2017 Gartner Data Center Conference: A first-timer's insight

2017 Gartner Data Center Conference: A first-timer's insight

By: Josh Taylor | Director – CABLExpress Product Management

I'm back from Gartner's Data Center conference in Las Vegas, NV and my mind. is. blown. As a first time attendee I was in awe - and slightly intimidated - by the myriad of expertise, technological advancements and overall brainpower in one room.

As a "layer one" product development guy, I was a little out of my wheelhouse but luckily there is a strong humanitarian streak in the world of IT. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. I found that most everyone I spoke with at the CABLExpress booth, or after a session, was willing to have open and honest discussions about trending technology.

This gave me a clear perspective on impactful transitions happening in the higher layers of the OSI model.

Y U No Respect Layer One?

Time and time again, I found myself having conversations about the impact fiber optic cabling is having in the data center. This was very interesting to me since CABLExpress provides layer one fiber optic infrastructure that supports all of the fascinating and complicated high-level protocols of today’s data centers. 

It really helps me to understand how much is riding on the strands of fiber that we supply.  Additionally, it removes my cynicism of why no one “respects layer one,” ... They just don’t have the time!

As I looked through the agenda, I noticed the word “cloud” everywhere! It was clear that this would be a hot topic of the conference. After attending some lectures on the cloud, I wanted to find out what attendees really had to say about this trend and how it would integrate into their technology roadmaps.

What's what with the cloud

As I met with attendees at the CABLExpress booth, I would ask them their view on the cloud. Did they embrace it? How much do they use it?

The feedback I got back was surprisingly conservative. Everyone I talked to felt the cloud was well hyped, but the reality is that it needs to be heavily used before any serious migrations happen. The place for the cloud right now is with smaller start-ups, and segments of enterprise businesses. 

The team at CABLExpress has started working more and more with these types of business, to help with their migration to the cloud.

No matter where the computing and processing is happening, the layer one cabling has to perform and it MUST be reliable. Fiber cable in the data center may not as glorious as it once was, but without it, data would just not move!

Stay tuned for what's to come with the cloud. I'll follow up in a future blog with what the cable guys are finding out and the progress our customers are making when transitioning to the cloud. For now, after speaking with fellow attendees, the CABLExpress team is planning on continuing our research as well as honing our 2 tier designs for hyper-converged networks.

Hidden costs and the cloud

Get this. Something that surprised me when talking to attendees at our booth was hidden costs associated with the cloud. The best way it was explained to me was with the analogy of a cell phone bill.

How many times have you gotten your cell phone bill to discover the little fees associated with data, services, you name it. In the case of the cloud, the "fees" have proven to be much higher. Where it was not positioned as a rip-off and more of a warning, definitely be careful when evaluating the service. After all, the cost savings is supposed to be a large part of the attraction for the cloud.

At CABLExpress our service planning and processes don’t allow for hidden fees. We offer our design services for free and let you validate the costs up front to ensure our solution makes the most sense for our customers.

As the buzz about the cloud continues, I will be watching very carefully to see how this market responds. While I think it is the future, it will probably look very different than how it is being portrayed to us now. That's the cool thing about technology and attending conferences such as Gartner's. Next year, we could very well be talking about the cloud in a whole new light!


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