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Smart Enterprise: Greater Expectations

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server is doing well if it hits 45 percent," Fagen explains. Because the utilization rates are higher, fewer physical footprints are needed which, in turn, require fewer system administrators for a given workload, another significant savings. Finally, the virtualization technology available on IBM System z mainframes allows many application server instances to be tightly ganged together within a single hardware footprint. This enables application, transaction and database pro- cessing to occur in the same box or another mainframe via a mainframe coupling link, removing the need to repeatedly encrypt and decrypt requests and data moving from server to server. "There's zero networking overhead in mainframes," says Fagen, "and no bandwidth issues, as there are in distributed setups." Numbers like these, plus the mainframe's 30-year head start in harnessing virtualiza- tion, are helping the hardware platform prevail even in the face of what Fagen calls a "scarcity of knowledge and expertise — and a tremendous cultural bias against these machines." In fact, many of the world's largest financial institutions and other corporations are now expanding their use of mainframes significantly. They may see even greater incentives soon, thanks to IBM's latest line of zEnter- prise System mainframes. These systems increase the maximum number of processor cores, can slash price-per-MIPS by as much as 20 percent, and can integrate processor blades using Intel x86 and IBM's own Power architecture directly into a chassis tightly coupled with a mainframe. According to an IBM press release, this latter move is designed to manage applications that run across disparate server types. "This is a big turn of the crank," says Becky Alexan- der, Mainframe Product Manager, Service Strategy and Design at ACS, a Xerox com- pany that provides hosted IT services. "The zEnterprise should add to the momentum in mainframe usage we've been seeing." It's all part of a larger move in the data center, one that helps CIOs gain maximum visibility into their systems, no matter where those systems may live. In today's cloud- connected environment, that gain should be high on every CIO's wish list. ■ JOHN W. VERITY writes about technology from Santa Rosa, Calif. This January, Facebook disclosed plans to build its own massive data center in Oregon. In August, Twitter followed suit, aim- ing for Salt Lake City. Look ahead 10 years, though, and such announcements may be a distant memory. By then, all of the world's server power may be housed in as few as 200 data centers, according to Joseph Reger, CTO at Fujitsu Technology Solutions in Munich. There are nearly 47 million servers in use today, each with average utilization rate of less than 15 percent, and it's not uncommon for that number to fall well below 10 percent. This underutilization makes for what Reger calls a dramatic overpro- visioning in server power. "The current exponential growth rate cannot continue," he says. And it won't, says Reger, thanks to virtualization and the accelerating industrialization of IT. Virtualization of servers has the potential to bring utilization rates up to typical mainframe levels — around 80 percent — which will greatly reduce the number of physical boxes. Couple that statistic with the fact that the largest data centers will each soon be able to run on the order of magnitude, one million physical servers, with each one hosting some 100 virtual machines, and it becomes clear: 200 data centers could actually provide capacity equivalent to much more than the existing 47 million underutilized servers out there today. These surviving megadata centers will be of an enormous complexity, of course, which presents its own technical chal- lenges. Complexity roughly rises with the square of the number of elements that potentially connect to and interact with each other; 100 times more servers, for example, will lead to 10,000 times greater complexity. The key, therefore, will be more intensive, soware-based automation to manage every aspect of what will essentially be huge IT factories. "Once you control complexity with soware," Reger says, "the rest plays to your advantage." What this means to today's CIO — and what's clearly evident even this early in the rise of cloud computing — is that IT will be available in myriad forms, "a multitude of delivery models," as Reger puts it, ranging from raw CPU to complete business processes. "If a company thinks it gains value in running its own servers, it can do that. Or, it may take services from a 'factory' running 500,000 shared servers. Many companies will say, 'We don't want to touch it.'" Fujitsu's own cloud strategy ranges from offering infrastruc- ture as a service to what the company calls content as a service, a paradigm that delivers a mix of content and business processes which sometimes originates within Fujitsu — but not always. In Japan, for example, the company offers a service that provides guidance for even the smallest rice farms, giving them insight into the precise hour to begin harvesting crops. The service collects data from meteorological satellites as well as from sensors on the ground, and stores the aggregate data centrally, running analytic algorithms against it. "This is more than a business process," Reger says. "This is problem-solving content." "This is the future," he adds. "The computer is ubiquitous but invisible, delivering something that's vital but not considered merely an IT service." – J.W.V. THE SHRINKING DATA CENTER " This is the future. The computer is ubiquitous but invisible, delivering something that's vital but not considered merely an IT service." —Joseph Reger | CTO | Fujitsu Technology Solutions PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF FUJITSU )'('SMART ENTERPRISE 41

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