EMC's VPlex announcement could really shake up the data centre business. Competitors may have been quick to dis the news but if what EMC is promising is really true, then the world in five years time will look very different.

All the thinking about data centre installation has been predicated on the belief that they're sited near to organisations' offices. The problem of latency has limited the deployment of data centres to certain geographic areas; in many cases, this has caused problems, given the pressures on real estate and power availability.

The ability to "follow the moon" as it was aptly put, has changed the notion of what constitutes a data centre. In a world of global trade, why not store data in the most favourable locations and benefit from advantageous tariffs? It's a policy that will no doubt lead to the power industry re-thinking its policies in time.

EMC's VPlex then offers a real chance to break free from geographic restrictions, although given that many IT managers need to keep as close to their data centres, it's not clear how many will be keen to do so. And then there's cost, the VPlex family does not come cheap - and that at a time when companies are looking  to cut the bottom line.

As our sister title Computerworld reported, a lot of EMC users, while admiring the technology behind the VPlex range, are concerned about the cost - and with a basic VPlex configuration starting from $77,000, that's scarcely surprising.

But it does open up another world to them: it's going to take a few years for the full force of EMC's announcement to come to fruition and it's probably going to take some more years before there's a wide scale adoption of any of the technologies - and by then, other vendors will have caught up.

It's yet another reminder of how rapidly the IT world is changing; the old certainties of IT departments, local data centres and limited bandwidth will start to disappear and the whole way that companies handle technology will alter. EMC has tapped into the change with VPlex - but there's surely going to be a lot more to come.



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