Everybody’s talking “cloud” these days. From marketing literature to the boardroom, cloud computing is one of the hottest topics, as the cloud promises to dynamically extend services and lower costs. Who wouldn’t want that? The discussions are prompting many to ask whether onsite datacenters are still needed to best serve the needs of the modern business. It’s an intriguing question.

While onsite datacenters used to be a staple in most businesses, startups and progressive enterprises have been leveraging the promise of the cloud to operate without the need to manage an onsite datacenter and deal with all the responsibilities that come with that decision. These organizations can scale operations during busy times of the year without having to overprovision and procure additional hardware, software and resources. When the busy times are over, they simply scale back to the normal baseline of workload, realizing the cost efficiencies of doing so. Those who can leverage the cloud in this manner have a built-in competitive advantage.

So, that begs the question: Does the datacenter even matter anymore?

Yes! And, in many ways – the datacenter matters even more now. Don’t forget that even with the cloud, there’s a datacenter somewhere.

The modern datacenter is expected to perform many functions that traditional datacenters were never designed to do (and couldn’t be designed for, given the constraints of the era). And, the essential requirements for information delivery have changed to include:

  • A highly mobile workforce that’s geographically distributed with diverse endpoints
  • A global customer base that demands instant gratification for content and services
  • A focus on optimizing customer-impacting latency vs. managing bandwidth constraints
  • Security and compliance that are truly effective (and aren’t just empty “best practices”)

For most, these were not requirements of past datacenter designs, but are top-level requirements today for any global enterprise. Were these requirements driving the blueprints when your datacenter was architected and built?

At Citrix Synergy 2014, I’ll be co-leading a discussion with Marissa Schmidt to explore solutions to these datacenter challenges. Be sure to attend Synergy, and also be sure to attend SYN201: Architecting a scalable and more secure next-gen datacenter.

We want to hear from you – What else is top-of-mind for your next datacenter? What is essential to remain on-prem for now and why? What types of services are you leveraging the cloud for as a key component of datacenter architecture?

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