Over the past six months, our World Of Servers project has taken me from Canberra to London to Las Vegas to New Orleans in search of insights into how to best manage and deploy servers in the modern world. Here are the big-picture lessons I learned.
Data centre picture from Shutterstock
With more than 150 posts over the life of this project and events covering everything from open source to data centre disaster recovery, there's no way to capture all the insights in a single story. However, some themes did keep popping up.
1. All the cool stuff happens in data centres
When I embarked on this project, several friends suggested it was a dull topic area. I disagreed then, and I'm even more vehement now. Servers drive everything we do with technology. In the cloud era, they are utterly vital. And while the best cloud technologies are near invisible to consumers, for IT pros understanding and managing what happens under the hood is where the action is.
2. The future is decidedly hybrid
If there's a cloud on the horizon for cloud, it's resistance to implementing public cloud solutions — whether that's because of security or performance concerns. Hence the increasing interest in hybrid clouds that combine private and public infrastructure. The key? Using the same technology in both.
3. iPV6 is happening too slowly
We're quick to see the potential for giving everything an IP address, but slow to realise that will create unholy spaghetti in the back end if we stick with IPv4. Major blame goes to telcos for lazily deploying NAT rather than putting in the hard yards; minor blame goes to developers for not rewriting key apps.
4. Big data is looming
Yes, big data is often a lazy buzzword being used to flog ageing analytics solutions. Nonetheless, we are generating enormous quantities of data, and the rewards for those who know how to mine this can be rich. Big insights (and a big salary) loom.
5. User experience trumps experts
I've heard great advice from experts of all stripes, but the information that has resonated most deeply with readers has tended to come from end users and those who actually implement server tech. For that reason, I'm particularly grateful to the three guest bloggers who accompanied Lifehacker to TechEd 2013 — thanks guys!
So is World Of Servers over? Not just yet! Tune in next week to find out more.