DCN August 2016 - Page 50

final thought UP AND UP Darren Watkins of Virtus Data Centres considers whether the end of Moore’s law could unleash a new wave of creativity. I ’m not sure that there is anyone in the world who wants less power or lower performance from their technology. And it’s fair to say that higher performance is driven by what goes on in the processer. With Moore’s law coming to a plateau, the IT industry is going to have to work hard to try and maintain the momentum it has brought over the last 40 years. Technology has got smaller, yet more powerful and today’s smartphones can do more than many of the supercomputers of old. Software programmers can no longer rely on increases in raw processing power. They will need to look to use processing resources more efficiently and drawing on vast numbers of crunching resources in the cloud is one of the main ways computing can continue to move forward. By sharing computer capacity, processing capability improves which enables businesses to be more effective and innovate. Shared resource I am old enough to remember SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) when it was big in the 90s. It was software that you could download so when you were 50 offline your computer capacity could be shared with systems around the world and mine massive data to search the universe for extraterrestrial intelligence. This is one of the first examples of cloud – using shared resource. The principle is the same for public cloud today. Rather than having 20 owned computers in a data centre, by connecting to a multitude of other systems through the cloud, people can share the benefit of combined processing power. So how does this relate to Moore’s law? The cloud has to live somewhere and the data centre is its home. Cloud has been one of the most talked about subjects in the tech industry for over 10 years, and it has taken that long to become mainstream. But now it is, the take up is meteoric. For a long time, there was an oversupply of data centre space in the market, but the demand for cloud has boosted the demand for data centre space, space that will quickly be consumed if data providers don’t continue to build. Today, capacity needs have increased exponentially and companies don’t buy what they used to a few years ago when the average take up was a couple of hundred kW. Now businesses are buying multiple megawatts in one go. And there aren’t many data centre providers who can deliver that kind of space. Moore’s law is about the doubling of processing power every two years. If you look at the consumption of cloud to satisfy the future of computing, Moore’s law still applies at the data centre level. If we think of a data centre as a silicon chip (because