Examining the Role of the Data Center

What happens to the data center when companies begin to implement hybrid clouds? First, the data center does not go away. After all, almost all medium-size and large companies run their own data center — which is how many companies operate their systems of record, including accounting systems, payroll, human resources applications, and line of business applications, to name a few. Many data centers have grown in an unplanned manner over many decades. The typical data center supports different hardware architectures, operating systems, applications, and hundreds, if not thousands, of different tools. To make matters worse, a lot of the money spent in supporting a data center is used for maintenance of existing systems, heating, air conditioning, floor space, and labor.

So, it’s not surprising that many companies have taken the time to streamline their data centers through technologies such as server virtualization. In essence, virtualization decouples the software from the hardware. In decoupling, the software is put into a separate container so that it’s isolated from the underlying operating system. (See Chapter 16 for more details on how virtualization works.) With the use of virtualization, data center management can more easily and efficiently manage the way applications are placed on servers.

However, even though IT has made the data center more efficient, cloud computing has made it apparent that more can be done to transform computing. ...

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