« Redefining TCO and ROI For The Private Cloud | Main | Why I Never Embraced Facebook »

May 14, 2010


Martin G

This really rather depends on the size of the business, although there is a certain about of truth in what you say about the current RAID-1 nature of many data centres today. But you have to also examine whether building smaller distributed data centres is actually any more economically viable than the building mega-data centres. Are their economies of scale involved? For example, I may need more staff to manage multiple data centres; more security guards, more cabling guys, more WAN infrastructure?

You talk about metropolitan band-width but many of us distribute our data centres on more than a metropolitan basis and long distance bandwidth is still costly, even for those of us who own our own fibre.

Now the solution for a lot of businesses may be just to move their infrastructure into the public cloud and let the likes of Amazon build the mega-data centres in various parts of the world; let them deal with redundancy problems?

Chuck Hollis

All good observations.

I've noticed that -- here in the USA -- there are many major cities that have an interesting combination of (a) cheap metro bandwidth and (b) a glut of mid-sized data centers looking for occupants (due to a variety of reasons), creating an interesting supply-and-demand situation.

Can't say whether or not this is widespread, or whether it will continue. And, as you say, long-distance is still dear, so that problem still remains.

Your point about midsized businesses is right -- they will benefit from convenient access to "big IT" (scale, process, functionality, etc.) in bite-sized chunks.

And even the likes of Amazon et. al. will have to deal with geographically dispersed scale :-)

-- Chuck

Chuck Hollis

Sorry, one more thought ...

If you listen to the video, note the part when Mark Lippett recalls how they were staring at a rack of 18" Artis disk drives, and how all the load would peg one of them.

Clearly, the answer wasn't "bigger disk drives" at the time, it was making multiple smaller ones work better than a single big one.

Same thinking here?

-- Chuck

Mark Lippitt

Hi Chuck,
It was a kick to see our video in your blog today. There are still a few old timers from Data General’s Disk Drive Development team at EMC so heres a couple of typos and a comment:

The stack of disk drives revealing the operating system’s actuator load imbalances was Argus. It was DG’s 14 inch drive. The success of Argus funded CLARiiON's birthplace.

Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive DataCenters brings to mind the old debate over the "I." Should it be Inexpensive or Independent?

In the same way Steve Todd can sell the electrical power of his roof mounted solar panels back to the grid, mid-sized regional data centers owned by Independent businesses could supply excess computing capacity, denominated in Virtual-Machine-units, to a VM market maker. This would result in Redundant Arrays of Independent DataCenters. The economics of large versus small scale becomes less of a factor, while the ability to federate remains an enabler.

Mark Lippitt

Chuck Hollis

Hi Mark -- thanks for the corrections.

And, upon reflection, there's merit in having data centers both "inexpensive" *and* "independent".

-- Chuck

Joe Svankanski

I've been working with metro/geo-clusters for over a decade now. The biggest stumbling block (after politics and conservatism) are the applications. Most applications are not designed for federated environments. E.g. a couple years ago a national retailer was running analyses against POS data on a central massive database rather than running various aggregations in stores, regional offices, etc. Banks and insurance companies are similar. Running processes against millions of accounts daily.

Sadly, software is still a long way from catching up with the hardware. Once that happens we'll still need to handle the politics and inbred conservatism.

Rick Parker

A little credit for coming up with this new definiton for you would have been nice....

Rick Parker

Chuck Hollis

Hi Rick

Sorry, I didn't mean to withhold credit, but I've now heard this from a few people, and can't remember who I heard it first from.

Anyway, the credit is yours if you want it ...

-- Chuck

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

General Housekeeping

  • Frequency of Updates
    I try and write something new 1-2 times per week; less if I'm travelling, more if I'm in the office. Hopefully you'll find the frequency about right!
  • Comments and Feedback
    All courteous comments welcome. TypePad occasionally puts comments into the spam folder, but I'll fish them out. Thanks!