– Lori MacVittie, senior technical marketing manager at F5 Networks (www.f5.com), says: 

There are multiple trends putting pressure on IT today to radically change the way they operate. From SDN to cloud, market pressure on organizations to adopt new technological models or utterly fail is immense.

That’s not to say that new technological models aren’t valuable or won’t fulfill promises to add value, but it is to say that the market often overestimates the urgency with which organizations must view emerging technology.

Too, mired in its own importance and benefits, markets often overlook that not every organization has the same needs or goals or business drivers. After all, everyone wants to reduce their costs and simplify provisioning processes!

And yet goals can often be met through application of other technologies that carry less risk, which is another factor in the overall enterprise adoption formula – and one that’s often overlooked.

DYNAMIC DATA CENTER versus cloud computing

There are two models competing for data center attention today: dynamic data center and cloud computing. They are closely related, and both promise similar benefits with cloud computing offering “above and beyond” benefits that may or may not be needed or desired by organizations in search of efficiency.

The dynamic data center originates with the same premises that drive cloud computing: the static, inflexible data center models of the past inhibit growth, promote inefficiency, and are fraught with operational risk. Both seek to address these issues with more flexible, dynamic models of provisioning, scale and application deployment.

The differences are actually quite subtle. The dynamic data center is focused on NOC and administration, with enabling elasticity and shared infrastructure services that improve efficiency and decrease time to market. Cloud computing, even private cloud, is focused on the tenant and enabling for them self-service capabilities across the entire application deployment lifecycle.

A dynamic data center is able to rapidly respond to events because it is integrated and automated to enable responsiveness. Cloud computing is able to rapidly respond to events because it is necessarily must provide entry points into the processes that drive elasticity and provisioning to enable the self-service aspects that have become the hallmark of cloud computing.


You may recall the cloud maturity model, comprising five distinct steps of maturation from initial virtualization efforts through a fully cloud-enabled infrastructure.

A highly virtualized data center, managed via one of the many available automation and orchestration frameworks, may be considered a dynamic data center. When the operational processes codified by those frameworks are made available as services to consumers (business and developers) within the organization, the model moves from dynamic data center to private cloud.

This is where the dynamic data center fits in the overall transformational model. The thing is that some organizations may never desire or need to continue beyond phase 4, the dynamic data center.

While cloud computing certainly brings additional benefits to the table, these may be benefits that, when evaluated against the risks and costs to implement (or adopt if it’s public) simply do not measure up.

And that’s okay. These organizations are not some sort of technological pariah because they choose not to embark on a journey toward a destination that does not, in their estimation, offer the value necessary to compel an investment. 

Their business will not, as too often predicted with an overabundance of hyperbole, disappear or become in danger of being eclipsed by other more agile, younger versions who take to cloud like ducks take to water.

If you’re not sure about that, consider this employment ad from the most profitable insurance company in 2012, United Health Group – also #22 on the Fortune 500 list – which lists among its requirements “3+ years of COBOL programming.”

Nuff said.