What are some benefits of self-driving data centers?

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A move toward “self-driving data centers” has evident benefits for companies, and it’s something that many experts are calling an inevitable innovation for enterprise IT.

In many ways, the traditional data center as a repository for information is becoming more of a proactive system, with the addition of machine learning and “self-driving” technologies and tools. For instance, automation tools can make the process of resource allocation automatic rather than one that’s done by human decision makers. Instead of observing things like CPU and memory use, and manually allocating accordingly, company system administrators can simply utilize tools that move CPU or memory or other resources where they are needed based on inherent self-awareness in the system.

Different types of self-driving data center tools bring other similar benefits to a business, for example, in automating inventory management, supply chain operations, customer relationship management or other aspects of business processes.

One primary benefit of self-driving data centers is efficiency. In a very fundamental sense, relieving human operators of the responsibility for routine data center management decisions saves time and effort. Eric Wright of Turbonomic writes: “By taking out the continuous need to take in information, process the data, derive an action to take, and take that action, we take a huge amount of time out of our overall day-to-day operations … Those savings in time and human decision making that could be spent better elsewhere is very real.”

As self-driving data center tools save time and effort, they also produce a different effect in the labor force. When human operators don’t need to focus on the mundane details of data center operations, they can become specialists in more top-level management. They have more freedom to grow in their careers and invest attention in professional development. The change leads to a more skilled workforce.

The overriding move in IT is toward autopilot, not just in ERP, but in many areas. An article at Network Computing entitled “Toward the Self-Driving Data Center” likens a self-driving data center to a self-driving car. The analogy is an apt one, because of the recent progress toward autonomous vehicles, and the very real parallel research that vanguard companies are putting into automating IT systems.

Self-driving data centers may allow companies to invest in a new pilot project around sales. They may save enough resources to allow the company to make some other innovation, such as a new learning lab for fringe business processes that were previously on the back burner. Innately, self-driving data centers clear the way for new business models in data, the same way that robots help manufacturers innovate in their fields. So the benefits of self-driving data centers are diverse and profound.

Justin Stoltzfus
Justin Stoltzfus

Justin Stoltzfus is an independent blogger and business consultant assisting a range of businesses in developing media solutions for new campaigns and ongoing operations. He is a graduate of James Madison University.Stoltzfus spent several years as a staffer at the Intelligencer Journal in Lancaster, Penn., before the merger of the city’s two daily newspapers in 2007. He also reported for the twin weekly newspapers in the area, the Ephrata Review and the Lititz Record.More recently, he has cultivated connections with various companies as an independent consultant, writer and trainer, collecting bylines in print and Web publications, and establishing a reputation…