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The network is the data center

January 11, 2008

In an ironic twist, some of today's leading manufacturers of server computers are also among the companies moving most aggressively to reduce their need for servers and other hardware components. Hewlett-Packard, for instance, is in the midst of a project to slash the number of data centers it operates from 85 to 6 and to cut the number of servers it uses by 30 percent. Now, Sun Microsystems is upping the stakes. Brian Cinque, the data center architect in Sun's IT department, says the company's goal is to close down all its internal data centers by 2015. "Did I just say 0 data centers?" he writes on his blog."Yes! Our goal is to reduce our entire data center presence by 2015."

Cinque provides few details - he says he'll flesh out the plans in future blog posts - but it's clear that he anticipates that the software-as-a-service model, and related virtualization technologies, will advance by 2015 to the point where all corporate software, including custom programs, will be able to run on large grids operated by utility suppliers. As Cinque explains, a company like Sun can consolidate its own IT infrastructure dramatically but at some point that effort will begin producing diminishing returns. To achieve even greater efficiency will require a higher level of consolidation - across companies rather than within them - and that can only happen through a shift to shared, web-based infrastructure. The network, to spin the old Sun slogan, becomes the data center.

Sun's interest in this shift goes beyond improving the efficiency of its internal IT operations. Like other big tech vendors, it wants to become a leading supplier of the gear and the expertise required to build the new utilities and the shared grid. Sun's effort to reorganize its own IT is - like HP's - as much about marketing as about deploying new technology. The company is pioneering this new model of corporate computing in the hope that a lot of other big companies will head down the path it's blazing.

Comments

I know I sound like curmudgeon with this post, but it's hard to get excited over anything that SUN does. They rarely do anything well and their stock reflects that. Just for fun, I went to Yahoo Finance and looked at Sun's stock historically and HP's (since HP is mentioned in the article) to contrast how the two have done. If history is any indicator...

Here is the Yahoo link: http://tinyurl.com/2u33zb

Posted by: PhilRack [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 11, 2008 05:36 PM

Yes, 2015 is the year to watch :-)

Posted by: Zoli Erdos [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 12, 2008 10:23 AM

The "Big Question" is when or how will the brick and mortars "Switch".

Posted by: Botchagalupe [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 14, 2008 09:40 AM

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