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The Twighlight of Small In-House Data Centers 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the say-goodnight dept.
dcblogs writes "Virtualization, cloud services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) is making it much easier to shift IT infrastructure operations to service providers, and that is exactly what many users are doing. Of the new data center space being built in the U.S., service providers accounted for about 13% of it last year, but by 2017 they will be responsible for more than 30% of this new space, says IDC. 'We are definitely seeing a trend away from in-house data centers toward external data centers, external provisioning,' said Gartner analyst Jon Hardcastle. Among those planning for a transition is the University of Kentucky's CIO, who wants to reduce his data center footprint by half to two thirds. He expects in three to five years service provider pricing models 'will be very attractive to us and allow us to take most of our computing off of our data center.' IT managers says a big reason for the shift is IT pros don't want to work in data centers at small-to-mid size firms that can't offer them a career path. Hank Seader, managing principal of the Uptime Institute, said that it takes a 'certain set of legacy skills, a certain commitment to the less than glorious career fields to make data centers work, and it's hard to find people to do it.'"
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The Twighlight of Small In-House Data Centers

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  • "Twighlight"? Editors don't even read the titles anymore, it seems.
  • by Scareduck (177470) on Friday March 29, 2013 @09:45AM (#43311021) Homepage Journal

    People pitched the timesharing computing model for a lot of reasons, lack of control of the hardware and the software rental treadmill being two of the largest. Every time I hear someone gushing over The Cloud and Software As A Service, it's history repeating itself.

    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:15AM (#43311237) Homepage

      "All of this has happened before and will happen again... every five years".

      You have to admire the creativity of giving the exact same concept a different name every time.

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:49AM (#43311487) Journal

        This is why Bill Hicks plead with marketers to kill themselves.

      • by postbigbang (761081) on Friday March 29, 2013 @11:01AM (#43311549)

        It is the same old stuff in new wrappers. But therein is a statement:

        1) In house development and app hosting weren't working. Why? Costs? Pains? Staffing? Budget

        2) It's just about as secure to do things internally as on external hosting because if you do the job right, there's truly no secure boundary and people learned that.

        3) Vertical market software is getting really good, and SaaS can even be satisfactory for some-- and vastly less than doing it in-house.

        4) Less Capex. No huge front-end expense to setup shop/branches. Rent everything.... every IT cost is OpEx rather than CapEx.

        5) Stuff moves to quickly to keep up, perhaps. Tough even for us old sages.

      • by Synerg1y (2169962)

        That's hilarious, but 100% true, the main allure of the cloud right now is infrastructure automation... but what's that done through?

        Cloud OS / software.

        Say due to future outages the cloud providers aren't found reliable anymore, that cloud OS / software will go right back in-house to the businesses in a thousand different flavors again.

        It does tend to get a bit better each time though as hardware advances and software follows suite.

        • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Friday March 29, 2013 @01:55PM (#43312919)

          That's hilarious, but 100% true, the main allure of the cloud right now is infrastructure automation... but what's that done through?

          Cloud OS / software.

          Just wait until the suits find out they cannot throttle the IT guy in order to get something done, then find out that to their holy cloud provider, they are just another customer.

          It's the same thing with insourcing versus outsourcing, which is the twin brother of the cloud. Just try putting heat on the outsource folks to shorten their deadline. They might have alot of customers, and putting you first puts others later, and you aren't worth the trouble. You can save money outsourcing, except when you can't.

          • by Synerg1y (2169962)

            Well... managing infrastructure in the cloud = managing virtualized infrastructure... so it's just like VMWare w a GUI that puts VMWare to shame (the GUI is the cloud OS). So there's still an IT guy that logs into the cloud and sets up the extra sever or db or w/e... and no way is that free as with a private VM stack (if you have the server licensing, you need the licensing either way). So... as your infrastructure grows, your cloud costs grow, but that's almost soley offset by no need to upgrade the hard

    • by Nutria (679911)

      People pitched the timesharing computing model for a lot of reasons

      And maybe the "PC on every desk" paradigm has it's own problems. But then, Ken Olsen is my hero, so I have my own biases...

    • by lgw (121541) on Friday March 29, 2013 @12:24PM (#43312141) Journal

      What your missing is that almost everything in IT has been history repeating itself for 20 years or so now. Just about everything cool, sexy, and new has been stuff the mainframe guys did long ago. Timesharing is just the latest. That's not a good thing nor a bad thing, it's just a predictable thing.

      Really, the only new ideas have been AJAX (without which the web looks very much like mainframe-terminal interaction) and streaming (which changes how you want to cache stuff in an interesting way).

      The industry will circulate between "centralize everything" and "decentralize everything" on a 20-year-ish cycle forever - it's just long enough for CIOs to seem clever as most have forgotten the last time we did it. In another 10 years I expect to see /. posts about "Every time I hear someone gushing over , it's history repeating itself."

    • by eth1 (94901)

      People pitched the timesharing computing model for a lot of reasons, lack of control of the hardware and the software rental treadmill being two of the largest. Every time I hear someone gushing over The Cloud and Software As A Service, it's history repeating itself.

      Just because your data center isnt' in-house, doesn't automatically mean "cloud" and "SaaS." I work for a company that does IT outsourcing, and what you're really time-sharing in most cases is the technical talent and expensive data center infrastructure, not the networks and servers.

      Many of our customers may only have enough servers for a rack or three. They have the option of setting up redundant power, generators, weather-proof buildings, security, etc., but that would be prohibitively expensive, so we m

      • by dave562 (969951)

        You make a good point on staffing. I work for a SaaS provider and we have good sized footprints at redundant data centers. Our clients pay us to host their applications because it is less expensive for them and we can leverage economies of scale. There are also regulatory considerations that make it cost prohibitive to host certain kinds of data in house.

        The biggest challenge however is staffing. There are simply not enough competent IT people in the world. The need for talent outstrips the available t

    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

      People pitched the timesharing computing model for a lot of reasons, lack of control of the hardware and the software rental treadmill being two of the largest. Every time I hear someone gushing over The Cloud and Software As A Service, it's history repeating itself.

      The possibility of eliminataing a lot of salaries and the corresponding bonuses for the suits are making them really push hard for cloud and SAS this time.

      I still haven't received a good answer for when the whole thing falls over one day and people do not have access to their data. Or maybe even their Applications. And it will happen.

      • by dave562 (969951)

        I still haven't received a good answer for when the whole thing falls over one day and people do not have access to their data. Or maybe even their Applications. And it will happen.

        It is called an SLA. You do due diligence when you select a provider. You do an audit to make sure that they can do what the sales monkeys claim they can do. You make them conduct a full blown DR test of your application stack. You make them promise to continue to do tests on a quarterly or bi-yearly basis. You get it all do

    • by Myself337 (771093)
      This, and trusting my data to another company is scary as hell.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 29, 2013 @09:49AM (#43311045)

    In general this is true of any industry. As certain services no longer become differentiating and become commoditized, you're going to get a situation where its best to outsource these activities to the player who can do it for you cheapest.

    The biggest mistake that companies make is when these data centers are part of your core business. For a University this is not the case - their core business is research and education. For my company, however, we will continue to run our own geographically redundant datacenters because they power our core business - we're a text message gateway.

    That there's a 'twilight' is just the natural progression in any industry - however just figure that the jobs that remain in data center work will be directly involved with the core business. If you're at RackSpace or Amazon, then the data is your core business. If you're like us, then the datacenter is so critical to core business that you're de-facto in a position of power in the company.

    Good luck to those mediocre data center managers at centers not involved in core-business. I'd start looking for a new job now.

    • by Blrfl (46596) on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:32AM (#43311347) Homepage

      Actually, the biggest mistake companies make is using the *same* data centers for its core business. If you're in bed with a single provider, then you break when they break. Until there's a standard way to provision and operate things across multiple providers, this is going to be a problem. What we need isn’t a lot of clouds providing services. We need services being provided by a lot of clouds.

      • by lgw (121541)

        Actually, the biggest mistake companies make is using the *same* data centers for its core business. If you're in bed with a single provider, then you break when they break.

        But that's no different from any other utility, really. If your power goes out, what then? Yes, there are a few where the cost of multiple cloud hosts would make sense, just like there are a few places where redundant power makes sense, but usually it's not worth it.

        • by Blrfl (46596)

          And like anything else, it all depends on how a cost-benefit analysis falls out. People making these decisions without doing their homework first are... well... stoopid.

  • by Raven42rac (448205) on Friday March 29, 2013 @09:49AM (#43311047)
    I have a threefold problem with "cloud" storage/computing 1) Lack of control/physical security, up to and including removing my access to my own data due to a violation of some cockamamie TOS or similar agreement. 2) No ability to remedy downtimes, while rare, still do happen. 3) The ability of government agencies to scan my data for whatever they feel like arbitrarily and possibly without due process.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      2. is our biggest one.

      So far the best we found were totally worthless SLAs that state basically 100% uptime, but your only recourse for downtime is a refund of your payments.

      In house we also have visibility into downtime. We now when the parts are arriving and at what stage something is at. No cloud vendor will give you that, because they of course will inconvenience smaller players to keep bigger customers happy. So you can't say "We stole your hardware for a customer 3 times your size".

      • It also looks bad when I can't say what the problem is, the ETA, what we are doing to work around it, etc.
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Yeah, we have ended contracts with suppliers already for that sort of thing. Someone who can't even tell you when their service will be back are not folks you can rely on.

          These are of course not concerns for a university.

    • by andy1307 (656570)

      3) The ability of government agencies to scan my data for whatever they feel like arbitrarily and possibly without due process.

      How does an in-house data center protect you from that? If they're not following due process for a hosting provider, what makes you think they'll do the same for your in-house data center. People need to calm the fuck down and stop acting like they live in north korea/china.

      • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:43AM (#43311441) Homepage
        If some perv is going to stare at my junk in the shower, I'd prefer that he knock on the window so that I know that he's doing it.
      • Well that didn't take long.
      • by Golddess (1361003)

        If they're not following due process for a hosting provider, what makes you think they'll do the same for your in-house data center.

        The problem, I believe, isn't the government acquiring the data through illegal means. It's the government politely asking the service provider, "hey, I don't actually have a warrant, but could you please give me XYZ information?"

    • by SpzToid (869795)

      What about power and redundancy? What about about bandwidth redundancy? Those two little tick-boxes seems to favor data center centralization for a lot of folks concerned about business operations, uptime, and their associated costs vs. risks.

      Maybe if we're talking about a business with multiple dispersed office locations, but still, those larger enterprise clients also seem better served by a real data center. Look at it this way, is your core business power and bandwidth? Can that be outsourced more relia

      • by alen (225700)

        its not like you need five nines for every single server. where i work we have a few servers that can be failed over within a few minutes. and most are single servers with only RAID for redundancy. if they go down, yawn. until we get them back up

        but when you go to the cloud they have to buy five nines and DR capability for all the customers. in the end its not really cheaper and if you look at the financials of a lot of cloud providers, they are losing money.

        the other day i read about a company called Workd

  • by bobstreo (1320787) on Friday March 29, 2013 @09:52AM (#43311065)

    What level of risk you're willing to bet on your Internet connection(s).

    It will be less than optimal when 20,000 kids in the school are streaming netflix in their dorm rooms while
    their professors are trying to work on their research grants on the file servers in the clouds.

    Combine that with multiple legal implications of the data being contained on the low bidder data center most of these kind of people will pick

    From the article:
    >>IT managers says a big reason for the shift is IT pros don't want to work in data centers at small-to-mid size firms that can't offer them a career path. Hank >>Seader, managing principal of the Uptime Institute, said that it takes a 'certain set of legacy skills, a certain commitment to the less than glorious career fields >>to make data centers work, and it's hard to find people to do it.'"
    Which to me means "The real reason we can't find anyone to work in our data centers or provide any career path is that we're unwilling to pay anything above minimum wage."

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:03AM (#43311133)

      It is the same issue we face with airlines.

      People will shop only based on price, forcing a race to the bottom. Then they will complain about outages and poor service.

    • by tnk1 (899206) on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:11AM (#43311201)

      Yes, there will be added need for network resources, but honestly, if their network admins can't figure out how to segment their residential from their research networks and throttle the residential usage, they need to rejoin the student body. The real issue with student traffic has always been keeping the existing residential bandwidth fully available for students to do their work, as opposed to having it clogged with people streaming Netflix, doing p2p downloads, and other non-educational activities, and that has little or nothing to do with "Cloud" storage and processing.

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:15AM (#43311247)

        Netflix, P2P and non-educational activities are very important for student traffic. These folks live there.

        No one works all the time, not even college students.

        • by tnk1 (899206)

          I think my point was that the challenge was to not have the non-educational stuff overwhelm the educational stuff. Yes, there is quality of life, but I am nearly certain that the installation of ResNet projects was not justified in the budget as for being meant to provide streaming movies on demand. In short, you should have your other stuff, but it can't be to the exclusion of your coursework being able to be completed, and the network resource needs for movies or p2p can make it a challenge to make sure

    • QOS solves the 1st problem. >>"The real reason we can't find anyone to work in our data centers or provide any career path is that we're unwilling to pay anything above minimum wage." I couldn't agree more. This is why companies are fighting so hard for more H1B Visas. There are plenty of foreign workers who will take that minimum wage job....
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Every time somebody brings this up, just sprinkle peanuts around your demarc. The eventual squirrel strike will remind them why it is nice to have your data within your local network.

      Do the power also, reminding people why they can't use the backup generator room as storage space, as well as providing crispy critters for lunch.

    • Our biggest client switched to a SaaS model for their primary application. We weren't sorry to see their ratty old servers get retired since they weren't willing to replace the hardware, but we warned them that they'd need redundant ISPs for this model to work. After the first big 2-hour long Internet outage on their primary fiber provider, they agreed and now there's a backup DSL connection.
  • Correction... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday March 29, 2013 @09:55AM (#43311081) Homepage

    "much CHEAPER to shift IT infrastructure operations to service providers"

    It's not about easier. It's trading control, stability, and uptime for Lower IT operation costs. Executives dont care about safety of data, stability, uptime or control. All they care about is how good does the next quarter look to the board. Who cares if the company tanks in 5 years, Next quarter is all that is important.

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)
      That is mostly correct...until the data that wasn't secure gets into the wrong hands and gives the competition a competitive advantage or causes the stocks to plummet from scandalous information/images getting leaked.
    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      But the cloud providers going to want to make there 20% and if you need something doing quickly be prepared to pay through the nose for it - I can see a major snafu like says storing applicants to GCHQ (aka NSA) enc lair taking years to sort out and costing a 1/4 mill or so.

      Sir Humpfrey, "Yes minster we just have to finalize the risk assessment and DSE inspection and. Then we can get right down to specifying this update, you will of course need to speak to the treasury to get the to increase the budget
    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

      "much CHEAPER to shift IT infrastructure operations to service providers"

      It's not about easier. It's trading control, stability, and uptime for Lower IT operation costs. Executives dont care about safety of data, stability, uptime or control. All they care about is how good does the next quarter look to the board. Who cares if the company tanks in 5 years, Next quarter is all that is important.

      Has the question of liability been settled? If your cloud provider bollixes up or loses your best clients work, and there is a huge loss - who is responsible, your company or the cloud provider?

      Every cent saved and more might go to a lawyer, because your client is likely to sue both of ya.

  • Some people just are not inclined to trust a service provider with holding their private data, even when it is encrypted. An OEM could probably make some money by designing redundant and power-efficient storage nodes for home / small business networks to meet that demand.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Trust is not the only hurdle.
      Lack of insight into downtime and worthwhile SLAs. Simply getting a refund is not good enough when an hours downtime cost you a 10 million dollar contract. We literally have contract like this. This means we would if we had to steal hardware or resources from other projects to keep that system up and running or to return to service faster.

      You can't do that with a cloud provider. If they have an outage you are stuck at their mercy. They will have downtime, not only is it just a f

      • by tnk1 (899206)

        All valid points, but few of them are insurmountable. Many of the providers, particularly Amazon, offer distributed filesystems, and the ability to spin up in different segments of their overall cloud. If you are running MapReduce operations or load balanced web apps, you're already running software that can handle outages of parts of the infrastructure without stopping, and sometimes, not even slowing down that much.

        Now, ensuring that you have a presence where you can spin up processes in the non-comprom

    • by lgw (121541)

      Some people just are not inclined to trust a service provider with holding their private data, even when it is encrypted/quote.

      What, the last 5 geeks still not using web mail? That hurdle was jumped long ago.

      But TFA is about businesses with large datacenters today, not your personal anime tentacle porn collection that you need to keep private. There are still a few places where the cloud just doesn't fly, for regulatory reasons (much of the financial industry), which is why "private cloud" is a thing. For everyone else, why run a datacenter?

  • Lots of luck, chuck. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SoupIsGood Food (1179) on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:05AM (#43311151)

    So, in essence, they don't want to pay IT staff what they're worth and can't find enough suckers willing to be underpaid, and believe the salesman when he says his company can do all of that messy IT work for you, dirt cheap. Heard that same song sung before - remember how everyone was going to lose their IT jobs to Indian outsourcing? How'd that turn out?

    • by Viewsonic (584922)

      A lot of it does start out cheap with massive discounts. But once your data is moved over, good luck with it being cheap as the warehouse needs to please its shareholders with profits.

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:44AM (#43311455) Homepage Journal

      remember how everyone was going to lose their IT jobs to Indian outsourcing?

      Half of them did.

      How'd that turn out?

      Depends on your perspective.

    • by noc007 (633443)

      You hit it on the nose. That's why I went to go work for a MSP. My previous employer knew full well that I was underpaid, but didn't want to bring my pay anywhere near DOL medians for the area. I saw a lot of job openings where that wanted the guy to do everything from tech support to DBA all for $40-$50k. I looked for a job where the position is where the money is made and not burdensome overhead. I left for a 60% increase that they didn't even bother to try and counter to my boss' dismay.

      At the MSP, the s

      • by dbIII (701233)

        Unfortunately he didn't have the balls to say that is not on his original resumé and must have been put there by the recruiter, which I would have fully accepted.

        I had that once, but they had nerfed my resume and inflated their favourite canditate and even cut and pasted some bits on mine into his. I'd brought printed copies of the original to the interview, so could compare them and hand the original to what is now my current employer. That's the sort of stupid shit some recruitment agencies pull on

    • by kilodelta (843627)
      Not too well. But for a different reason - it wasn't that I.T. people in India are any better or worse than we here in the United States. But like us in the U.S. they realize their skills are WORTH something and have begun demanding higher wages.

      Seriously - a couple years ago I saw a photo spread in National Geographic. It was what appeared to be a nice residential enclave in southern California but instead it was in Bangalore.
      • This is exactly right. It's easier and more reliably profitable to work with domestic industries than to accept piecework from a country where there's a language and time zone barrier to collaboration. Companies in India were not capable of delivering a consistent result, because companies in the US were unable to offer consistent guidance and management. Pretty much as predicted by all the outsourcing skeptics. Once the domestic demand for IT services in India took off, outsourcing lost its luster for buye

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        nice but you don't have the problem of having property expropriated by gangsters which has happened to a college of mines family in India :-)
    • by lgw (121541)

      So, in essence, they don't want to pay IT staff what they're worth and can't find enough suckers willing to be underpaid, and believe the salesman when he says his company can do all of that messy IT work for you, dirt cheap.

      If the cloud host has a track record for reliability that's as good as your IT staff, why keep the IT staff, and all the headaches thereof? The cloud hosts have a pretty goiod record thus far, and quite a few inhouse IT departments don't. Remember most of these companies have already outsourced their IT to the cheapest contractor.

  • by dgharmon (2564621) on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:09AM (#43311187) Homepage
    Virtualization, cloud services and SAS won't replace conventional services until our 'broadband' is faster and more reliable than that offered to the consumer at the moment ...
  • by delcielo (217760) on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:33AM (#43311351) Journal
    My experience in pricing these things out is that it's cheaper in-house. I can spin up a virtual machine on our VMWare/UCS infrastructure for about 1/5th the cost of a higher tier provider. I hear a lot about scalability, but so far I've never been in a position of telling somebody "I don't have room to create another VM for you." Flexibility is a semi-valid argument. It depends on what flexibility you want. If you don't need your test servers backed up, you're either paying for separate tiers in the cloud, or you're just paying for something you don't need or use. If I don't need to back up a VM in my own data center, I get direct savings from not doing so. The backups are just one example.

    Cloud makes sense as an offering from 3rd party ISVs. If they have a product, they should offer a cloud option for it, where you pay them and they contract to whatever cloud provider they wish and include it as part of your cost. It's just another one of those tools that we will all use the wrong way because we have to satisfy some kind of managerial mandate. And we won't use it the right way because it jacks up the apparent cost of the products that could truly be a good fit.
    • My experience in pricing these things out is that it's cheaper in-house.

      Your assertion is only true if your IT needs are mostly static. In my experience the following things happen continuously:

      Our online service is growing 5 times faster than we predicted. We need 5X capacity in the next two weeks.

      We've changed our software application design and the hardware we have in not appropriate for the new design. Get rid of it and bring in a new hardware design, all while keeping the service running.

      That's the reality for any nimble and fast growing business. That's why cloud i

  • Heck, I got all excited over the title at the idea of renting out an unused guest room as a data center,

  • I think offsite data centers will become more popular. But, I do not expect any major shift within that timeframe.

    Internet access has to become much more reliable, fast, and secure, before such moves become practical for many companies.

  • Most of the cloud offerings don't want you using your own hypervisor anyhow. At least not without paying so much more it isn't worth it. They are looking at spinning up the servers for you, or giving you the raw resources for a linux/Windows box. If you want to implement VMware or need to have access for something like Provisioning Services, you are most likely better off running that in your local datacenter right now.
  • by kilodelta (843627) on Friday March 29, 2013 @10:44AM (#43311445) Homepage
    "IT managers says a big reason for the shift is IT pros don't want to work in data centers at small-to-mid size firms" that is complete and utter bull!

    Now if they wanted to pay a reasonable rate then yes, maybe they'd get people to work for them. But until such time those small to medium shops stop being so cheap about what they pay their I.T. people they need to STFU right now.
    • by PPH (736903)
      Not just pay, but IT people in small firms get involved in much more diverse tasks than one would in a large cloud center.

      Instead of spending your life chasing cable through raised floors, you cold be working lots of admin tasks, troubleshooting desktops, helping management spec h/w and s/w acquisition. Maybe even a bit of application development and testing.

      • There is the old saying that if you have to change an end user's mouse you are not a system administrator. Doesn't matter how many servers you actually admin. If you deal with end users you are help desk and/or a technician and can only be expected to be paid at that level.

        People seem more willing to pay for depth of knowledge but not willing to pay for breadth of knowledge. So they end up with "experts" who say, "That is NOT my job". I am a professional. I get paid to get the job done. I do not care

        • Re:diverse tasks (Score:5, Interesting)

          by PPH (736903) on Friday March 29, 2013 @03:22PM (#43313705)

          I've worked in businesses which had the opposite attitude. I got paid for what I knew, not necessarily for what I was doing.

          It's up to management to allocate resources correctly. So its not an individual's fault if they get assigned the occasional job that is beneath them. And when times get tough, good management is apt to protect their more capable people and keep them busy with whatever work is available.

          Boeing used to build furniture. Not because they wanted to be in that business. Or even because they could be competitive in it. It was a way for them to keep their skilled carpenters (when airplanes were made of wood) employed during tough times.

  • I don't know about you guys but gigabit is starting to look slow on a local network so you can forget about going back to 10Mb/s if the stuff is stored offsite.
  • Amazingly, the "twighlight" of data centers coincides with the twilight of spell-checking.

  • A friend of mine's department was sent a lot of spam this week.

    So gmail banned THEIR accounts for 24 hours.

    I'm not sure of the logic behind that one.

  • Wont happen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday March 29, 2013 @12:06PM (#43311983)

    We've been using Saas and cloud services for years now... and it's a mess. Contract negotiations are such a nightmare with these companies, we end up employing more people specializing in "contracts" than we would have if we just kept the service in house. We recently had a major project held up for 4 months because we found out the vendor had a different "understanding" of how our data was supposed to be encrypted and they had to haggle all that nonsense out before we could move forward. Don't even get me started on Oracle...

    Then you have the whole problem of: You have no control over the vendors financial well being. Not only that, but it's in their best interest to hide financial troubles from you. So suddenly they go belly up and your entire service vanishes. We had a vendor maintaining our series of websites for us and they vanished overnight. Their staff walked out, but lucky for us the owner was a reasonable guy and did his best to get all the data he could to our guys. Meanwhile we had no staff that was in the business of doing web development, though some had a pretty good idea of what to do. But once we got the data we could from the owner, it ended up parts of it were compiled and there was no source code. (I'm sure it was somewhere but the owner wasn't a developer so...) It was a freaking mess. We ended up having to run a website for months with no idea what the source code looked like for some of the more complex bits until we were able to rebuild it from scratch ourselves.

  • Hank Seader, managing principal of the Uptime Institute, said that it takes a 'certain set of legacy skills, a certain commitment to the less than glorious career fields to make data centers work, and it's hard to find people to do it.'"

    I guess that makes my skills more valuable since there's a shortage of skilled admins.

  • by tatman (1076111) on Friday March 29, 2013 @12:30PM (#43312199) Homepage
    I've wondered how feasible it would be for me to purchase a few good servers, upgrade my home internet to business class, and provide some hosting services as a on the side, part time business. On the surface, it doesn't seem like a tremendous amount of effort or investment, other than to get a customer base installed.
    • by jon3k (691256)
      Depends on the services you offered, I suppose. But not having redundant internet connectivity would be a problem. Also what business would want their data hosted at someones house? Can you provide five 9's of uptime? Do you have 24x7 support?
      • by tatman (1076111)
        Those are good questions. I wouldn't necessarily make it obvious it was run out of my house. IF they asked, I would be honest. the 24x7 "thing" could be challenge. So I got to thinking, what if these businesses are definitely 8 to 5 shops. Idk, it seems like there could be some market for small time hosting. I could be wrong. I couldn't sell water to a man in a desert; so what do I know anyways? :)
  • by eap (91469) on Friday March 29, 2013 @03:01PM (#43313555) Journal

    Cloud utilization is growing. And it's growing in startups and small companies. The reason isn't because of career choices by IT professionals. It's because it's a lot easier to buy a cloud-based solution with your company credit card than to requisition a VMware cluster.

    Much of Amazon's cloud customer usage is for shadow-IT and small startups who do development work. Microsoft spent over $3bn on Azure and has little to show for it. Of course, object storage is a no-brainer for streaming content providers because who cares where you store a large block of data.

    Regarding uptime and connectivity, Amazon suffered a major glitch last year that tanked Netflix for about a day because they didn't have enough connection redundancy. Their are providers out there who do. One I know of has multiple availability zones in the US, 3+-homed internet, and power from at least two non-connected grids.

    Organizations are moving to the cloud, but large enterprises are not moving their legacy applications to the cloud. Yet. It's really hard to migrate 1000 applications running on legacy hardware, some of it with outdated OS's and non-x86 hardware.

    It will eventually happen because companies are sick of having Chief Electricity Officers.

  • by jon3k (691256) on Friday March 29, 2013 @03:43PM (#43313889)
    Here in healthcare we'd love to be able to use more "cloud" services, where it makes sense. One of the main problems we have is a stated lack of HIPAA compliance. Also the ability to integrate these services. For example, how do I integrate my "cloud based" (read: web app) health information system with my web based office suite and do it securely?
  • There are a few places where the cloud is great. If your machine is lightly loaded and it is doubtful that anyone really wants to steal your stuff. Then the cloud is great. If your load is all over the place but averages fairly low then again the flexibility of the cloud is great. If your customers are all over the place and distributing your stuff here and there is good then again the cloud is great. If you are risk taking fast moving startup then the cloud is for you.

    But if security is off the scale cri

You will lose an important disk file.

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