Fabric computing adoption, the next big thing: Gartner

One analyst advises IT managers to start looking at fabric computing now

Fabric computing will be implemented in data centres by 30 per cent of organisations globally by 2013, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium 2010 in Sydney, data centre principal analyst, Errol Rasit, said 90 per cent of fabric enabled data centres will be virtualised while up to 40 per cent of these centres will be using either a private or public cloud."

The analyst firm defines fabric computing as a set of computer storage and components joined through a fabric interconnect system.

Gartner conducted a global survey of server projects priorities for 2011, which found Australian organisations listed fabric computing as a low priority. Despite this, Rasit predicts that over the next five years interest will accelerate as fabric computing emerges as the next big trend as enterprises move to collaboration.

“By giving end users the power to collaborate and have resources, we have more effective implementation," he said. "If you're thinking in terms of main frames and blade chassis within your data centre, you can link them together to be one fabric.”

According to Rasit, all major vendors are committed to the concept.

“You should expect phone calls from your strategic vendor because they see this as the next opportunity for revenue generation," he said. "What you need to ask is if the vendor integrates or automates, and how much help you will receive in designing the fabric computing system.”

He also noted the complexity fabric computing will add to data centres.

"A lot of IT managers are happy with the way data centres are run now and there are some who think it is a niche type of computing," he said. "But if you can start to weave and interlink your systems together, then you can get better levels of utilisation and business requirements."

An advantage of fabric computing is IT staff having the ability to build their own fabric infrastructure from components, however Rasit warns that there is a need to assess what skills they have within the data centre in order to do that.

“If you're building it yourself it won't be clear what technology is available to you and how you can integrate it," he said. "You will need more people who have expertise in fabric computing whereas if you are buying it off the shelf, a lot of the pre integration will be already done.”

Rasit advised IT managers to begin assessing fabric computing technology as soon as possible.

“In the next 90 days determine what your most suitable environment is and build a vertically integrated deck," he said. "Over the next 12 months evaluate if fabric computing is a good thing to move to. Treat it the way you would virtualisation by planning carefully," he said.

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