Inaugural Data Centre EXPO explores internal IT journey to service aggregation

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Even as the software defined data centre continues to attract innovative technologies to IP EXPO Europe, the launch of Data Centre EXPO alongside this flagship event was an opportunity for data centre managers to learn, discuss and reflect on changes ahead for the way operations are funded and measured.

Renowned author Ian Cox kicked off the keynote program with a look at the

disruption that internal IT teams need to embrace

in order to reman relevant to their internal customers, the business users. This scope of disruption was validated by the panel of experienced data centre operators who shared lessons from the coalface.These spanned the spectrum of using open source to introduce faster features all the way to the management of multiple cloud services.

Even as a data centre owners and managers embrace the need for better user experience from lowest possible latency, the issue of inter-cloud connectivity reared itself. Representing the Cloud Ethernet Forum, Sam Johnson from Equinix discussed architecture options for high performance as we head into higher levels of orchestration between services.

But no service orchestration could potentially be feasible without the ability to understand and cater for the emerging discipline of Devops and aligning operations culture accordingly. "Achieving a DevOps style is about far more than tools and skills; it involves a fundamental cultural shift" said

Chris Swan, CTO of CohesiveFT

when discussing how infrastructure operations can be more proactive in supporting faster functionality creation.

The journey towards service orchestration from multiple clouds and better support for developers is not complete without creating a platform from infrastructure elements. Tim Smith from Box outlined the need for razor-sharp focus on service levels and the ability to 'walk in the shoes' of the end user, even if the platform is only an abstraction to them.

This platform journey came alive in the panel that looked at using APIs to integrate from bricks to bytes across the data centre. With Cisco's EnergyWise taking aim at the coming

energy platform play

, we heard examples of production technologies from Josef Brunner, Schneider's Philip Clarke and Eseye's Ian Marsden. For data centre engineers who can visualise the the many possible applications of IoT inside the data centre,

relayr showcased how self-service app development

on top of pre-configured connection on its WunderBar

Day two kicked off with a robust round of data centre myth-busting by Andrew Jay from CBRE who shared pan-European market data on capacity and pricing trends. The Data Centre Alliance(DCA) track was rich with real life lessons on the nuts and bolts of creating and sustaining high-performance datacentre operations

David Cameron of Operational Intelligence walked through a clear illustration of the role of the

human element in catastrophic failures

, the Swiss Cheese Model and the importance of effective transfer of knowledge between data centre delivery and operations teams.

Meanwhile

Stephan Norberg from EUDCA

walked the audience through the importance of periodic operational audits in order to understand compliance risk and opportunity for improvement

As data centre managers continue to lead their teams on the internal transformation journey,

challenges around skills lie ahead

. A closing power panel explored the coming axes of convergence as regulatory pressure on energy management and increasing pressure from software enablement conspire to re-define the role of data centres and the professionals that support them.

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