The Software Defined DataCenter: The Next 10 years

It is with excitement that all IT professionals peer into the future. Many of us have come from a past where we watched the UNIX operating system die a slow death. I worked with Solaris UNIX for many years and had customers who ran their mission critical development systems at 90% CPU on Solaris every day of the year. That was never a problem. The longer the uptime the more stable the kernel seemed to be.

Then we entered a phase where technological innovation (Moore’s Law) and the nadir of the dotcom era converged. It was obviously coupled with a lack of innovation – Companies like Sun/HP and IBM sold bigger and better multi-domain chassis’s, not smaller and faster. They never saw the real competition coming, or didn’t care…The dawn of a new age of software, where hardware was a commodity that could be any flavour.

When the rise of Windows came to the Datacenter at first, I remember visiting a colleague’s greenfield site to help him out and seeing an initial install of about 20 servers – 2 x WINS, 2 x DNS, 2 x AD, 2 x DHCP and the rest.

Why ?.

Because that’s what Microsoft recommended. For someone like me – used to maximising resource utiilisation, until every pipe/socket and cycle was used – this was such a waste of money and resources.It made for great profits and growth for some companies but that couldn’t last.

As things turned out Linux has proven to be successful as expected, and in some ways more successful vis a vis embedded linux on devices, so maybe not exactly in the way everyone thought.

And with VMware we have seen the Datacenter redefined and transformed. We have seen the excitement and innovation of the dotcom era reappear, and then some. It is the most exciting time in IT in my career. Performance in all areas has grown exponentially. Even an Apple iPhone 5 with a 64-bit CPU A7 CPU is hard to believe.

So what has VMware done to revolutionise IT and the Datacenter ?. I think there is a genuine attempt to innovate in the right areas. I think we can be confident that as long as companies like VMware keep innovating, don’t go stale or arrogant, and have the right leadership, then we’ll be on the right track. I think we are also finally seeing Microsoft pushing the envelope and coming to the market with a range of great features. I still question the interoperability of their solution stack and it’s manageability (does it “just work”) but from recent testing things have improved massively.

It’s a fine line for VMware as a dominant Virtualization player, some would say monopoly, but as long as they are continuously pushing the envelope it is challenging the entire industry. Many monopolies in the past have failed due to an inability to see the next big advance – think Blackberry, Nokia, Digital etc. It’s a long list. For me VMware has never rested on its laurels despite a dominant position.

So we’re beginning to finally see the products to plug into the vision in the Software Defined DataCenter. The next 10 years are going to see more spectacular innovation. It’s a time of ground breaking and pushing through new horizons….I for one am certainly looking forward to it……

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