May 15, 2013
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s tradeshow time. Everywhere you look you see invitations for “fill in the blank” World, or a wrap up of another symposium or conference. This desire to congregate is not unique to the data center industry. Every market has its own series of shows and exhibitions that draw the industry faithful together to press the flesh, see what’s new and run up the old expense account. Part of the allure of these mass pilgrimages to Vegas, New York, San Francisco, et. al.—is the fact that they never hold these things in places like Sandusky, Ohio, a subtle commentary on their value—is that you are able to identify new industry trends by examining the topics of the various presentations that they offer. In doing a quick review of some of the topical fodder that will be discussed at some of the data center industry’s upcoming confabs, I have to say that it looks like we’re stuck in a bit of a rut. Does an over abundance of Power Points expounding on the how it’s “DCiM’s time” and that the Cloud “will change everything” reflect some hidden industry wish that these things will come true? Should we cue Jiminy Cricket?
Let me begin by saying that both DCiM and Cloud technology are valuable additions within the overall realm of the data center industry. However, sometimes what we all believe is the “next big thing” just never becomes quite that big. We see it all the time in our regular non-data center lives. Wasn’t everyone initially excited about New Coke, the Apple Newton and the Chevy Volt? Unfortunately, any number of variables like cost, timing or the fact that the product sucked can quickly banish a good idea to that metaphorical scrap heap of “never quite made it”.
I think that it’s too early to lump either DCiM or the Cloud into the same category as the post series movie careers of the cast of Friends, but this continued preponderance of trade show agenda domination is beginning to carry the slight odor of desperation. And I must admit some of the presentations themselves seem to be getting a little redundant. Hint: If your audience looks like they’d rather see your family’s vacation slides from that trip to the Grand Canyon you might want to think about changing things up. This is not to say that some DCiM and Cloud presentations aren’t delivered with the evangelical fervor that is usually associated with the late, great Reverend Ike, but volume and bluster doesn’t mean that the average data center operator is actually going adopt the technology. Maybe this is kind of like the 99% analogy we hear about now, and the bulk of industry participants—the one’s that don’t get to go to trade shows– are just too worried about day to day operations to embrace these gateways to nirvana.
While there is little that we can do about the topic’s that speakers will be covering this tradeshow season, I would ask—and I don’t think I’m alone here—that the companies that put on these extravaganzas endeavor to broaden the scope of topics before they implore us to “Join Them” in the one of the nation’s metropolis’s in the future. If I see one more product pitch presentation delivered by someone with the charisma of a newt, I may just lose my lunch. Get out on a limb and say something new. As for DCiM and the Cloud I say look to that Walt Disney classic, Pinnochio, for guidance. After all, after being turned into a donkey and being swallowed by a whale, his wish to become a real boy came true.