Ultimate Infrastructure

3 Feb

As I stated previously, there are many components that have to efficiently work together in harmony to deliver the services that business has come to rely on so heavily.  These are complex and need to perform exceedingly well or users in search of instant gratification will find other business services are just a click away. To deliver these services large datacenters are built that cost millions of dollars.  These are designed to house the sheet metal and silicone that deliver the services.

I wonder why a number of data centers  are built far from human habitation, in very warm climates such as Arizona.  I understand that cheap power is great, but surely the cooling of these environments consumes more than the powering of the computers contained in them? The ideal environment for computers seems to be similar to that of humans. A temperature range 20-21°C (68-71°F) and relative humidity levels between 45% and 60% are deemed best for safe server operation. These are managed by Building Management Systems and form part of a science called DCIM or data center infrastructure management. Large Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) units must be employed to manage the environments.  That not proving enough, Computer Room Air Conditioners (CRAC) units provide extra and directed point cooling. As such data centers are built for efficiency and security and aesthetics are expensive additions.

Data centers get big, I mean Huge Data Centers:  and all of these require redundant utility and connectivity.  Once those are laid on, security would be great as would some place for any people lucky enough to have to staff the DC to subsist.  However, siting all your precious data eggs in a single basket is likely to prove foolhardy so, that means another DC of similar proportion with the attendant costs.  Expensive!  So how about a DC that looks like a home?

Infrastructure as a service is a potential solution to owning a DC  but there is some data, intellectual property that is so sensitive, so core to a company that it will always have to remain internal, whether as a competitive advantage or as a result of regulation such as HIPAA or PCI. Another, is the control of one’s own destiny, the sense of ownership and comfort that owning and being able to see touch feel the substance.

Because of these reasons, DCIM will continue to be of importance to companies. Large hosting companies will continue to improve cost to profit ratios of their operations by driving efficiency in density power usage and cooling.  The benefits of these efforts is likely to affect the entire industry.

So what does the ultimate DC infrastructure look like?  I think we could see smaller, compact DCs containing high density, efficient servers  housing the core critical services and the “needs to be protected at all costs” data. These will be surrounded by the user access layer, a cloud of Applications As Services hosted either internally or in a public cloud running virtual desktops that can be securely accessed from pretty much anywhere including user owned tablets.  Control of the information is still vested in the enterprise as the users access it via an emulation interface.  Reminds me of the mainframe environment of not so long ago, or maybe it was aeons ago.

What are your thoughts?




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