Next-Generation Datacenters Will Support Mobile Users
Data volume is growing exponentially. Smart devices such as smart phones and tablets and social media have made it much easier to capture and share rich content. As a result, unstructured data is exploding. Despite years of IT efforts to manage data in a structured, ideally relational manner, unstructured data remains a basic fact of life in enterprise IT. In addition, so-called “big data” is generated by the increased interaction with consumers via mobile devices, by a surge in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and by enterprises automating their own processes.
Collaborative Nature Of Use Case Models
While data volume is increasing, data processing and sharing are now migrating toward a distributed model comprising servers both inside and outside of enterprise firewalls, spanning private, hybrid, and public clouds. The shift to this model has resulted in inefficiencies. Thus, we need datacenters to collate the data in a central, accessible, secure place.
Privacy And Data Protection
In this complex and networked world with ever increasing data volume, privacy and data protection are significant business imperatives. The collaborative nature of use cases suggests it is impossible to deliver these critical application services at the application layer. Instead, they must be built into the underlying infrastructure design.
Traditional datacenters are plagued by infrastructure sprawl, complexity, low asset utilization, and high operations overhead. They are difficult to manage, scale, optimize, and reconfigure. And it is too expensive to build new datacenters to allow them to grow obsolete. Features that will ensure a more agile, efficient, and resilient datacenter for the future include:
- Modular design for ease of expansion
- Flexibility to incorporate new technologies and to use diverse sources of power
- Resource optimization and sharing across applications
- Integrated operations to make the IT environment proactive and predictive
- Remote management of the computing and storage environment
Key Traits Of Next-Generation Datacenters
Next-generation datacenters will be hybrid in nature, integrating physical and cloud infrastructures to be more adaptive to varying degrees of workload to create a more elastic and scalable computing infrastructure that will reduce hardware, power, and space costs. Cloud computing will enable outsourcing and lower costs.
The challenge is the complexity of shared use. Many Web applications are now spread across multiple facilities or regions. The probability of failure in full systems has therefore become more important than specific application instance uptime. Addressing the shift requires a focus on application resiliency, rather than performance of specific application instances.
Modern security threats to the datacenter are targeted and persistent attacks launched by organizations with dangerous agendas. To combat such attacks, multiple lines of defense need to be embedded throughout next-generation datacenters.
The use of distributed servers, storage, switches, and routers will require secure configurations on all logical components. Furthermore, physical operations security must be addressed. Who can get into particular areas of the facility? How is it controlled? Next-generation datacenters will require a new generation of technologies to make them secure. Network security accessed through private cloud computing will also allow scaling without re-architecting the network with a pay-as-you-grow model.
Finally, data security is fundamental in an environment defined by mobile access. Mobile technologies are an integral part of new datacenters. The challenge is to secure the devices and the enterprise data they access. One component of data protection is real-time data replication.
Ideally, a datacenter should provide both “hot” and “cold” disaster recovery from replicated data. “Hot” recovery refers to immediate, automated switching to a redundant data source if one goes down. “Cold” recovery refers to manual switching within 24 hours.
Streamlined, Online IT Management
IT management of a next-generation datacenter presents its own complexities. A single management entity is ideal for unified, embedded management of all software and hardware components of the data center. Such a systems manager should have an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI), a command-line interface (CLI), or an XML application programming interface (API) to carry out datacenter management functions.
Database monitoring should incorporate proactive alerts and, to the extent possible, automated corrective measures. This can facilitate management of commodity hardware, network storage, and encryption while reducing costs for the end user.
Next-generation datacenters should also provide flexible usage models. Thus, the billing mechanism should also be next-generation, incorporating transparency and options for service renewal and reconfiguration. Furthermore, provisioning services, such as service-level agreements and regular status reports, should be delivered through a Web portal. Application-level scaling should be available, as should analyses of usage patterns and notifications of overuse and underuse.
Adherence To Standards
By embracing a variety of standards, new datacenters can further streamline IT and reduce costs. For example, the Standardized Data Center Stack Framework segments operations into seven layers and helps to align facilities and IT by creating a common language and connection between the different layers. ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) can facilitate role- and policy-based management through service profiles. Certifications such as SAS70 (operations standard) and PCI (credit card standard), as well as standards related to auditing, such as HIPAA and SOC2, will enhance flexibility and reliability.
Next-generation datacenters must be highly available and reliable. Environmental issues, such as power and cooling systems, remain a major component of these characteristics. Automated corrective actions can be integrated by providing redundant power systems, redundant cooling, and flexible internal and external network connectivity.
These systems should also have elevated management visibility in case of a failure of automated protocols. Energy efficiency goes a long way toward achieving total datacenter efficiency. Liquid cooling and renewable energy will be imperative in the next-generation datacenter.
A Datacenter For Today And Tomorrow
The explosion in variety and use of mobile technologies in recent years has resulted in vast amounts of both structured and unstructured data. Mining and extracting business value from that data requires next-generation datacenters. Adaptability of the infrastructure is vital to any strategy geared toward variable hardware provisioning, as well as responding flexibly to the storage, networking, and demand for computing power.A datacenter is a huge capital investment. Next-generation datacenters must therefore embrace the ongoing business megatrends of big data, collaboration, and built-in privacy and data protection, all on a flexible architecture, variable to the resource demand on a moment’s notice. Technologies exist today to meet the challenges of these long-term trends. An enterprise must leverage these technologies, such as security scanning, holistically upfront to build a datacenter for the future.
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© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
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