Data debate

Whilst the theme of this year’s BICSI Middle East and Africa conference was a rather general one (namely ‘Information Transport on Copper, Fibre and Wireless’), the hot discussion at the event centred around one key issue – data centres.

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By  Sathya Mithra Ashok Published  April 15, 2007

|~||~||~|Whilst the theme of this year’s BICSI Middle East and Africa conference was a rather general one (namely ‘Information Transport on Copper, Fibre and Wireless’), the hot discussion at the event centred around one key issue – data centres. Interest in the latest cutting-edge technologies, whatever the cost, coupled with a growing awareness among businesses of the importance of constructing and maintaining an efficient data centre, is driving investment in this strategic space. The result? The region is leapfrogging more mature markets such as Europe and America as network managers adopt new technologies in order to both create and consolidate data centre infrastructure. (The May issue of Network Middle East will look into the growth of data centres in the region and track the technologies that IT managers should set their sights on.) The BICSI presentations that I found led to the most intense data centre debate, concerned high-performance 10 Gigabit connectivity, the challenge of maintaining the right environmental conditions inside the data centre and the power and cooling solutions necessary to build one. There were also extended discussions on how best to manage physical infrastructure and overcome cabling hassles, coupled with the need for increased security in the region’s data centres themselves. Aside from data centre deliberations, the BICSI event was a brilliant success in acting as a vendor-neutral platform where companies and delegates across the region could talk strategy and check out new products. (You can read more on the event itself in next month’s issue of Network Middle East.) That said, for BICSI to become even more relevant to the region’s network bosses in future, its team of organisers would be well advised to give a perspective on the importance of policy measures and implementation practices that can help IT heads effectively maximise their data centre investments. As any experienced manager will tell you, it’s not the technology, but the people and processes that are built around it, which determine the success or failure of any project. So I believe that space can and should be made at such conferences for a presentation or two on effective policy formation and implementation, as only then can organisations gain the most benefit from their technology choices. Judging by the comments of many of the network managers I spoke to, others would appreciate this addition too. ||**||

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