IT luminaries are forever chanting about the joys of the latest technology that is soon to become ubiquitous in the data center. Notable examples in recent years have been thin clients, information lifecycle management (ILM), MAID and pizza box servers. Clearly, it is very easy to get it wrong when attempting to predict the technologies that will become dominant in the future.
So let's forget prognostication and take a different look into the crystal ball. Instead of predicting which technologies will take over in the future, let's predict what won't be there, or what will gradually start to fade in the storage and data center world.
Mike Karp, an analyst with Ptak Noel and Associates, took at stab at just that. Here is his Top 10 list of technologies that will fade away:
- Scripts. There will be fewer and fewer opportunities for people writing scripts. Even within the mainframe world where scripting is second only to breathing, scripting will greatly diminish. And the reason is simple as the old brigade fades into retirement, they will be replaced by a younger set with no real scripting orientation. "All the newer IT staffers have grown up with GUIs, and that is what most of them want to work with," said Karp. "Also, scripts don't automate well."
- Tape drives. People have been predicting the demise of tape for almost a decade. While Karp stops short of that, he believes there will be a lot fewer tapes in data centers of the future. As disk-to-disk backups in various forms and electronic replication to DR sites become more prevalent, tape will continue to lose ground. However, there will always be a need for some of these in order to retrieve data from older archives.
- Fibre Channel hard disk drives (HDDs). Karp wonders just what the need is for these drives any more, and believes data storage managers are gradually arriving at a similar conclusion. "FC drives offer nothing that SAS drives do not have, and the SAS/SATA combination is clearly winning the premier position on the data center floor," said Karp.
- Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs). You still see plenty of aging monitors around not so many green screens though. But the CRT is destined to go the way of the green screen very soon. Why? Those CRTs that are still in data centers are being found out. Far from saving money by avoiding the bill for a new monitor, Karp says these old clunkers suck much more power than do their more modern replacements. Thus it is inevitable that these will all get consigned to asset reclamation.
- RAID 1. All the rage in the nineties, Karp thinks basic disk mirroring just takes up too much disk space. In addition, it gobbles up an awful lot of power. Look for a continued shift to RAID 5 and RAID 6, and for RAID 1 to slowly fade as a data protection scheme.
- Unlocked doors. In the old days, data center security was regarded as being easy to maintain, so few saw the need to lock up. After all, only a handful of techies understood what all that esoteric equipment was doing, and the gear itself was not something you could quietly stuff under your coat. So the chances of theft, espionage or other mischief were relatively small. Those halcyon days are long gone and now Karp said the corporate governance boys are closing the door on opened doors in the data center once and for all.
- Budgets. Perhaps that is a little misleading; budgets won't disappear. But they won't continue to exist in their current form. Today it's usually hardware, software and "peopleware," said Karp. "Look for companies to restructure their budgeting approaches, making room for services from the cloud," often at the expense of either the hardware or, more likely, the staffing line items, he said. "Managers need the flexibility to make decisions based on need, not budgetary restrictions."
- Raised floors. Surely this stalwart of the data center, this pillar of storage best practices, will be with us forever? Not so, said Karp. They are already losing ground, as they are expensive to install and inefficient when it comes to heat redistribution. Check out most of the new data centers being unveiled by Google, Microsoft, or the vast SuperNAP complex of Switch Communications in Vegas. Few of these modern giants are have raised floors any more.
- Management by Excel. Karp's logic is simple: At some point, interactive management has to become more prevalent. Excel (and whiteboards) just track past configurations sometimes long-past configurations. That's not management.
- Windows XP. "Support is going away, nobody ever liked it anyway, so why is it around any longer?" asked Karp. "Some might say the same for Windows Vista. Some might be right."