I haven’t attended an AFCOM Data Center World Conference in almost five years because when I did, my impression was that the exhibits were not well attended by would-be clients of the company I was working for at the time. In fact, that year, we saw only two potential customers in our booth. People that have attended it recently have told me much of the same. They received less than a handful of good prospects to target.
Fast forward to 2013 when I’m temporarily living in the UK and have an opportunity to attend Data Centre World in London. I was pleasantly surprised to find, in my opinion, a much better event – and it was free for qualified attendees! Perhaps that was the difference. I found the conference program to be comparable to AFCOM’s and the exhibit floor to be much more crowded. The other refreshing thing was that while software defined networks (SDN) were mentioned, they were not the overwhelming theme. The program stuck to its intended subject matter, the data center market, its networks, facilities, clouds and hardware.
Some of my observations from attended presentations and visits to some of the booths:
- Data center space demand throughout the world is expected to level off within the next five years due to server virtualization. SSE Telecoms showed this chart to illustrate this:
- More than 75% of network traffic stays within the data center. Thus the trend to higher data rates and flattening of the data center network.
- The vertical market customer drives data center needs. In other words, if you’re a healthcare organization, your data center may look much different from a state/local government data center.
- “Shadow IT” is driving change in local area networks (LAN) and data centers. Bring your own device (BYOD) forces company networks to be more open to the employees using them, but poses possible security issues for the IT department.
- Co-location is slowly becoming the norm for even smaller businesses due to the expenses associated with maintaining ownership of the data center.
- Many connectivity vendors were there and they seemed to be getting healthy traffic in their booths. Some that I visited were 3M, Brand-Rex, CommScope, Corning, Draka/Prysmium Group, Fujikura, HellermannTyton, Lynx Data Cabling, Methode, Ortronics and Telegärtner. All were showing either copper and fiber solutions (or both) for the data center.