Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Research Vice President Andy Lawrence

Our next HCTS 2018 speaker is very familiar with the Summit’s main stage: Research Vice President Andy Lawrence. Andy specializes in datacenter efficiency, market evolution and automation, and serves as Executive Director of our sister company, Uptime Research.

Q: What did you discuss last year? 

A: For the past four years, I have presented a keynote and led a discussion at HCTS that has focused on datacenter evolution as demands – including IT, engineering and market demands – change. Because the headline theme has not changed a lot, at times I have worried the audience would find the subject of limited relevance or repetitive, but none of these discussions or keynote presentations has come across as remotely like the one the year before. In fact, these sessions ended up being very lively, informative and sometimes surprising each year. The one constant in these discussions is our belief that datacenter designers and operators must be more responsive to the demands of their customers, because the way datacenters are designed and run is becoming ever more bundled with the services that can be supported. This belief came across clearly at HCTS 2017, as datacenter operators discussed how they are moving to lower cost, easily replicated, and large scale granular designs to meet the needs of the cloud service providers. 

Q: What was your biggest take away from last year’s HCTS?

A: One of the points that we made last year is there is strong pressure for suppliers to keep prices low to encourage business, but service providers and enterprises also want the supplier’s datacenter to meet many other demands including a high level of resiliency and agility, great connectivity, reliable analytics and to be energy efficient.  This year, as last year, demand for datacenter capacity is strong, very cloudy, and coming in large chunks – for which service providers do not want to pay too much. It is always intriguing to see if and how these competing demands are met.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?

A: Recently, an entirely new category (though we are 451 Research have talked about it for the past few years) is beginning to emerge: edge datacenters. Edge is raising all kinds of questions: Is it all just hype? Who will own them? What will they look like? How will resiliency be achieved? Where will they be located and why?  

Edge is often described as both “paradigm-shifting” and “revolutionary,” but it is also just a new iteration of an existing technology or market. In my session, I will argue that, to a degree, both descriptions are correct: Edge computing means local IT connected to a core - a model which we have had in offices, factories, retail outlets, labs and telco facilities since the 1980s. At the same time, when you think of Edge as an extension of an advanced cloud infrastructure fabric – adding local compute and storage, supporting automation and self-optimization, and aggregating, policing and managing traffic – then its new importance is obvious.  

Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain?

A: While some trends are hard to predict, the drivers for Edge computing are so strong that the only disagreement is not about if the trend will kick in, but when it will and how big the market and build out be. As discussed in 451 Research’s 2017 report – “Datacenters at the Edge”—5G, CDN, video, IoT, Edge analytics, augmented reality, driverless cars are just some of the drivers, but there are many others. This trend is not a swing of the pendulum from core to edge, but the beginning of a new, and complementary build out that has a lot of suppliers, operators and investors pretty excited. 

Forward looking analysis by 451 Research’s IoT team and by Uptime Institute Research’s infrastructure analysts and in-depth surveys, all point to a big build out of edge capacity. According to Uptime Institute’s recent annual global datacenter operator’s survey, 40% of respondents said their organization will require edge computing, while another 30% not sure. Who will own and operate what in the future is also an intriguing discussion: 37% of the Uptime survey respondents said they will use a mix of their own and colocation datacenters to manage and host their infrastructure. Does this suggest that while core enterprise data center may shrink in the middle and core layers, it will grow at the edge? I will try to add context and answer these questions at HCTS.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?

A: Elsewhere at HCTS, the topic that catches my eye and interest most is “building partnerships with hyperscalers.” While cloud is undoubtedly and definitively the architecture for the future, I still want to hear more about how they will meet all the concerns about governance, transparency, resiliency, lock in, openness, and even the role of large monopoly players in the IT ecosystem and in large economies. For me, discussions of cost, APIs, functions and services are interesting, but enterprise managers I talk to are also concerned about strategic risk. The most successful service providers and big cloud providers will need to score well on all these fronts. 

We are excited to welcome Andy back to the main stage at HCTS, which will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26. Register for HCTS 2018 to hear all the speakers you have met thus far in our ongoing series, including the previous Q&A with Melanie Posey.  

Our next HCTS 2018 speaker is very familiar with the Summit’s main stage: Research Vice President Andy Lawrence. Andy specializes in datacenter efficiency, market evolution and automation, and serves as Executive Director of our sister company, Uptime Research.

Q: What did you discuss last year?

A: For the past four years, I have presented a keynote and led a discussion at HCTS that has focused on datacenter evolution as demands – including IT, engineering and market demands – change. Because the headline theme has not changed a lot, at times I have worried the audience would find the subject of limited relevance or repetitive, but none of these discussions or keynote presentations has come across as remotely like the one the year before. In fact, these sessions ended up being very lively, informative and sometimes surprising each year. The one constant in these discussions is our belief that datacenter designers and operators must be more responsive to the demands of their customers, because the way datacenters are designed and run is becoming ever more bundled with the services that can be supported. This belief came across clearly at HCTS 2017, as datacenter operators discussed how they are moving to lower cost, easily replicated, and large scale granular designs to meet the needs of the cloud service providers.

Q: What was your biggest take away from last year’s HCTS?
A:
One of the points that we made last year is there is strong pressure for suppliers to keep prices low to encourage business, but service providers and enterprises also want the supplier’s datacenter to meet many other demands including a high level of resiliency and agility, great connectivity, reliable analytics and to be energy efficient.  This year, as last year, demand for datacenter capacity is strong, very cloudy, and coming in large chunks – for which service providers do not want to pay too much. It is always intriguing to see if and how these competing demands are met.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?

A: Recently, an entirely new category (though we are 451 Research have talked about it for the past few years) is beginning to emerge: edge datacenters. Edge is raising all kinds of questions: Is it all just hype? Who will own them? What will they look like? How will resiliency be achieved? Where will they be located and why? 

Edge is often described as both “paradigm-shifting” and “revolutionary,” but it is also just a new iteration of an existing technology or market. In my session, I will argue that, to a degree, both descriptions are correct: Edge computing means local IT connected to a core - a model which we have had in offices, factories, retail outlets, labs and telco facilities since the 1980s. At the same time, when you think of Edge as an extension of an advanced cloud infrastructure fabric – adding local compute and storage, supporting automation and self-optimization, and aggregating, policing and managing traffic – then its new importance is obvious. 

Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain?

A: While some trends are hard to predict, the drivers for Edge computing are so strong that the only disagreement is not about if the trend will kick in, but when it will and how big the market and build out be. As discussed in 451 Research’s 2017 report – “Datacenters at the Edge”—5G, CDN, video, IoT, Edge analytics, augmented reality, driverless cars are just some of the drivers, but there are many others. This trend is not a swing of the pendulum from core to edge, but the beginning of a new, and complementary build out that has a lot of suppliers, operators and investors pretty excited.

Forward looking analysis by 451 Research’s IoT team and by Uptime Institute Research’s infrastructure analysts and in-depth surveys, all point to a big build out of edge capacity. According to Uptime Institute’s recent annual global datacenter operator’s survey, 40% of respondents said their organization will require edge computing, while another 30% not sure. Who will own and operate what in the future is also an intriguing discussion: 37% of the Uptime survey respondents said they will use a mix of their own and colocation datacenters to manage and host their infrastructure. Does this suggest that while core enterprise data center may shrink in the middle and core layers, it will grow at the edge? I will try to add context and answer these questions at HCTS.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?

A: Elsewhere at HCTS, the topic that catches my eye and interest most is “building partnerships with hyperscalers.” While cloud is undoubtedly and definitively the architecture for the future, I still want to hear more about how they will meet all the concerns about governance, transparency, resiliency, lock in, openness, and even the role of large monopoly players in the IT ecosystem and in large economies. For me, discussions of cost, APIs, functions and services are interesting, but enterprise managers I talk to are also concerned about strategic risk. The most successful service providers and big cloud providers will need to score well on all these fronts.

We are excited to welcome Andy back to the main stage at HCTS, which will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26. Register for HCTS 2018 to hear all the speakers you have met thus far in our ongoing series, including the previous Q&A with Melanie Posey.  
2632 Hits