Data centre construction has become an increasingly automated procedure. The inevitable end result? The 'Happy Meal' data centre — a standardised set of items which can be offered pre-packaged for better value.
I was introduced to this expression by Matt Swinbourne, ANZ systems engineer for NetApp. "The data centre of the future is going to be an automated platform that allows you to pull that data when you need it," he said. Given that McDonald's standardised the design of both the restaurants that serve its food and the meal options they offer, the 'Happy Meal Data Centre label seems strangely appropriate.
The modular nature of those data centres is also McReminiscent. "The skills to design that are being taken care of by the vendors," Swinbourne said. "Customers will buy a service-level agreement, not hardware."
Data centre construction is certainly speeding up. Research by Emerson Network Power suggests that deployment cycles are declining rapidly, and will continue to do so.