What we learned at the 2016 Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference

What we learned at the 2016 Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference

 

Our data center architects were in Las Vegas earlier this month for the Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference. They want to share the insights gleaned from the countless conversations with attendees they had and the invaluable content sessions they attended.

 

Rob Jordan

CABLExpress data center infrastructure architect

I recently attended my first Gartner data center conference, and I can’t believe it was my first summit in almost 30 years in the telecom community. I found the summit to be filled with informative and thought-provoking seminars.

A common theme I noticed was understanding the digitalization of business and the effect of disruptive technologies on our industry. The effects of digitalization on business can be seen in every facet of our lives. One only has to look at the introduction of Big Data and the potential for the Internet of Things (IoT) to see this effect in its true light. 

Disruptive technologies seem to appear around every corner. When was the last time you saw a phone booth? My kids have never seen one.

In addition, my daughter does not watch TV anymore (at least not in the traditional form). Netfix and Hulu are transforming the world of home entertainment as we speak. As technologies continue to evolve and businesses are challenged with keeping up with the increasing pace of change brought about by digitalization and disruptive technologies, the focus is changing to more flexible and agile networks. 

The need to replace fragile complex systems and maintain a focus on what drives business is at the forefront for today’s decision makers. They are challenged with improving customer experience, customer service, and quality resolution while faced with the many changes in technology. It can be a daunting task if you are not prepared for the changes in technology or miss an opportunity because you failed to keep your systems aligned with the fast pace of evolution. 

The seminars at the conference covered a vast array of subjects all designed to help with the task of preparing for changes in technology in the very near future.  I was very impressed with Guest Keynote Speaker Peter Hinssen’s presentation entitled, “Rethinking the Infrastructure for the Day after Tomorrow.”

Hinssen’s thought-provoking presentation was centered around the fact that traditional networks are changing all around us. We can no longer view our industry through the same lens we did a few years ago. In his book, The Network Always Wins, Hinssen states that, “Infrastructure Networks are the most fundamental drivers of progress and we must understand Networks if we are to survive the next era of society.”

I agree wholeheartedly with that statement from Hinssen. This Summit gave me the opportunity to discuss the challenges our industry faces with some of the greatest minds in the business. We pride ourselves at CABLExpress with providing you with the best the industry has to offer in areas of product innovation, expertise and support, and the technical knowledge to ensure your success. This conference provided a valuable opportunity to continue to provide this high level of expertise. I look forward to next years’ summit.

Read more from Rob:


Dave Fredricks

CABLExpress data center infrastructure architect

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference. It was interesting to compare this year’s themes to some of the focus areas from previous years.

Last year’s main topic of discussion and presentations was hyperconvergence. Some previous topics have been the cloud and converged infrastructure. It caught my attention that the first new track listed for the conference was Leveraging DevOps for a Better Managed Infrastructure.

This was a timely topic for me because I recently visited a very large financial company’s headquarters data center. This data center has been in place for more than 20 years with many legacy systems in operation.

During our discussion onsite about a new networking project, the facilities team at this institution decided to include both the storage and networking folks to best plan the migration to a new platform. During our discussion we discovered that several systems were still on the data center floor that were not in production. The challenge became coordinating with all parties involved on how to remove the equipment to free up floor space.

As systems were deployed on the floor, then expanded with the organization’s growth, these systems ended up in different parts on the data center floor. As one can imagine it can be challenging to properly maintain these systems when they aren’t located near each other.

Also, when the distance was more than 100 meters, the organization needed to use more expensive single-mode optics to make a connection. This situation came into my mind when I saw the title of the new track: Leveraging DevOps for a Better Managed Infrastructure.

This topic very much relates to this financial company and how they plan to better introduce new systems on their data center floor. One of the presentations discussed using data center containers to begin the DevOps process with all the gear in near proximity.

As the new systems are vetted and deemed ready to deploy on the data center floor they move from the container to a designated space. The facilities team has a timeline and plan for the new system and can install it in nearby proximity with less expensive multi-mode optics to keep connectivity costs down. The container can be rented which helps defer the cost of building a new brick and mortar data center.

In summary, it is optimal to involve all parties who have equipment on the data center floor in planning. Understanding responsibilities with decommissioning and installing new compute and storage systems will benefit all parties involved and help them provide the most scalable platforms.

This new track alone made attending the conference worthwhile to me, but I couldn’t have been more pleased to interact with so many knowledgeable attendees. I look forward to this conference every year!

Read more from Dave:


Rick Dallmann

CABLExpress senior data center infrastructure architect

I’m still processing all the information and latest technologies that were discussed, debated, displayed, and demonstrated at this year’s Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference. Every year this event resembles the NFL Pro Bowl. The best of the best attend, all looking to improve overall efficiency in the data centers of the future.

I had the chance to interact with our industry’s best and brightest, discussing such topics as port replication, engineered fiber links to assure high-speed transmissions without downtime, emerging speeds up to 400G Ethernet, hyperconvergence, and many more.

The knowledge learned, shared, and yes, even debated, makes this conference so highly recommended. Even a seasoned, 25-year veteran such as myself could still benefit from the conversations and expertise shared.

Read more from Rick: