A Q&A with Gartner's Matthew Boon
With the Gartner Infrastructure Operations and Data Centre Summit kicking off in Sydney today, we asked Gartner managing vice president and conference chair Matthew Boon to share his views on the latest data centre trends in Australia.
1. What are the major data centre trends in Australia for 2013?
One of the biggest trends we are seeing in Australia is a shift towards integrated systems, or converged infrastructure - servers, storage and networking converged into a single environment. This is having an impact on the sort of data centres organisations are building, how they power and cool them, how they segment the infrastructure within the data centre, and so on.
On the back of this, the continuing issue for many companies in Australia is whether they should build a new data centre or transform their existing centre, because many companies are close to or have already run out of space. A major focus for most organisations is planning what their data centre should be looking like for the next 10-20 years.
Another major trend is the impact of mobility and the proliferation of mobile devices on the data centre. The expectation is that employees can access information, corporate assets and accounts from any device, anytime. Organisations are trying to manage that not only from a workload point of view, but security is a major issue.
Equally, the big push around analytics and the impact that is having on data and storage is determining the sort of infrastructure organisations are looking at, particularly the massive growth in storage brought about by big data and video.
2. What is the spending forecast for Australian data centres?
Spending on data centre hardware in Australia is projected to reach almost A$2.09 billion (US$2.2 billion) in 2013, up 11% from 2012, according to Gartner forecasts. This growth is largely being driven by the move towards integrated infrastructure– servers, storage and networking converging together. Ultimately, when you get new technology coming through that promises greater efficiencies and a more effective way of managing IT in general, it comes with a lot of benefits, but also a cost up front to plan for the future. A lot of companies are investing heavily in new technologies, particularly storage, storage management and data centre infrastructure management tools, so they can more effectively plan for customer needs.
What we are also seeing is a potential out of sequence replacement cycle as well, fuelled by the impact of the slowdown during the global financial crisis.
3. Where is the Australian cloud market heading in 2013?
Australian organisations are somewhat further down the education path when it comes to cloud computing related to data centre technologies. The reason for that is that Australia has always been a fairly early adopter of new technology innovation. Virtualization is a perfect example, where Australia led the charge in terms of adoption from a global point of view. Obviously it’s not the biggest market, but Australia was very high in terms of the actual percentage of organisations virtualizing. As a result, what we are now seeing is that a lot of organisations that virtualized, are looking at how they take that next step and move towards either a private or public cloud style infrastructure environment, or indeed a combination of the two using a hybrid approach.
4. What is the adoption rate of cloud in Australia?
It is difficult to know, but I would say that between 30-40 percent of organisations in Australia would have put in place some of the groundwork for cloud computing principles. Most of the investment we are seeing from an enterprise perspective is in private cloud internal adoption. Leading on from what they have done with virtualization, they are now thinking further down the track to potentially moving towards a wider public cloud style of deployment. It is very application driven - if you look at a big bank for example, they are not going to put their core banking applications into the cloud, largely due to legislation and data sovereignty issues. So we are not seeing everyone flocking to the public cloud, but we are certainly seeing they are moving forward towards investigating further. Whereas, we are seeing much more of a willingness of small-to-medium businesses to move towards a public cloud environment, particularly related to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).
Based in Sydney, Matthew Boon is the group team manager of Gartner’s data centre, technology and service provider research globally. He will be examining the latest data centre trends in more detail in a keynote at the Gartner Infrastructure, Operations and Data Centre Summit in Sydney this week.
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