We've all heard of the fab-less computer company: now here is the datacentre-less computer company; Sun in this instance. Sun intends to operate without a single datacentre by 2015.
That's the somewhat incredible vision described, in a sign of the times, in a blog post by Brian Cinque, who is a datacentre architect at Sun Microsystems. Given the sensational nature of Cinque's ideas we have checked, insofar as we could, his credentials over the weekend and, yes, he does indeed seem to be a datacentre architect at Sun.
Sun's IT CTO, John Dutra confirmed the vision although not the 2015 goal, in a Forbes interview. Dutra said that Sun will eliminate five of its eight datacentres by 2013 with the remaining three going sometime after that. Yes, Sun does indeed intend to operate entirely on a software-as-a-service (SAAS) model.
The answer to datacentre green house gas (GHG) emissions, ever-increasing electricity prices, and datacentre operating burdens is to do away with them. Stop treating a datacentre as an in-house DIY activity and rent computing power over the grid, having applications run 'in the cloud'.
Nicholas Carr, author of The Big Switch, a book on utility computing published earlier this year, which says that exactly this shift in IT is happening, said: "This is a very real sign of the shift from the private data center to the public grid for computing. It means that Sun expects the utility computing grid will be mature enough by 2015 to handle any type of software that the company runs."
By 2013 Sun will cut in half the total power needed by is datacentres today through a consolidation exercise, moving from eight to just three centres. He writes: "SunIT will move in an evolutionary manor from several generations of infrastructure, both technology and processes, to a model that is far more efficient with enabling factors like technology and IT Governance-like processes. As SunIT reduces datacentres due to higher utilisation functionality, there will be a point proven by metrics, that SunIT can only become so efficient. At that point SunIT must progress from a service-oriented architecture to more of a software as a service."
Why do this?
- Reduced IT costs thanks to a major reduction in datacentre space, power, and cooling requirements.
- Reduced IT costs and decreased time to implement projects thanks to a reduction in operations complexity for the datacentre staff.
- Compliance with Datacentre audit finding.
- A foundation for sourcing components.
- A transition to an “evolutionary change” infrastructure management style.
- Alignment with application, security, business systems, and agent architectures.