a16z Podcast | The Consumerization of IT | Summary and Q&A

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January 2, 2019
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a16z Podcast | The Consumerization of IT

TL;DR

The consumerization of IT refers to the idea that mobile device components will replace PC architectures in the data center, requiring sophisticated software to aggregate capabilities.

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Key Insights

  • 😎 The consumerization of IT is driven by the power and cooling challenges in data centers, with ARM processors and commodity flash expected to replace traditional PC architectures.
  • 🤗 Open-source technologies, such as Linux and Docker, are having a significant impact on the data center, enabling greater flexibility and resource utilization.
  • 👾 Startups have an advantage in the data center space, as incumbents often struggle to adapt to new technologies and business models due to the innovator's dilemma.
  • 👤 User experience and design will become crucial in the data center, as consumers expect the same level of sophistication in user interfaces as they have on their mobile devices.

Transcript

hello I'm Peter Levine here at Andreessen Horowitz and I'm with your Nova who is the CEO of max 'te and with Flo Lee bird who's the CEO of Mesa sphere great to have you guys thanks for thanks for joining it's a pleasure yeah thank you so I wanted to spend a little bit of time talking about the the consumerization of IT and by consumerization I don'... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How do mobile hardware components replace PC architectures in the data center?

The consumerization of IT involves using the innovations in mobile hardware to replace traditional PC architectures, similar to how the PC revolution replaced mainframes. This shift requires sophisticated software to aggregate capabilities and enable enterprise-class capabilities on commodity hardware.

Q: What challenges arise from using commodity hardware in the data center?

Using commodity hardware in data centers can lead to more failures, requiring software to handle these failures. However, it also allows for plug-and-play data centers, where components can be easily added or removed from the hardware pool.

Q: Will ARM chips and commodity flash become the basis of the data center?

While ARM processors may not currently be as powerful as x86 processors, they offer better power and cooling capabilities, making them suitable for data center use. Similarly, commodity flash storage may still lack reliability compared to traditional disk drives, but software can bridge this gap.

Q: How will the data center evolve, and what role will private and public clouds play?

The data center will likely evolve towards a hybrid model, with some applications and use cases in private clouds and others in public clouds. However, the data center, regardless of its deployment model, will follow the trend of using commoditized hardware and relying on software to provide performance and reliability.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The consumerization of IT involves using mobile hardware components as the basis for the future data center, replacing traditional PC architectures.

  • Commodity off-the-shelf components are already being used in data centers by companies like Google and Facebook, leading to the need for software to handle failures and enable plug-and-play data centers.

  • The trend towards consumer hardware in the data center is driven by power and cooling challenges, with ARM processors and flash storage expected to replace traditional PC hardware.

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