Ars Online IT Roundtable: What is the future of the data center? Missed-news

If you’re in IT, you probably remember the first time you walked into an actual data center, not just a server closet, but an actual raised floor. data centers, where the door opens with a blast of cold air and noise and you’re faced with rows and rows of shelves, monolithic and gray, packed with servers with screaming cooling fans and flickering lights that flicker like crazy. The data center is where the interesting stuff en: pizza boxes, blade servers, NAS and SANs. Some of its residents are more exotic: the big iron in all its massive guises, from the Z series to the Superdome and all points in between.

For decades, data centers have been the beating heart of many businesses: the secret, fortified rooms where vast amounts of capital sit, busily turning electricity into revenue. And sometimes they’re also a place for IT to hide; It’s kind of a running joke that whenever a user you don’t want to see is lurking on the IT floor, your best bet to avoid contact is to simply identify yourself to the data center and wait for them to disappear. (But, uh, I never did that. I promise.)

But the last few years have seen a massive change in the relationship between companies and their data, and the places where that data lives. Sure, it’s always convenient to have your own servers and storage, but why tie up all that capital when you don’t have to? Why don’t you go to the cloud buffet and pay for what you want to eat and nothing else?

There will always be a reason for some companies to have data centers: the cloud, for all its appeal, can’t do it all. (Not yet, at least.) But the list of objections to going off-premises for your computing needs is rapidly narrowing, and we’re going to talk a bit about what comes next.

The event has concluded! Thanks for everyone who submitted questions.

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