Sunday, October 2, 2022
Home TECH Ars Online IT Roundtable: What's the Future of the Data Center?

Ars Online IT Roundtable: What’s the Future of the Data Center?

If you’re in IT, you probably remember the first time you walked into a real data center—not just a server closet, but an actual raised floor. data centers, where the door swings open with a blast of cold air and noise and you’re faced with row upon row of shelves, monolithic and gray, crammed with servers with screaming cooling fans and flickering lights that flicker like crazy. The data center is where the interesting stuff is: pizza boxes, blade servers, NAS and SAN. Some of its residents are more exotic: the big iron in all its massive forms, from the Z-series to the Superdome and everything in between.

For decades, data centers have been the beating heart of many businesses: the secret, fortified rooms where vast amounts of capital sit, busily turning electricity into revenue. And sometimes they are also a place for IT to hide; it’s kind of a running joke that whenever a user you don’t want to see is lurking on the IT floor, your best option for avoiding contact is to simply identify yourself to the data center and wait for them to disappear. (But, hey, I never did that. I promise.)

But the last few years have seen a massive shift in the relationship between businesses and their data, and the places where that data lives. Sure, it’s always convenient to have your own servers and storage, but why tie up all that capital when you don’t need to? Why don’t you go to the buffet in the cloud and pay for what you want to eat and nothing else?

There will always be a reason for some companies to have data centers: the cloud, for all its allure, can’t do it all. (Not yet, at least.) But the list of objections to going off-premises for your computing needs is quickly shrinking, and we’re going to talk a bit about what’s next.

The event has concluded! Thanks for everyone who submitted questions.

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