Traditionally, shopping for the top new data center solutions has been all about speeds and feeds. IT managers look at the analyst reports and the independent reviews and shop for the hardware that has the fastest data delivery, requires less bandwidth, delivers more throughput, and generally handles more data flowing through the enterprise pipe. However, identifying the best data center solutions is subjective. Even if you assume that the reviewers are unbiased and their methodologies offer a true perspective on performance (which is a big assumption), there are still specific features and functions that you will want to consider to meet different data center infrastructure needs. Therefore, rather than looking for the best data center solutions, looking at the top data solutions categories makes more sense.
Data center sales are clearly booming. One barometer is the sale of data center processing chips. Intel reported that in its second fiscal quarter revenue will reach $13.2 billion (give or take $500 million), and most of the revenue is coming from data center chips. With sales in PC silicon dropping as more consumers turn to handheld devices, the market for data center hardware rose 19 percent in the first quarter. Much of the data center sales growth is going to be in interconnectivity and external services. Both IDC and Gartner point to cloud migration as a driving factor for data center growth. If you want to think of big data as a data center sales driver, Wikibon research shows that the data center market is being divided between services (40 percent), hardware (38 percent), and software (22 percent), and the revenue leaders in big data sales (and, by implication, data center sales) include IBM, HP, Dell, SAP, Teradata, and Oracle.
The top data center sellers are being driven by new data center solution trends. Here are the top six emerging data center categories that are producing new top sellers in today’s marketplace:
1. Cloud services – Global cloud traffic has already reached 2.6 zettabytes per year and is expected to grow to 7.7 zettabytes by 2017. According to Cisco, two-thirds of data center traffic is based in the cloud, and 69 percent of all data center traffic will be in the cloud by 2017. Cloud services, and the hardware and software that supports cloud access, continue to be one of the top data center growth areas. A newer emerging growth area is “fog computing,” which is bringing data and content closer to the edge of the network for more efficient data processing. These micro-clouds are helping improve delivery and overall performance and require new types of data center solutions.
2. Everything as a Service – Hosted solution platforms are going to continue to grow in popularity. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), for example, is growing. Now you can replicate servers and data center infrastructure in the cloud to maintain 24/7 operations; if your enterprise infrastructure fails, you have a backup ready to minimize downtime. There also is a growing adoption of Backend as a Service (BaaS), in which you can access cloud services using both Web and mobile interfaces. If it can be hosted, you can bet it will become available as a service, and that means more demand for secure cloud data access.
3. The Internet of Things – Data center resources are increasingly being adapted to monitor and manage physical resources. Web-accessible sensors are being embedded in everything, and new data streams are enabling new business models from manufacturing to logistics. In addition to assets and machines, IoT strategies can be applied to pay-per-use monitoring devices, services, and even people. Adding data center capability to harness IoT is going to create an entirely new data center discipline, as well as demand for new hardware, software, and skills.
4. Software-defined everything – Software-defined networking is being applied in the data center to access cloud computing resource, network technologies, data storage, and more. Using software-defined access to enterprise and WAN resources increases efficiencies and promotes global scalability. SDx technology also is going to require a new skillset for the data center, as well as new hardware, new software, new security, and more.
5. Autonomous networking – Smart data center machines are changing data center management. Analytics now make it possible for smart machines to understand enterprise conditions in context, which means they can learn and act autonomously, thus addressing accessibility, throughput, and security threats without human intervention. Smart machines are going to start to take over the data center, and that is going to require VARs to develop a new set of analytics and software skills, and understand how to install and configure hardware for autonomous networking.
6. New security strategies – Autonomous networks will help drive enterprise security as machines learn to differentiate malicious data traffic. However, no network can be made completely secure, so there will be a growing demand for risk assessment and risk mitigation tools. Security-aware applications and context-aware controls that can adapt to different threats are going to evolve. Security technology is going beyond the firewall and managing the enterprise moat, and that means a new generation of self-administering security tools.
These six solution categories will drive data center sales in the immediate future, and those resellers that are able to adapt to the changes in the data center design and management will be ready for ongoing success. So VARs must watch for new solutions that address cloud computing, SDN and virtualization, IoT, smart machines, and enterprise security. These are clearly going to be the growth categories of the future, and you can be sure that Ingram Micro will be there to support you.