Rami Radi, Software Application Engineer of Intel Data Center Management Solutions, explores how data center management tools and industry innovation can go hand-in-hand.
Thanksgiving arrives in the States uncommonly late this year, November 28. But what’s not uncommon are the scenes that will play out in homes, towns and cities all across America, and the virtually invisible thread that will connect nearly every person, place and scenario around the holiday. It will go something like this …
Geographically dispersed friends and relatives will trek from the airport to the host family’s house in an Uber or Lyft. Back home, an especially ambitious culinarian will Google the recipe for scalloped sweet potatoes with bacon, gruyere and pomegranate, the results of which will polarize loved ones more than the question of red or blue until next November.
Someone setting the table will say, “Hey Alexa, play Post Malone,” only to be overruled by an older sibling who will command, “Play Maroon 5!” Post dinner, one group will cluster around a smart TV live streaming college football, while another gathers around a tablet playing someone’s favorite episode of “Fleabag.” Meanwhile, one health conscious soul, in order to stave off food coma, will bravely leave the dinner table to compete in the Tour de France, and by virtue of an internet-connected racing cycle, never leave the family room.
What each of these Thanksgiving Day scenes have in common is data — and lots of it — from the mobile rideshare app to that virtual bike ride and everything in between that will be captured on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The exponential growth in data required and consumed by today’s technology-dependent services is the major force causing data centers to grow in terms of processing and storage. According to the sixth edition of DOMO’s aptly titled “Data Never Sleeps” report, more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day, and by 2020, it’s estimated that 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every person on our planet.
Given such trends, the challenge for CIOs, CTOs and IT administrators is to align their data center strategies with increasing IT service delivery demands, not just for today, but well into the future. In practice, both IT and facilities professionals play a role in IT service delivery, the quality of which, of course, is measured in a service-level agreement (SLA).A core component of any SLA is the guarantee of a service’s performance, availability and uptime. And here the difference between four (99.99%)and five nines (99.999%) uptime is no casual matter, not when one out of three enterprises puts the cost of one hour of downtime at $1 million or more, according to an Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC) study.
Keeping Black Friday in the Black
Faced with an ever-expanding universe of data and the financial stakes in play, data center processing and storage growth needs to be controlled and intelligent; we can’t just keep throwing more space, power and hardware at the problem. On the short-term, data center management solutions can help with optimizing space and improving utilization and thermal efficiency.
Providing a 360-degree, holistic view of a facility’s performance, these software and technology products integrate IT and building functions to ensure that energy, equipment and floor space are used as efficiently as possible. Meanwhile, increased levels of automated control enable data center managers to receive timely information to manage capacity planning and allocations, as well as cooling efficiency. The real-time insights these software platforms provide into power and thermal management can have a direct and positive impact on an organization’s bottom line, particularly in large data centers where electrical energy billing comprises a large measure of the cost of operation.
Data center management solutions can also be leveraged to project and forecast peaks in server capacity and usage, thus minimizing unexpected downtime. Yes, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which this year follows only three days later, represent great opportunities to get the best shopping deals. However, for enterprises in retail, financial services and shipping, data center infrastructure needs to function flawlessly and scale seamlessly, since poor performance or an outage — even for a minute — can cost these types of companies dearly.
Faced with an ever-expanding universe of data and the financial stakes in play, data center processing and storage growth needs to be controlled and intelligent; we can’t just keep throwing more space, power and hardware at the problem.
Timed deals and surges in demand place massive loads on servers, and an online flash sale matters little if downtime prevents your target market from reaching checkout.In these instances, data center management solutions, which provide ongoing monitoring, analytics, diagnostics and remediation, can used in a proactive health management approach to identify issues before they can lead to system failures.
While data center management solutions have proven effective in providing an environment where data can be optimally processed and stored in a secure and scalable manner in the short-term, in order to solve the capacity demands of the future, data center and technology leaders will need to come together to create and adhere to new standards, such as Redfish and Swordfish. Moreover, initiatives like the Open Compute Project (OCP), a collaborative community focused on redesigning hardware technology to efficiently support the growing demands on compute infrastructure, are also worthy of our attention and investment. So too are new innovations such as software-defined silicon architecture, which makes it possible to build efficient multicore chips scaling to hundreds of processors.
Of course, no one product, service or entity can provide the magic bullet necessary to solving the data center capacity challenges of tomorrow. However, it is incumbent upon the entire data center and technology ecosystem to join forces, bringing to the table solutions that will not only accommodate the data surges surrounding our holidays, but also energy-efficient infrastructure that will serve us for generations to come.
Rami Radi is a Software Application Engineer for Intel Data Center Management Solutions.