Australia's data centre professionals should perhaps look to fortune-telling as a side project should there ever be less demand for their skills - most of the top predictions made at the 2013 Data Centre Strategy Summit earlier this year are already looking especially prescient.
With just three months to go until the 2014 event, today the iTnews team studies the predictions attendees made for the coming 12 months at the close of the 2013 conference, to see whether the market is shaping as expected.
The top five predictions were, in order:
1. CLOUD COMPUTING to enjoy a rapid take-up after a period of all hype and no bluster.
Anecdotally, the number of enterprise customers embracing cloud computing has accelerated in calendar 2013, where previously public cloud services had been the domain of start-ups and web developers. In the last week alone we've reported public cloud adoption by Woolworths, News Limited and Suncorp.
Local instances of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace - complementing existing services from Telstra, Macquarie Telecom and others - have introduced much sought contestability in infrastructure services that enterprise customers had previously held off for.
2. RATIONALISATION of on-premise data centres among enterprise and government IT.
The prevailing theme of the last Data Centre summit was the consolidation of the dozens of data centre assets owned by large corporates and government departments. We've seen mammoth consolidation projects underway at Australia's Department of Defence, National Australia Bank, Telstra and Westpac over the past nine months, and many of these projects are experiencing delays and are likely to stretch on for a few years yet. We've even seen service providers that would usually build their own data centres - such as PacNet - decide to consolidate facilities into co-lo.
3. CONSOLIDATION of co-lo providers as international players enter the market.
While there has been a reasonable amount of M&A activity in the telecommunications sector, we're yet to see new players entering the market since Digital Realty and NextDC's big splashes in 2011. Exceptions include Digital Realty's buy of Fujitsu's Macquarie Park data centre, and the acquisitive strategies of Vocus.
4. NABERS ratings for data centres gains traction, challenging PUE as efficiency standard.
Nine months after the program opened, Fujitsu is the first data centre to have part of its Noble Park facility gain an official NABERS rating. We've noted that NBN Co is looking to do the same for its new facilities - but the jury is otherwise out on how successful the program will be. Being that a NABERS rating requires 12 months of validated readings, we're likely to know much more after the 2014 event.
5. COLLABORATION between enterprise and government users building 'community' facilities.
Shared services might be a dirty word in government circles at the moment, but CIOs in non-competing sectors are nonetheless hurtling headfirst into shared data centre infrastructure. By the time the 2014 summit rolls around, the NSW Government should have some departments using its new shared data centres.
The higher education sector, in particular, has been looking to combine resources to rationalise data centre facilities and engage in a shared services arrangement for basic infrastructure. The deal between two Sydney universities for shared cloud storage and the collaborative build of the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre are strong examples. Will other sectors follow suit?
Below, I've also listed some of the more intriguing predictions made by 2013 conference delegates...
- CARBON TAX to be repealed
- INCREASED OUTAGES due to power, security and cloud migration issues
- RACK DENSITY on the rise above the 2-3kW standard
- MANDATORY NABERS RATINGS for data centres
- AGIMO to cancel procurement panels
- FOLLOW-THE-SUN cloud services launched across global data centre network
- OVERSUPPLY of data centre space in Canberra
- UNDERSUPPLY of data centre space in Melbourne
During the opening session of the Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit in March 2014 we will take a closer look at whether these predictions have been realised.
To help answer some of these pressing questions, I've put together a brief seven-question survey for data centre and IT infrastructure managers (embedded below).