Gartner Predicts the End of Data Centers — A Few Flaws With That Blog Feature
Kayla Matthews

By: Kayla Matthews on August 13th, 2018

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Gartner Predicts the End of Data Centers — A Few Flaws With That

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Cloud-based data centers are undoubtedly becoming more prominent in the tech sector.

David Cappuccio, the managing vice president and chief of research for Gartner’s infrastructure teams, believes 80 percent of enterprise clients will shut down their traditional data centers by 2020.

If that happens, it will symbolize the death of such facilities as people know them.

Traditional Data Centers Will Only Be Used for Very Specific Purposes

Cappuccio theorizes it won’t be long before traditional data centers play a legacy role in the IT sector. He clarifies enterprise clients will only use them for particular services that can’t be supported through other means.

Or, he mentions how some companies might continue their dependence on physical data centers if on-premise storage is the most economically efficient choice.

Evolutionary Thinking Sparked the Change

This viewpoint from a Gartner expert also emphasizes that this move away from on-premise data centers didn’t happen overnight. Instead, company representatives have gone through periods of evolutionary thinking that changed preferences in how a business and its customers get services.

The consensus, Cappuccio argues, is that companies can adjust technological offerings to meet their needs rather than primarily ensuring they’ll fit inside physical architectures.

Digital Ecosystems Make Infrastructures More Scalable

Compared to physical data centers, digital infrastructures are what’s needed to help businesses scale up for the future, Cappuccio thinks. He discusses how companies can work with multiple cloud-based service providers to determine what those entities could offer a company now, as well as in the years to come.

Plus, companies are transitioning from their traditional, architecture-based decisions and encouraging IT leaders to instead focus on building their application portfolios. While doing so, they frequently communicate with cloud providers and inquire how those brands might aid businesses in addressing the needs they and their customers face. 

IT Teams Must Show Extraordinary Flexibility

Near the conclusion of his blog post on the matter of the data center’s demise, Cappuccio brings up how IT staff members must continue to do everything they have done up to now but also understand how to work with others in environments that may include numerous service providers catering to various needs.

He recognizes that this will undoubtedly be challenging to those who specialize in infrastructure and operations (I&O).

Now, let’s look at three reasons why data centers might not be shutting down as soon as it seems.

1.  Cloud Service Providers Can’t Provide On-Premise Tech Support

People use the internet every day but often don’t think about the internet’s structure and how it delivers data. However, they usually get a sense of the complexity of things when a site they use goes down or otherwise doesn’t perform as expected. 

When people try to buy tickets for an in-demand concert or book rooms in a hotel that’s about to reach capacity, any problems with websites become especially apparent and potentially reputation-damaging. So, one of the reasons why many companies choose to maintain physical data centers is they want on-premise tech-support teams that are familiar with the businesses’ systems and know about getting them up and running again without further delays. 

During a tech crisis, it’s not comforting to dial a customer service number and hear the voice of someone who’s on another continent. But, that’s often what happens when businesses make a move to the cloud.

2. Public Cloud Data Centers Require Enterprise Customers to Give Up Control

Amazon predicts that all corporate software will eventually run in its public cloud. Cappuccio brought up his view of how agility is one of the reasons why physical data centers are losing popularity. They’re not adaptable enough to meet business and client specifications.

But, what happens if a company’s applications are highly specialized and don’t fit into the public cloud mold? In those cases, businesses want complete control over their assets. But, they have to relinquish that advantage when doing away with their physical data centers. In the case of Amazon’s public cloud data centers, corporate customers cannot even tour the facilities.

3. A Recent Study Shows Physical Data Center Investments Are Still Strong 

One of the main points expressed in Cappuccio’s views was that most of the data centers in existence would go out of operation by 2020. However, that frame of mind doesn’t fit with a survey conducted by IHS Markit that polled the IT managers at 151 organizations in North America.

It found that most planned to at least double the physical servers in their data centers by 2019. Even though cloud data centers are doing well, many companies realize it’s best to take a hybrid approach and modernize their on-premise data centers.

Data Center Usage Is Changing, But Not Dying

Cappuccio brings up some valid points, but they are too short-sighted in some ways. Other evidence suggests that companies are adapting the ways they use data centers but not leaving them behind.

 
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About Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews writes about data centers and big data for several industry publications, including The Data Center Journal, Data Center Frontier and insideBIGDATA. To read more posts from Kayla, you can follower her personal tech blog at ProductivityBytes.com.

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