A few months ago I mentioned James Hamilton’s comments on the micro-server trend. Today I came across a talk he gave at MIX10 in which he presented excellent real-world large-scale data, with insightful analysis, about the cost efficiency of data centers. (Here is a direct MP4 download, suitable for viewing across more platforms.)
I had an intuitive feel for many of his conclusions already, and had numbers to back that up on a small scale (as a customer of cloud services, and provider of SaaS services, and employer of people who operate systems). But I am very pleased whenever an opportunity comes along to replace intuition with data.
I won’t attempt to repeat his ideas here. I will simply recommend that you watch this (and other similar analyses) and get a decent understanding, before purchasing or deploying any in-house, self-hosted, or self-managed servers. The latter still makes sense in some situations, but in 2010 the cloud is the default right answer.
A number of the ideas he presents are iconoclastic; some popular trends, especially in enterprise data centers, turn out to be misguided.