Overview: Future-proofing the corporate data centre

This article was originally published on Technology.Info.
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How can data centres be organised and run to support new and emerging business needs, without proving a drain on time, skills and energy resources?

In the last decade, virtualisation technologies have totally transformed the way that servers in data centres are organised and managed. According to figures from IT market research company IDC, more than half of all applications now run on virtual machines - but the trend won’t be stopping there. New ways are needed if organisations are to future-proof the corporate data centre.

Is the Software Defined Data Centre the next step?

According to executives at VMware, EMC, IBM and many, many other IT suppliers, the ‘software-defined data centre’ (SDDC) is the next step along this path. Getting there will involve IT professionals taking the same virtualisation principles that they applied to their servers - abstraction, pooling and automation - and applying them to other layers of IT infrastructure: above all, the storage, security and networking layers.
The SDDC, say its proponents, could be the data centre team’s next big chance to introduce new efficiencies, get more from IT infrastructure and boost productivity. It will, according to Joe Tucci, CEO of EMC “change everything.”

Chapter Overview - Future-proofing the corporate data centre

But does everything need to change? In this Technology.info chapter, we will look at the development of the SDDC, certainly, but also at other ways the modern data centre is changing to face the challenges of the future. There’s a look, for example, at the way that energy efficiency is measured in data centres , for example: could a recently proposed measure, the DCEM Global KPI, pose a threat to the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating’s supremacy in this area? We also see how aircraft manufacturer Airbus is taking a more ‘modular’ approach to architecture in the area of high-performance computing (HPC) , and, in the process, giving its engineers easier, more efficient access to the processing power they need to build the next generation of aircraft. And we hear about the demands that the Internet of Things (IoT) is likely to place on data centre infrastructure from analysts at IT market research company Gartner.
One thing is clear: tomorrow’s data centre won’t look very much like today’s - and that could be extremely welcome to those fighting on the frontlines of systems management. After all, it’s no secret that, where IT infrastructure is still deployed along older, more ‘siloed’ lines, IT staff struggle to re-organise infrastructure resources to meet the needs of new services and applications.

Data centres going green and clean

And the march towards greener, more energy-efficient IT looks set to continue in the face of rising energy costs and the search for cleaner sources of power. Big technology companies - Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and the like - are increasingly investing in renewable energy forms, in a bid to make their data centres more self-sustaining.
But while these moves garner plenty of attention, energy efficiency is a big concern for much smaller consumers of data-centre power, too: in a recent survey of 400 data centre managers, respondents named reducing energy consumption as their number one priority. There is still much work to do here, if IT professionals are to future-proof both the data centre and the environment.
Read on to find out about a new energy-efficiency measure that aims to oust PUE ratings as the de facto standard for data centre power consumption.

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