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Data Center Infrastructure - What Would You Ask?

So let's say you could get senior representatives from Cisco, Brocade, Juniper and Riverbed in a room, and could ask them anything you want to. What would you ask?
So let's say you could get senior representatives from Cisco, Brocade, Juniper and Riverbed in a room, and could ask them anything you want to. What would you ask?Think you know how to eliminate servers and consolidate date centers? Do you understand unified fabrics? Are you sure you can maintain application performance in remote offices? Worried about betting on the wrong vendors or wrong standards in your quest for data center perfection? You're not alone, there's plenty of confusion to go around.

So let's say you could get senior representatives from Cisco, Brocade, Juniper and Riverbed in a room, and could ask them anything you want to. What would you ask?

That's the opportunity I have at this year's Interop in Las Vegas. Chances are very good that one or more of these vendors provides some or all of the infrastructure gear in your data centers, and each has made announcements over the past few months that could be game changing. So I want your help - I've listed a few questions here, but these are just some initial thoughts - give me your advice and counsel on what I should be asking.

Question 1: Given the nature of the economy, IT projects simply don't happen unless they have clear cut ROI. From your experience with your customers, what's the number one data center related savings opportunity, and - without mentioning any product names - how should IT shops take advantage of the opportunity?

Question 2: Here we have a data center panel without a single server vendor present - but each of you has talked about the changing nature of the server. Give us your view of what a server will look like in 24 months, and how the underlying infrastructure will have to change to accommodate those servers. And while you're at it - should infrastructure vendors such as yourselves be in the server market?

Question 3: No one disputes the goodness of standards, and yet we've seen an increasing trend toward either after-the-fact standardization, and in some cases, a lack of standards. What's your view on this - do we have the right standards, and if not, how can we get back on the right track?

Question 4: Whether it's systems, networks or application performance, management of the data center has been a traditional weak point. What are you each doing to improve data center manageability?

Come on - there has to be better questions than these!

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