HP Foresees 'Lights Out' Data Centers

Will the data center of the future have no tech staff on site? That’s the vision put forth by Hewlett-Packard CIO Randall Mott at an industry conference in California earlier this week. Here’s a summary from a ComputerWorld article:

As part of a plan to reduce the number of the company’s data centers from about 85 worldwide to just six, Mott is setting out to prove that HP can develop a data center that can be operated entirely remotely. The plan, which Mott detailed at last week’s conference, also includes consolidating more than 700 data marts into an enterprise data warehouse.

That’s a ton of consolidation, illustrating the impact server consolidation can have on a company’s data center footprint. Having noted that, not all attendees were on board with Mott’s vision, which is the facilities version of the “neutron bomb” strategy – leave the buildings standing, but wipe out all the employees inside.

Sure, it sounds great from a cost perspective. But there are skeptics, who were also quoted in the ComputerWorld article. “I don’t believe in lights-out data centers. I believe in dim lights,” said Oliver Schmid, manager of information systems at Alfred Karcher Inc. IT facilities will still need operations workers with versatile talents – “people who know a little bit of everything,” he said.

For more on Mott’s vision for HP’s data center operations, there’s a separate Q&A with details.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.