New era of computing revolves around cloud, social media and mobile computing. The explosive growth of data generated by these trends has increased the need for storage. This has forced many enterprises to increase their data center budget and devise new strategies to optimize data center utilization.
Most of the innovation in data centers focuses on trends like virtualization. Server virtualization is becoming priority in IT. According to Data Center and Readers Choice 2013, over 78 percent of the companies plan to expand server virtualization deployments. VMware’s ESXi and Microsoft’s Hyper-V (2.0) R2 are leading virtualization products.
The convenience and cost benefits brought by cloud have encouraged businesses to turn to cloud for data center needs.
Says Sreehari S, managing director, India Development Center, Novell, “Organizations have been relying on multiple cloud providers to meet their business needs. Emphasis on green computing and adherence to environmental compliance as per the local government regulations forced many to move to a virtualized data center.”
Enterprises that demand secure data center solutions turn to private cloud. Public cloud is highly cost-effective, so SMBs find it more economical. Hybrid cloud is gaining popularity as it provides flexibility to enterprises that want to opt for secure and cost-effective data center solution.
Software Defined Networking
Software defined networking (SDN) is the latest trend in data center, offering the promise of a virtual network infrastructure that can be provisioned as easily as setting up a new virtual server. SDN can address the common challenges associated with modern data center networks. It has simplified the process of provisioning network infrastructure in enterprises.
SDN may also pave the way for enterprises to adopt hybrid clouds, providing management and security while organizations mix on-premise data centers with third-party providers and partner networks.
The popularity of OpenFlow standard has indeed given a boost to data center innovation based on SDN. Many vendors have offered support and promised future products using OpenFlow. One of them, CohesiveFT, is using SDN in its VNS3 product to tackle a challenge that enterprises face when migrating to the cloud. Vyatta, which sells virtual firewalls, is another vendor using OpenFlow protocol. However, most organizations are still far behind in adopting SDN. A recent Information Week survey of IT professionals shows that about 70 percent of respondents won’t begin testing SDN for at least a year.
Reducing environmental impact
Energy efficiency and environmental aspects have dominated enterprise data center strategies. Innovations in data centers focus on ways to supplement or replace traditional mechanical cooling with alternative methods that are enabled by better containment and less equipment. Modern data centers are designed to operate even at higher temperatures. Cooling approaches such as chilled water heat exchangers, evaporative cooling and free air cooling are becoming commonplace.
Server consolidation is another trend dominating the enterprise IT. They are upgrading servers and systems for data center consolidation which in turn improves efficiency and extends the life of the facility. Integrated infrastructures like Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) are also gaining prominence in server consolidation.
Innovation in server technologies has improved efficiency in data centers. For example, an older server using Intel dual-core Xeon 7130M will dissipate 150 W, but a server using a Xeon L7455 six-core processor will dissipate only up to 65 W. Newer servers improve cooling efficiency through innovations such as variable speed fans and superior power saving modes that reduce energy use and heating even further. They may also provide greater memory allowing a virtualized server to provide much higher levels of consolidation than earlier servers.