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David Elges, Chief Information Officer, DC Government
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Troy Lau,Division Leader for AI, Human and Data Technologies, Draper
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Michael Thieme, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Director for IT and Operations, U.S. Census Bureau
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Modern Data Centers: Common Storage Needs
Fremont, CA: It's been told for decades that the data center is extinct. However, there are still a lot of data centers around, and they continue to play an important role in IT infrastructures even though they face a variety of physical security risks.
That is not to suggest they haven't changed in that time. An engineer inadvertently transported into a modern data center from the 1960s (or even the 1980s) would be hard-pressed to identify how we do things now. The massive, monolithic mainframes, the reliance on hard disc drives, and even the seemingly endless discussions about SAN vs. NAS are gone.
Let's see a few developments that are changing the way we keep data – not just in data centers but also across the economy.
- Data Fabrics
For the better part of the last decade, data center management and engineers have got involved in a heated dispute. It is about whether consumers choose to keep their data on-premises or in the cloud. But, unfortunately, that discussion is already out of date. Almost every organization today has to store massive volumes of data, but the fact is that few care about how this gets accomplished on a "technical" level.
For data centers, this implies that the distinctions between on-premises, public cloud, private cloud, and edge storage are blurring and will continue to do so until various types of storage are virtually indistinguishable. Such architecture already has a name, and it was coined a few years ago by NetApp: the Data Fabric. As more manufacturers turn to software-defined storage, data is getting moved away from their hardware.
- Software-Defined Storage
As they are currently understood, Data Fabrics rely on a set of software tools. These enable data centers to be abstract the method of storing data and the actual place in which it gets allocated, allowing them to handle data in a hardware-agnostic manner. Its concept has gone through several names over the years, and it is now known as composable infrastructure.
- Dynamic Contracts
Along with innovations like software-defined storage and data fabrics, the data center sector has seen several additional changes. Though these are not "technical" changes to the way data is stored, they will significantly influence how data centers are designed and managed.
The concept of dynamic contracts is one of these improvements. As a result, businesses today are in a far better position than they were even a few years ago. Most people cannot imagine an onerous restriction on the quantity of data they may store. Most data storage suppliers today offer practically limitless storage against a sliding scale of price levels.