Technology Advances and Strategies

By Adam Wallace Print this article Print

Step one in a data center plan is deciding whether to rebuild or start fresh.

Technology Advances and Strategies

Enterprises that decide to implement a new data center strategy in-house should consider the following technology advances:

Virtualization: Virtualization software lowers power and cooling costs by reducing the number of physical servers by a factor of 5X to 10X. And with CPUs becoming more powerful, even greater workloads can be added onto each server CPU. Virtualization also significantly reduces capital expenditures because fewer servers are needed.

High-Speed Backplanes: Data center bandwidth and throughput performance have improved with higher speed backplanes. Ten gigabit Ethernet is now the standard, and, with blade chassis design, servers can communicate with each other in the same chassis so that data does not have to travel as far.

Virtual Switches: Virtualized switches enable more flexibility because businesses can deploy a server and give access to any network, rather than worrying about whether a particular network is wired to a particular server. Virtualized switches do require additional set-up time, but they simplify switch and server management and allow for quick deployment of subnetworks.

Active Disaster Recovery Data Centers: In the traditional model, a business deploys a disaster recovery data center that stores replicated data and is used only if the primary data center goes down. Today, more businesses use two data centers in tandem to share the computing services load. Both provide data and applications to users, while replicating data back-and-forth to each other. If either data center goes down, the other one can take over with a complete copy of the data to keep the business running while the downed data center is brought back online.

Low-Power Memory and CPUs: Today’s data center hardware uses significantly lower voltage, which means that servers, switches and other hardware components consume significantly less power.

Pod Designs: Previously, businesses had to cool their entire data center. Now, many businesses employ pod designs to reduce power and cooling requirements. The pods contain all the heat on the back side where exhaust fans push it outdoors. The pods then absorb ambient-temperature air through the front to keep hardware at appropriate temperatures.

Blade Technology: Blade technology features higher CPU density within a smaller physical footprint, requiring less rack space and allowing businesses to deploy more CPUs in a smaller area. The combination of blade technology and virtualization allows businesses to reduce server density significantly.

Converged Networking: With converged networking technology, a single piece of hardware can fulfill multiple functions, including high-speed networking, data transfer and storage. This also allows businesses to virtualize network-interface component addresses and server components so networks can be added on the fly.

Adam Wallace is a senior infrastructure consultant for OpenSky, in Tolland, Conn. The firm's services include infrastructure; IT risk management and security; governance, risk and compliance; and technical business consulting.

This article was originally published on 2011-10-03
Adam Wallace is a senior infrastructure consultant for OpenSky, in Tolland, Conn. The firm's services include infrastructure, IT risk management and security, governance, risk and compliance, and technical business consulting.
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