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HP Software's community for IT leaders // July 2013
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Data center 2020: Where the action will be

The data center will be where IT delivers innovation and revenue power in the years ahead, according to the Enterprise 20/20 project.

Apps and information get a lot of attention in these days of big data, cloud, and mobility. But by 2020, the center of enterprise innovation and revenue will be the data center. In the enterprise, that transformation is already under way, as the data center increasingly enables the delivery of insight that lets leaders ask the right questions, find answers, and make immediate decisions.

The simultaneous explosion of data center workloads and radically shorter application release cycles have led some experts to predict that everything will move to the cloud. Others believe “smart” software will replace IT staff, and the data center of the future will run “dumb” hardware. As detailed in the new chapter of the Enterprise 20/20 ebook project, the answer lies in the middle. To deliver the customer experiences that businesses require, data centers in 2020 must be:

  1. Always one step ahead of the business
  2. Directed by a new breed of IT admins-turned-business-engineers
  3. Running on radically smarter hardware
  4. Managed in a frictionless way

Always one step ahead of the business

IT must be able to serve up the right applications and services to developers, employees, customers, and partners as seamlessly as apps appear on a smartphone today. Customer-facing apps will have to be available immediately, from anywhere. At the same time, you’ll need to shift your attention from context to core—away from the necessary but non-differentiating systems like payroll or email, and toward the systems and services that lend some competitive advantage.

Directed by a new breed of admins-turned-business-engineers

By 2020, a new breed of business-minded engineers will be deciding what to provision internally and what to source from the cloud, based on application requirements, cost, and risk profiles. They’ll focus on systems of engagement that help create repeatable, user-centric experiences and form a true relationship with customers. The cloud will play a role, whether for development or context services, but most CIOs seem to agree that the cloud has a long way to go before it could be considered a data center replacement.

Run on radically smarter hardware

Imagine: Servers that fit in the palm of your hand and plug directly into a wall socket. Networking via nano-scale interconnect devices that wirelessly move data on beams of light. Hyperscale systems where manycore processing nodes, universal memory, and pools of next-generation storage are converged for lightning-fast data crunching.  By 2020, these kinds of technology will be the norm. Once-separate components — hardware, software, management tools, people, and processes — will converge, allowing more innovations built on top of innovative, hyper-efficient web servers.

Managed in a frictionless way

If complexity presents a problem today, imagine seven years from now. But HP predicts technology will keep this complexity under control. The data center of 2020 will be a combination of on-premise and in-cloud services, managed in a single environment and run on advanced hardware. It will allow for dynamic, pooled resources and flexing up or down to meet business requirements. The ultimate benefit of all of this next-generation convergence is that your data center management will become “frictionless.” And when you aren’t allocating endless resources to managing your data center, you free yourself up to become your organization’s engine of innovation and revenue.

Read the full chapter, “Data Center 20/20,” at hp.com/go/enterprise2020, for more insight from industry leaders and analysts about the evolution of IT operations.


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