, Amazon and Microsoft, as well as SaaS providers and analytics services. It gives users more flexibility to find the best platform and price, as well as redundancy.
The third top trend concerned the use of containers, microservers and application streams. Virtual machines need an operating system, but containers only require what’s needed to run a specific program. Containers can last weeks, days or seconds — “they drive new ways of looking at development,” said Cappuccio.
In fourth place is “business-driven IT.” Survey data shows that at least 29% of IT spending is outside the IT department. “Business is not willing to wait for IT,” said Cappuccio.
Two of the top 10 trends involved the internet of things (IoT), in particular emerging IoT platforms, which in many cases are incompatible. As for another trend, remote device management — “This could be a major headache,” said Cappuccio.
Micro and edge computing environments is next to last as a trend, and involves putting compute resources in places where they are most needed. That may include installing analytical capabilities at distant worksites that can be managed, for the most part, remotely.
The final trend, as pegged by Gartner, concerned the skills needed to manage emerging environments, including IoT architect, someone to manage cloud sprawl, and a capacity and resource manager.