Xceed Board CEO, John Casserly pens a "Dear John" letter to the Data Centre

In this letter John addresses how relationships with the Data Centre change over time.

Dear Data Centre,
It’s not you it’s me. I’ve changed. We want different things.

We’ve been together a long time, but recently it’s started to feel a bit one-sided. I keep putting in the time, the data and the money, but it’s all give and no take. I’ve started to work late, spending more time with cloud vendors and trotting out the old clichés, “We’ve grown apart, I’ve got needs y’know, and a guy just needs more scalability and elasticity”. We’re still holding it together but I’ve started to wonder if this is just habit, or is it time to cut the (RoI) ties?’ As more and more services move to the cloud, IT is swiftly looking more like a utility. Small businesses and startups are often cloud or as-a-service first when it comes to business applications or storage, and enterprises are well on their way with the transition.

When so many services and applications can be acquired on-demand it seems absurd to invest so much in owned infrastructure, that for the most part will never work at the limits of its capacity. However, CIOs around the world have substantial investments tied up in owned data centres and many continue to pour in funds year on year. For some this is something of an emotional, rather than rational attachment. After such a significant investment, IT departments often struggle to attain and measure the point where they have achieved a satisfactory return on their investment. So they continue to squeeze every last drop of productivity from their DC. Many CIOs are gradually reducing the size and scale of their DC investment but will the CIO ever break up with the data centre completely? For some, the answer for the foreseeable future is no.

For companies that rely heavily on telematics or for highspeed trading floors, moving services into the cloud will not allow for the consistently high demand and speed required. For those in the financial services industry, data protection may hold them back from the cloud. Protection of customer information is enshrined in legislation, creating certain restrictions over what must be retained on company grounds. While some other CIOs may remain in a perfectly happy DC marriage for the foreseeable future, the divorce trend continues. Cloud speed, security and performance are improving and I think it’s time we appraised our relationship. Should we really stay together?

Yours faithfully,
The CIO