When the discussion of cloud or multicloud comes up in our industry, the conversation almost invariably defaults to data centers. Whether it’s the move to data center fabrics or the role of disaggregation or the market-wide interest in automation and DevOps, all roads seem to point to the place-in-network (PIN) at the center of both public and private cloud.
In the enterprise, there isn’t a hotter battlefield for new technology than the data center. It sits at the center of cloud, so it is a natural point of emphasis in virtually every enterprise networking strategy. It garners a big portion of total enterprise networking spend, so it is an area of importance to virtually every networking vendor. And it is ultimately the place-in-network (PIN) on top of which most applications run, so it is a target for many technological innovations.
So how can it be that so many people get the data center discussion wrong?
It is well understood that the technology that underpins the data center is changing. In fact, it’s not just changing—it’s accelerating. And that acceleration and change ultimately drives changes in how leaders think about how they design, build, and operate their infrastructure.
Agility is the new TCO for enterprise IT. It’s no longer viable to measure success by staying within budget constraints. If IT is not supporting the business’ needs to adapt and accelerate, then it’s contributing to the overall risk of the company.
The way enterprises, cloud providers and service providers are consuming the cloud is changing rapidly, driven by the blurring of the boundaries between different types of cloud environments. Their journey toward delivering core business services with agility has consisted of introducing automation into the assets they own, the private clouds, building and expanding their data center infrastructure and leveraging virtualization and software-defined-networking to a certain extent. At the same time, the public cloud offering has become more pervasive, mature and usable for widely consumed applications and use cases.