A blade server industry group founded by IBM and Intel is predicting three key trends that will reshape the datacenter: network convergence with Ethernet technology; advanced energy efficiency techniques such as water cooling; and "hyper consolidation" involving both virtualization and blade servers.
Blade.org, which hosted a technology symposium in New York Thursday, predicted the disappearance of separate I/O lanes for data networking, storage traffic and interprocess communications. (Compare storage products. ) Today each lane requires its own adapters, connectors, and wires. Network convergence will end that, Blade.org says.
"In the future, datacenters will converge I/O on Ethernet, running all their traffic on a single 'lane' or wire," Blade.org says. "This convergence is ideal for blade environments because they are tightly packed together with little room for extra components."
10 Gigabit Ethernet and 40 Gigabit Ethernet will be key to this transition, but some technology enhancements haven't arrived yet, says Doug Balog, chairman of Blade.org and vice president of development for IBM's blade and modular systems group.
"10 Gigabit kind of becomes the foundation, but there are enhancements to Ethernet that are needed and coming forward as standards through IEEE, that will provide lossless capability through the 10 Gigabit fabric," he says.
IBM and Intel started Blade.org in 2006 and have attracted about 200 members including APC, Brocade, NetApp, VMware, QLogic, Citrix, HBC, and Wyse Technology. The member list is also notable for some large industry players that aren't named, such as IBM rival HP and Intel's rival AMD.
The Blade.org board of directors came up with its "mega trends" list to provide insight to the industry and spur discussion on technology trends that could have major impacts on the datacenter in coming years.