Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Interop Data Center Chair Doug Washburn On Data Center Strategy

It's no secret that the recession has had an impact on IT, but business demands march on. The longer IT projects are put on hold, the increase in that pent-up demand is going to force companies to move plans forward anyway, but with limited funds, says Doug Washburn, an analyst at Forrester Research and the chair of Interop's Data Center conference track. Whether you are consolidating data centers, building a private cloud, interested in cost savings and green IT or simply keeping current on new technologies, architectures and business drivers for building data centers, the Data Center conference track will have something for you. We asked Washburn what he sees as the hurdles and opportunities in data centers for 2010 and 2011 and how that is reflected in the track sessions.

NWC: When you set up the data center track, what were the key elements you were trying to present to the audience, what were the key drivers in what you selected the tracks and the topics?

Washburn: Thanks, that's a great question that doesn't often get asked. There's actually a blog post about this on the Interop site, but regardless of content, there are basically two things we wanted people to be able to walk away with. First, a vision into the future of the best that we could give them, and that's not only based on presentations from peers and IT, but also the vendors, who in many cases, whether we like it or not, dictate what's going to be coming in terms of new innovation and technologies. At the same time, we really wanted organizations to be able to walk away with a sense of action and the ability to put these forward-looking concepts into practice. So we tried to juggle the best that we could of the content that will be forward-looking, and some that will be very practical. And again, from that level, we tried to think of what sort of content will fulfill these goals.

One is, of course, the pure technology side of things, and one of the big trends that we're seeing is convergence of server/storage/network gear. So we have a really good panel with some of the really good vendors in that space on the vision of how this is going to impact data center managers -- and in particular their direct report, the servers, storage, network administrators and managers -- in that role. Another example, along the lines of new technology, is cloud, which many organizations are familiar with. We're doing a bit on what the cloud means to data center managers, but how do you start taking advantage of it today? So it's not a pitch on why cloud is good, we're taking the approach of assuming there are many benefits, but let's talk about those and the inherent risks, and beyond all that, let's focus on how are we going to take advantage of or set ourselves up for success in the cloud down the road.

Beyond technology, one of the things we really want to focus on the role the individual--and this is basically Forrester's go-to-market strategy, and how we organize our whole research organization right now, writing for the individuals who manage servers and data centers, who manage IT infrastructure and operations. A lot of the questions we get at Forrester are not about technologies, but about aspirations, personal career development, etc., so we are leading the data center session off with a session on that topic. We see the data center manager of the future, let alone the IT professional of the future, not necessarily being a person who is a great technologist, but those who can put the business hat on as well and pitch business cases. They have to be great team coordinators, not just of technology teams, but of teams across the organization.

  • 1