Cloud Computing Vs. $100 Million Data Center - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Cloud
Commentary
6/12/2009
05:59 PM
John Foley
John Foley
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Cloud Computing Vs. $100 Million Data Center

Citizens of Holyoke, Mass., had reason to celebrate this week as the governor of Massachusetts and other dignitaries--including Cisco CEO John Chambers, EMC CEO Joe Tucci, and the presidents of Boston University, MIT, and the University of Massachusetts--announced plans to build a $100 million data center in their town. It's an ambitious proposal, but is it necessary?

Citizens of Holyoke, Mass., had reason to celebrate this week as the governor of Massachusetts and other dignitaries--including Cisco CEO John Chambers, EMC CEO Joe Tucci, and the presidents of Boston University, MIT, and the University of Massachusetts--announced plans to build a $100 million data center in their town. It's an ambitious proposal, but is it necessary?The Holyoke high-performance computer center--at this point, it's a mere glean in their eye--would support academic and corporate research, create local jobs, and serve as a state-of-the-art facility for green computing. Advocates enthusiastically describe it as a "cutting edge concept" and "absolute game changer" for the region. Governor Deval Patrick said the center would "lift up" Holyoke and surrounding economies.

Yet, it's hard to fathom why such a tech-smart group would sink $100 million into a data center construction project at the same time that many others see the emergence of on-demand cloud computing services as a faster, better, cheaper alternative, one not requiring capital investment, bulldozers, and hydroelectric gear. This is the stomping grounds of "Big Switch" author Nicholas Carr, after all.

As I see it, the folks behind the proposed Holyoke data center really have two scenarios to consider: One in which they, as proposed, build and operate a new data center, in essence becoming a cloud services provider; and a second in which they leave that work to Amazon, IBM-Google, or another experienced data center operator and pay for IT services only as needed.

Another idea: Let Cisco or EMC operate the data center, thrusting themselves directly into the cloud services market.

The partners in this venture have 120 days to come up with a plan, during which they need to pick a site, figure out how they will pay for the project, and all the other details that go into building a data center from scratch. Their evaluation should include an assessment of whether third-party cloud services would support the research needs of the universities and others involved.

The drawback to a cloud services approach is that Holyoke wouldn't get the new construction and other related jobs that local politicians and residents understandably hope for. But job creation is a bad rationale for building a data center, anyway. Better to focus on research, innovation, and the myriad business opportunities created by on-demand IT resources regardless of how they're delivered.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
How SolarWinds Changed Cybersecurity Leadership's Priorities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/26/2021
Commentary
How CIOs Can Advance Company Sustainability Goals
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  5/26/2021
Slideshows
IT Skills: Top 10 Programming Languages for 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/21/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll