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Playing Tetris in the datacentre

Playing Tetris in the datacentre

Virtualisation is no longer leading edge - it is boringly necessary, says Steve Herrod, CTO of VMware.

Virtualisation is no longer leading edge — it is boringly necessary, says Steve Herrod, CTO of VMware. With resource constraints and ever-shrinking budgets, adopting cloud and virtual technology is becoming more crucial. Herrod adds that the next big innovation in cloud technologies will be how datacentres manage more efficiently resources like computing and energy.

Technology giant Siemens, for example, estimates that datacentres account for 2 percent of global energy consumption, and expects datacentre-related carbon emissions to surpass the airline industry in 2020.

According to Herrod, research and development in datacentre management is moving to “follow the moon computing”, wherein datacentres would dynamically source energy requirements from the lowest cost point on the energy grid as prices fluctuate throughout the day.

To improve energy efficiency, the centres would need to adopt a smarter way to manage processing power by delivering computing capability to where needed and shutting off hardware components where it’s not.

He describes the process akin to a game of Tetris, with businesses stacking disparate application and hardware components to get the best out of their system.

Larger organisation will embrace similar technology in their datacentres, but such could be hampered by a shortage of skilled cloud and virtualisation experts in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). Such skills shortage would be further affected as more Asian and North American companies move to the cloud.

“Getting the right people is the core of a beautiful virtualisation setup. Cloud skills shortages will be the next big talent war,” he says.

Anecdotally cloud and virtualisation are at the forefront of New Zealand and Aussie CIOs’ minds, and that the two countries lead the global adoption of virtualisation technology.

VMware made US$3.77 billion in 2011 selling virtualisation products, but trends in ANZ apparently support Herrod’s assertion. According to Gartner, cloud and virtualisation were in the top four business priorities of ANZ CIOs in 2011, with adoption trends led by Scandinavian countries.

Gartner reports ANZ’s relative success through the global financial crisis saw the average IT budget grow by 1.7 percent, as opposed to the stagnant global figure of 0.9 percent. IT departments in the region pursue cloud and virtualisation as a way to reduce infrastructure costs.

At its VForum conference in Sydney, VMware released its third annual Cloud Maturity Index report, in partnership with Forrester. The survey questioned 6500 organisations across Asia Pacific, and over 650 from Australia.

Around 60 percent of Australian companies surveyed already use cloud computing, up by nearly 15 percent from last year. Cost reduction is the most widely-attributed reason for adoption, followed closely by respondents who believe the technology gives them a competitive advantage.

“Reducing costs is still an expected benefit by the majority of respondents, however, it’s interesting to see that the use of automation is now viewed by more than 70 percent of Australian respondents as being an expected benefit, as well,” says Forrester vice president and principal analyst John Brand.

Sim Ahmed attended VForum in Sydney as a guest of VMware.

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