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DOES CLOUD COMPUTING THREATEN BRICKS AND MORTAR DATA CENTRES?

Where do you store all your business data? Probably on a server and an external hard drive or two. But what if you’ve got loads of data? Servers and external drives may serve as storage facilities but they don’t really facilitate data management or make data easy to access. Data centres offer convenient storage and management solutions that are flexible enough to meet your needs. They use the latest hardware, offer excellent security, and guarantee minimal downtime.

Security at data centres operates on two levels:

  • Physical security: This entails security guards, alarm systems, and CCTV, cooling systems, and fire protection, etc.
  • Data security: This entails things like firewalls, virus and malware protection, and encryption and generators that will keep power up and running in the event of a power failure.

According to Wikipedia, the IT industry is advancing so quickly that bricks and mortar data centres are struggling to keep up with evolving technology and data needs. Gartner, apparently, says that data centres that are more than seven years old are already obsolete. Unfortunately, the International Data Corporation says that the average age of data centres around the world is nine years old.

In addition to the problem of rapidly evolving hardware and software, obsolescence can be attributed to limited storage capacity. Even vast data centres have limited physical storage capacity. But the cloud – the cloud offers virtually limitless storage.

 

Does the cloud eliminate the need for data centres?

No, it doesn’t. This is the opinion of VMware, which calls itself a ‘next-generation data centre’ as it is ‘optimised for the cloud era’. It offers the best of software-defined data centres and virtual data centres. It entails managing increasing amounts of virtual data across all platforms and applications and enhancing data security and support in a standardised, holistic and resilient manner.

Wikipedia also suggests that data centres will remain relevant, provided they embrace the cloud computing revolution. The authors call the process ‘data centre transformation’, which is descriptive enough. It involves:

  • Standardisation/consolidation: During the step data centres receive hardware and software upgrades and the tools and networks used are standardised.
  • Virtualisation: Much of the standard data centre equipment will be replaced by virtualisation technology, which will reduce operational expenses and increase energy efficiency.
  • Automation: This will apply to things like configuration, release management, compliance and patches.
  • Security: According to Wikipedia, the security systems for modern data centres are pretty much the same for more traditional centres, as they include physical, network, data and user security.

Cloud computing may seem like it’s at odds with the data storage and management methods used by traditional data centres, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive. It will take some adapting but there is no reason why data centres can’t incorporate all the benefits of the cloud in their service offerings.

 

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