data center

The Information Management Crisis: Are You Ready?

Gartner predicts that one third of Fortune 100 companies will be facing an information management crisis by 2017 due to the large amounts of unmanaged data that has been acquired. Within the walls of these large corporations, data has been gathered and stored with minimal security and data management processes, as well as the technology and hardware to support it.

artSilense/Bigstock

artSilense/Bigstock

Corporations need to begin managing the data and what they are doing with it instead of just maintaining it. An Enterprise Information Management (EIM) discipline needs to be built and managed in order for the big data gathering to continue. The power a well-managed, information-sharing system can provide is endless.

Hype or Ripe:  Going forward, will these large organizations be able to continue gather and store the data at the rate, or be able to trust the data quality?

Help! I’m outgrowing my data center!

Guest author: Paul Miller, Senior Solution Architect, Data Centers

Managing the day-to-day operations of an on-site data center is a lot of work, but when there is an issue, it can be daunting. While there is no “quick fix,” there are a few options when an organization begins to run out of space, power or cooling:

Optimization

If space isn’t the issue, optimizing your existing facility can be the answer to increasing space and cooling power. Improving the efficiency of the physical location using air economizers, humidifiers and high-efficiency transformers, and reducing the workload of the server are huge steps in conservation.

Arjuna Kodisinghe/Shutterstock.com

Arjuna Kodisinghe/Shutterstock.com

Relocation

Moving is, by no means, a quick or easy solution, but if you’ve outgrown your current physical space, there are very few additional options. Whether your organization decides to select an entirely new site or expand the current location, assessing current needs and future expectations can help you avoid this issue from recurring.

Outsourcing

When optimization or relocation are neither the right options for your organization, outsourcing may be the answer. There are two types of outsourcing for data centers: co-location and cloud computing. Outsourcing can be a great option for receiving high quality service while saving money and resources.

Has your company started to outgrow its data center? If so, do you plan to optimize, relocate or outsource?

4 key considerations for the ideal data center

Guest author: Paul Miller, Senior Solution Architect, Data Centers

The days of many current data centers are numbered. Companies are packing more technology into tighter spaces, growing demands aren’t being met and infrastructure requirements are taking a toll on budgets. A high percentage of data centers are reaching the end of their lifecycle.

Shutterstock/nmedia

Shutterstock/nmedia

The following are four keys to designing and building a high-performance data center:

Location
Expanding data centers are moving to larger spaces with reduced energy costs and high-transport fiber-optic networks.  Where should your company be headed? To determine the best location, assess traditional IT spaces, redeploy those IT spaces as needed, and consider alternative options like data center as-a-service in the cloud. A geographically dispersed U.S. footprint with good access to low latency fiber networks through diverse carriers is key.

Conservation
Data centers are one of the largest consumers of energy in the world.  Cooling alone, for example, makes up nearly half of the total energy spend in the data center, so the amount of energy used in the data center is fast becoming one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to IT and planning an organization’s IT future. Beyond first steps like aisle containment, good conservation includes reviewing legacy cooling systems for potential updates to high-efficiency modern systems that can adapt to changing compute loads and provide free cooling capabilities to bring the PUE down.

Automation
Simplifying maintenance in the data center is also growing in importance – whether that simplification is achieved by outsourcing or an on-location solution. It is also becoming increasingly important for data centers to be lights-out, which requires automation through the use of web-based tools that can control and operate the data center. Investing in Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software is the key to building a proper online Configuration Management Database (CMDB) capable of interacting with IT Service Management (ITSM) and operation platforms.

Communication
Assessing a company’s data center means examining its present location, level of automation, and energy consumption. It’s equally important to bridge any communication gaps that exist between the team responsible for the physical data center and the IT team responsible for the technology inside.  Once conversations are underway, it’s often a good idea to involve key decision makers as well, so everyone is on the same page about the company’s IT future from the start. Integrating functions between facilities and IT can better align the business and manage operating costs.

Hype or ripe: Are data centers headed for significant change?

Will increasing storage density cause cloud growth to slow down?

Guest author: Bob Hankins

What’s growing faster: Demand for cloud storage capacity, or storage density? Last year, market research firm IHS iSuppli estimated that cloud densities are growing at about 20% annually, much less than the demand for overall capacity, which Gartner estimated is growing at a rate of 40-60% every year. This raises the question: Have we reached the point where density can keep up with capacity, or will the continued growth of cloud demands still result in the need for more capacity?

Oleksiy Mark/Shutterstock.com

Oleksiy Mark/Shutterstock.com

TwinStrata recently surveyed 148 attendees at the Cloud Computing Expo in New York. They found that 60% of those they interviewed agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “It seems like we are always running out of storage.” More of them have also made a long-term investment in cloud, with 37% saying they had been using the cloud for 3 or more years, up from 27% last year. However, it appears that demand for cloud may be leveling off, with the report stating, “more people have actually deployed cloud services than plan to deploy them.”

Only time will tell if we have in fact reached this tipping point, but for now, what’s your strategy? Is the increase in storage density going to slow the need for expanding storage, or is this just hype, and capacities will continue to increase?

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Will increasing storage density slow demand for storage capacity?



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Data centers and energy efficiency: Can they go together?

Guest author:  Bob Mobach, Practice Director, Data Centers

Some recent studies estimate that data storage activities consume up to 5 percent of the world’s energy, on par with the total used by the airline industry. As big data continues to grow, how can we make our data storage more efficient and meet our data needs at the same time?

A recent Logicalis data center design.

A recent Logicalis data center design.

To answer this challenge, we’ve put together some tips that might help.

  • Insulate. Consider passive heat rejection cabinets, which can be installed with chimneys and rear cabinet enclosures that allow the temperature in the room to be raised safely to between 73 and 75 degrees.
  • Heat exchange. If the air outside the data center is cooler than the air inside, why not use it to cool things down? Our data centers use outside air as part of a heat exchange process, where instead of cycling this outside air into the data center, we use it to release heat and maintain better pollution and RH control inside the data center hall. These types of systems can be retrofitted to older data centers as well as built into new centers.
  • Change the voltage. The higher the voltage in the data center, the more electrically efficient the data center will be.  Since power already enters the building at a higher voltage, running on 415 volts means less power conversion is needed.  And, data centers that run on 415-volt power require smaller power cables, which means less copper, less cable and smaller cable trays.
  • Consider efficient technology. As a result of new EPA standards, compute systems will soon start to consume less energy. Newer, more efficient UPS technologies are also coming into common use.
  • Go LED. LED lighting is both brighter and cooler, ensuring that the data storage equipment is the only significant heat generator inside the room.
  • Go modular. Modular data center design can be pre-manufactured resulting in less waste, more predictable growth and better efficiency through compartmentalization.

This is just a preview of our full list of strategies to reduce energy consumption in the data center. Take a look at a case study detailing our ENERGY STAR certified project for BendBroadband Vault.

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Will energy usage by data centers continue to grow?



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With these recent advances in data center energy efficiency, we want to know: Do you think energy usage by data centers will continue to grow, making this issue ripe, or is this just hype, and we will soon see significant energy reductions in data center design?

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