1. The Internet of Things has been a hot topic recently, but no one has yet fully explained how it will work in practice or what support it will need. Surely introducing billions of networked nodes will require innovations in server and communications design.

    Besides being low-cost and low-power, the servers handling IoT must also be able to derive value from the data quickly and efficiently. Otherwise, costs will skyrocket and will overwhelm all possible benefits.

    A key question here is to how to produce a smart combination of device-to-device and device-to-cloud communications. If every message must transit the cloud, costs will rise quickly. Furthermore, local processing is essential to avoid having to transmit and store huge amounts of raw data. There is no sense ending up with enormous data banks stored in a form no one can readily use. The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) is leading the way to create interoperable frameworks that support the required configurations, as well as providing open-source implementations.

    If designed correctly, the IoT can lead to many important applications including health care through the use of personal health devices. Other key areas are smart cities and smart homes. Of course, inventors around the world will undoubtedly create uses we cannot currently even imagine.

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  3. What do the processor makers have in store for servers over the next few years? We’ll hear from several of them as to what we can expect. Their roadmaps will provide guidelines as to what must happen in the rest of the server systems to maximize performance, minimize energy consumption, and support current initiatives such as clouds, big data, software-defined networking, and the software-defined data center. Processor advances will also govern general design schedules and performance estimates and analyses.

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  4. Today's leading enterprises and cloud operators need to significantly increase data center agility to be more responsive to dynamic business requirements. A software defined data center (SDDC) enables businesses to deliver applications faster with the adaptability and security needed to compete in today’s environment. This environment must be programmable, automated and optimized for virtualized environments. Cloud data centers with integrated management of compute, storage and networking can simplify IT and accelerate time to value.

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