Microsoft has outlined its vision for the future of cloud infrastructure, suggesting in-rack power supplies and better fail-safe solutions to reduce reliance on human input in data centres.
The company's general manager of data centre services Christian Belady said it was no longer possible for people to scale with their cloud infrastructure, and that human intervention should be reduced as much as possible as the cloud industry continues to boom.
"You cannot be relying on an ecosystem that requires people's intervention all the time," he told an audience at the Datacenter Dynamics Converged conference in London on Wednesday. "If there's a network outage, it should be irrelevant."
"If there's a failure, the guys can wait until 8am Monday morning to fix it. You know it's going to fail, so why spend more money to stop it from failing?" He said cloud-scale infrastructure is all about creating reliable platforms that can be switched in and out of service seamlessly.
With its $15bn investment in cloud infrastructure, Microsoft has tested alternative ways of making its data centres self sufficient. In 2012 the firm started experimenting with fuel cells contained within server racks in an attempt to isolate itself from sometimes unstable power grids. Earlier in November it published a whitepaper [pdf] of its findings.
Belady explained: "The reason we're doing this is if you look at the ecosystem today, there's a lot of stuff that can fail and a lot of stuff that costs a lot of money. It's a completely different way to operate, it's a different failing mechanism. You can fail at the rack instead of at the data centre."
He said that the fuel cell experiment may not be the answer, theorising that "research in our field is almost irrelevant. Things change so much, any view you have five years out is always going to be wrong. Cloud scaling has accelerated that to where one-year or six-month predictions are wrong."
Demand for cloud services continues to soar and while industry confidence in off-premise services grows, concerns about data sovereignty and a lack of control remain for some.
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