Get ready for the Cloud economy: IDC

Micro-servers, modular data centres form base of Cloud economy, according to IDC

Australia may be recognised as the most virtualized country in the world, but it is yet to harness the data centre modularity required to prepare for Cloud services, according to analyst firm IDC.

Infrastructure associate director, Matt Oostveen, told delegates at the firm's Transformative ICT conference in Sydney this week that Australian companies needed to move beyond current virtualization trends and focus on condensing data centres in order to managing scaling as well as maintenance costs for power and cooling.

"There is talk of the carbon tax and what impact that is going to have on the power used in your infrastructure sitting on that data centre floor," Oostveen said. "We’ve also got forecasted increases in electricity spend that will come up in the next 12 months."

Cloud computing had sparked changes in data centre construction methods over recent years, according to Oostveen, who pointed to Google’s Belgium data centre as an example of the growing trend for modularity.

"We're now seeing this type of methodology starting to come across to the enterprise data centre," Oostveen said. "Instead of conditioning the entire room, common best practice is to break that down to smaller manageable units."

Modular data centres provided the ability to commission 1000 or 2000-square metre blocks within that data centre, and scale out as needed.

The concept has grown in popularity over the past 12 months, with HP, Dell and IBM all beginning to offer their own versions of the data centre type.

Local spending forecasts for data centres has reached $1.8 billion as of early May this year, largely due to vendors such as Dell announcing plans to build facilities on-shore.

Globally, IDC has forecast data centre spending to reach $US50 billion by 2014.

The advent of 'micro-servers' using low-power chips often found in smartphones and tablets were also likely to push along Cloud adoption around the world, according to Oostveen.

"Some testing sites are being rolled out at the moment with this type of computer and we believe it’s going to be very well suited to public Cloud computing, the ability to scale out large farms of computing power and run them as a low cost server," he said.

To help companies with data centre and Cloud computing changes, IDC has prepared an Asia Pacific transformational index which includes a measure for expanding the space within a data centre, energy efficiency and cooling. It was designed to pinpoint where countries, industries and businesses of various sizes reside on a scale.

"My advice is to go back to your team, bring together your people and run through your index," Oostveen said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags micro-serversModular Data Centre (MDC)cloud computing

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