Fields of Fiber

    Gartner Data Center, I & O Week’s End

    Posted by Bill Miller on Dec 9, 2016 3:43:48 PM
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    Raza_WhiteboardIMG_20161205_180535_crop.jpgDay 3 was the closing day of the exhibition portion of the Gartner Summit event and it brought some high quality discussions to the Fiber Mountain booth. I’ll discuss the day 3 survey question and the Amazon gift card winner from this past week below.

    Both the Legrand mock data center booth and the Fiber Mountain booth were active with interested, data center-focused potential Glass Core users! Demo after demo, question after question, we explored CrossCage Plus, the OPX® (Optical Path Exchange) Layer 1 SDN switch, the AllPath Director orchestration software, and the new LS-2520 QSFP Breakout for Cisco® NCS 1002.

    Booth visitors were attracted to flashing lights of the equipment in the demo racks and frequently asked what was causing the lights to flash. This led to discussions about the innovations delivered by Fiber Mountain’s Glass Core solution for data centers. Data center managers who are facing fast-growing volumes of fiber optic connections and muddling through the design and implementation of these fiber networks were excited by our message of making those physical connections dynamic and managed, with software control of the physical layer.

    Take-Aways from the Conference

    As the week comes to a close and conference is over, it is clear that we are experiencing many changes in the data center. Networking infrastructure is a leading change area. As data rates are increasing and changing, data centers of all sizes are evaluating and prioritizing projects. At a high level, projects that address automation which can optimize resources and save time and money are near the top of everyone’s agenda. New technology solutions that enable agility are in high demand, and nearly every presentation and discussion touched on the question of how to increase agility as data center decision makers plan projects.

    Among the biggest take-aways:

    • Data center workload movement is changing
    • Interconnect innovations are needed for these workload changes and direct asset management
    • Services are being disrupted by containers and other “microservices” such as VMs, changing server models and applications
    • Cloud and “Anything” as-a-service choices are driving the data center market toward purpose-built solutions, with a focus on time-to-market and technology innovation
    • These apps are driving new infrastructure needs: lower latency, higher performance, secure data protection, compliance, etc.
    • Decision-makers are looking for ways to optimize the use of already-owned resources
    • IoT (Internet of Things) is having an impact on business data centers, driving increased challenges and complexities that were not previously considered
    • Computing changes such as edge computing and hyperconverged integrated systems drive shifts in data center architectures

    In essence, no matter what your industry or job function, it’s an exciting time to be involved with data centers!

    Survey Question

    Each day in our booth we asked visitors a survey question. Day 3 we asked, “Is the refresh rate on your data center equipment changing? If so, how?” As with our day 1 & 2 questions, the strong response on day 3 led to longer discussions and more in-depth demonstrations for many visitors. Those who took the time received a Starbucks gift card and were entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card after the show.

    The nearly overwhelming one-sided response was that refresh cycles have not yet changed much - remaining 3-5 years in some data centers and 8-10 years in others. However, there was a caveat in that recent purchases in some data centers may extend the cycle out to a couple of more years. The often animated conversations alluded to 40Gbps or 100Gpbs being overkill today but a certain requirement for the future. By implementing support for increased storage and increased bandwidth, data center decision makers feel this can support them in their most recent refresh to extend refresh cycles. One visitor said their refresh cycle has been shortened from 10 years to 8 years. This gives you the idea that some forward thinking companies today have 3-5 year cycles and others 8—10 years. Time and technology cycles will tell.

    Another responder felt refresh cycles must be shortened to keep up with technology trends. My take on this answer is that the market for new technology has the ‘hype cycle” dilemma of determining what is real and ready for prime time deployment vs. early education. Once the use case is validated, a refresh cycle can be shortened if the value and ROI is determined to be worthy of an upgrade cycle.

    Other responders felt the cycle has not changed, but recent innovations have kick started lab activities to test and analyze new technology to determine if refresh cycle changes will benefit the corporation. These innovations, however, impact data centers with requiring new “end of life” policies to manage the migration from legacy to new. A couple of responders agreed with respect to innovation and mentioned that is one reason they were at the conference. They attend Gartner Analyst sessions, then visit the expo floor and are armed with ideas and questions.

    Survey Question Amazon Gift Card Winner

    All of the survey responses from days 1,2 and 3 were entered into the final drawing Friday, (today!) for the grand prize of an Amazon gift card. The winner is Dusty Wilhelm of Cooper Standard. We will contact him via email in order to send the gift card code.

    Congratulations, Dusty!


    (Thanks to Danielle and Nick for helping with the drawing! You can see that we like whiteboards in the office as well as at the show.)


    The Fiber Mountain team wants to thank our two new partners - Legrand and Cisco - and everyone who took the time to learn about the Glass Core and answer our survey questions. Watch our “Events Page” for 2017 events where you can meet with us and see our products. See you there!

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    Topics: data center, Legrand, Gartner, Cisco