Traditional enterprise IT has been dominated – almost dictated – by the likes of IBM, EMC, HP, Dell…you name the big brand for the past decade plus, but with the growth of the cloud, could the tables be turning?
Maybe a little.
A good sign of this was revealed in a post by GigaOm titled “The data center has blown up” where Andrew Feldman, Corporate VP and GM of Data Center Server Solutions, AMD points out that “it began when the search-engine giants started making their own boxes and customized gear.” Of course, he’s talking about Google.
The fact that the data center is the revenue engine for cloud providers only supports their efforts to drive as much cost out of their enterprise IT architecture, while also stretching it to its limits (See The evolving cloud and how it impacts storage – Part 2 of 4). So, it only makes sense for the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. to want to design their own architecture and spec all the way down to the hard drives used, and in some cases this business is moving from the big OEMs to global ODMs or regional system builders that build to their spec.
Is this really a trend?
I don’t know if I am ready to say that the OEMs better watch out, because their business is in jeopardy. The one thing that many of the large cloud providers have is the talent in house to architect a complete data center overhaul from power and cooling, to hardware, to the software stack that manages the flow of data. For the smaller, more regional cloud providers, the OEMs provide this level of expertise and the software that accompanies their solution. The ones that will ultimately win are the ones that can best cater their traditional IT solutions for the cloud. I would not count them out…just yet.
But, the writing is on the wall…
If high school graduates are contemplating what to do…may I suggest architecture…cloud architecture. As the cloud continues to evolve, and new innovation in technologies extends its capabilities, the demand for expertise will only grow. It’s already one of the more in-demand professions today, and its only going to get bigger. With the pool of experts growing, hungry to make their impact on the cloud evolution, the greater the opportunity for local and regional cloud providers to bring expertise in-house, and the more likely they are to adopt the “Google-way” of designing their own servers.
Seagate for one, is increasingly being courted by cloud providers. They want to understand storage at the device level, where it is today, and where it is heading. If this is any indication of the direction, then perhaps what GigaOM refers to in “The data center has blown up” may be more sound fact than speculation.