Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst who has been tracking the ups and downs of IT through this golden age of computing, recently posted an interesting observation: “When touring data centers, I've often noticed that facilities designed 10 or more years ago have quite a bit of empty space. Systems, storage, power and networking equipment have gotten far more powerful and smaller in the intervening years.”

I have spoken with insurance CIOs in recent years who said the same of their own data centers: they're getting increasingly consolidated with smaller, more powerful and more virtualized systems. So there's a bit of a paradox taking place: data centers are shrinking, yet getting bigger at the same time. They're doing more than they have ever been doing before — supporting many more users, especially from outside the organization, running clouds, housing big data, and getting smarter and smarter.

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