Data Center Solutions: Radical Shift toward Design-Driven Innovation


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Enterprises are turning to the cloud to accelerate business innovation, improve business agility, and contain costs.

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Data Center Solutions: Radical Shift toward Design-Driven Innovation

  1. 1. Data Center Solutions: Radical Shift toward Design-Driven InnovationFriday, 14 September 2012Enterprises are turning to the cloud to accelerate business innovation, improve businessagility, and contain costs.Leveraging data in innovative ways presents unparalleled opportunities to understand andrespond to the needs of a rapidly moving and changing market. As an increasing volume ofdata from an ever-growing number of sources is pouring into data centers, it is no longerefficient for data warehouses to manage single, homogeneous workloads. Business analystsneed access to a wide variety of data, in real time, for diverse uses such as standard andspecialized reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP), advanced analytics such as datamining and data marts, and staging for detailed or real-time data sources. The strategicrequirement for real-time data warehousing also adds online transaction processing (OLTP)workloads to the mix, furthering the strain on existing infrastructures.Cisco, Dell, Delta, Eaton, Emerson, EMC, Extreme Networks, HCL Infosystems, HP, IBM,Microsoft, R&M, Rittal, Schneider Electric, TE Connectivity, and Wipro Infotech are a fewdata center solution providers in India. The major data center service providers areReliance Communications, Tata Communications, Sify Technologies, Netmagic Solutions,Airtel Business, Tulip Telecom, CtrlS, TriMAX, and SIS.Business and Technology Drivers for New Data Center ArchitecturesWith so much data being used in so many ways, the IT infrastructure has to accommodatethe constantly fluctuating demands on processing and storage. Traditional distributedapproaches to infrastructure and architecture lack flexibility required to maintainprocessing speed and scalability. As a result, IT organizations end up spending precioustime, building up resources, and reallocating excess capacity to support shiftingworkloads.Data center consolidation. With mission-critical applications and services deployed toprovide the foundation for day-to-day operations and delivery of end-customer services,the data center needs to deliver exceptional availability and meet stringent service-levelagreements. Exploiting server virtualization and low-cost computing power, customers aredeploying more and more sophisticated applications on a larger scale. To reduce the sheercomplexity and improve operations of these deployments, customers are seeking toconsolidate fragmented, dispersed facilities into fewer, centralized locations. These newmega data centers are fundamentally challenging how networks must be built. Networksmust be designed to deliver much higher levels of performance, scalability, andavailability than previously expected in order to meet service-level agreements (SLAs) andmaintain continuity of operations. Beyond sheer performance, these data center networksmust quickly recover from hardware- or software-related faults and protect against server,storage, network, and application vulnerabilities to help ensure continued performanceand minimized service disruptions.Increasingly powerful and scalable compute. The adoption of increasingly powerfulmulticore processor servers, higher-bandwidth interfaces, and blade servers isdramatically increasing the scale of data center deployments. Now, thousands of virtualmachines can be deployed in a single data center to consolidate infrastructure andstreamline operations. These large-scale solutions are dramatically increasing network
  2. 2. performance requirements at the server edge and across the extended network. Likewise,virtualization and vMotion/Live Migration tools for moving virtual servers are introducinghigh-volume machine-to-machine traffic flows and impacting existing administrativepractices, creating a new virtual edge that blurs the traditional boundaries betweennetwork and server administration.New application deployment and delivery models. Traditional client-server software andinfrastructure deployment models are being displaced by new application architecturesand service-delivery models that are reshaping the data center. Web 2.0 mashups, SOAsolutions, and other federated applications are being widely deployed to deliverintegrated, content-correlated, context-specific information and services to end-userswithin the enterprise and beyond. These deployments drive new, bandwidth-intensivetraffic flows within the data center and demand low-latency, high-performance server-to-server and intra-server, virtual machine-to-virtual machine connections. At the same time,cloud computing and XaaS initiatives are introducing more stringent service-level securitydemands and driving requirements for a more agile and dynamic infrastructure.Current Legacy Data Center Design ChallengesTodays data center networks were designed to support conventional siloed ITarchitectures in which servers are dedicated to specific functions or organizations and thevast majority of traffic flows in and out of the data center. Most data center networks arebased on hierarchical designs comprised of an access tier, an aggregation tier, and a coretier.The access tier is made up of Ethernet switches connecting rack servers and IP-basedstorage devices (typically 10/100 Mbps or 1GbE connections). The access switches areconnected via Ethernet to a set of aggregation switches (typically 1/10GbE connections),which in turn are connected to a layer of core switches or routers that forward traffic toan intranet, the Internet, and between aggregation switches. Layer 2 VLANs are typicallyimplemented across the access tier and aggregation tier, and Layer 3 routing isimplemented in the core.Bandwidth is typically over-provisioned in the access tier and, to a lesser extent, in theaggregation tier. The server and the networking infrastructure are typically administeredindependently, by separate teams using distinct toolsets. Each server is dedicated to aspecific function (e.g., Web server, application server, database server) and can bereasonably well protected using conventional security solutions such as intrusionprevention systems. Hierarchical networks are not well suited for server-to-servercommunications. Server-to-server traffic must traverse multiple layers of switches.Contemporary data center networks designed to support simply siloed IT architectures cannot meet the performance, security, availability, and agility requirements of the cloud.Public cloud service providers and enterprises deploying private clouds must implementsimpler and more efficient networks that support the bandwidth-intensive, delay-sensitiveserver-to-server traffic flows and stringent SLA and security demands that accompanycloud computing. They must also adopt new management systems and practices toorchestrate on-demand services and administer and isolate virtual resources.Low-latency server-to-server connections; greater performance and resiliency; higherbandwidth at the server edge; reliable application delivery across public or private cloud;high availability, business continuity, and disaster recover; unified management, andvirtualization-aware security are the few requirements of the cloud-optimized data center
  3. 3. network.Low-latency server-to-server connections. The three-tier hierarchical networks are notwell suited for high-volume server-to-server communications. Inter-server traffic is forcedto traverse multiple layers of switches, and each switch adds latency to the connection.Enterprises and service providers need to implement flat, low-latency data centernetworks to accommodate the delay-sensitive, volume-intensive server-to-server trafficflows that accompany cloud computing models.Greater performance and resiliency. Hierarchical data center networks typically rely onsome variant of the spanning tree protocol (STP) for resiliency. STP is designed to allowonly one active path from one switch to another, regardless of how many actualconnections might exist in the network. If the active path fails, the protocol automaticallyselects a backup path. STP can take several seconds to recover from link failures and is notwell suited for delay-sensitive applications. Cloud computing requires more efficient andresilient network designs that make full use of networking resources (no idle backup paths)and recover from failures in milliseconds to meet stringent resiliency requirements.Higher bandwidth at the server edge. Blade servers and server virtualization pack moreand more computational power into smaller and smaller form factors like - increasingbandwidth demands at the server edge, driving requirements for new switching solutionsthat offer better performance, and greater port densities.Reliable application delivery across public or private cloud. Organizations responsible forprivate cloud services must deliver predictable and reliable network services to supportmission-critical business applications and address the objectives of internal service-levelcommitments.High availability, business continuity/disaster recovery. With hundreds or even thousandsof virtualized applications now in play across multiple, consolidated data centers, networkresiliency and high availability take on a new, heightened level of importance. Networkplatforms and designs need to recover quickly from hardware and software faults tomaintain service and business continuity. Enabling distributed workloads and replicatingdata and applications across multiple, geographically dispersed data centers are achallenge.Converged network infrastructure. With the proliferation of virtualization and theescalating demand for communication and storage performance, I/O sprawl has IT at thebreaking point. The traditional model of completely parallel, autonomous data and storagenetworks with dedicated interface cards, switches, and cabling plants can be costly andinefficient. Enterprises are looking to consolidate server and storage connectivity toreduce equipment and operating expenses; eliminate clutter and complexity; and makeefficient use of shared networking resources while ensuring continuity of service.Unified management. Server virtualization creates a new virtual edge that blurs thetraditional boundaries between network and server administration and introduces a varietyof operational challenges. New tools are required for efficiently administering virtualswitches, servers, and connections; for orchestrating on-demand applications and services;and for ensuring SLAs and enforcing service policies as VMs migrate across the data center.Virtualization-aware security. The virtual edge is beyond the scope of existing securitysystems and practices. In contemporary data centers, distinct workloads and tenants aredeployed on discrete physical servers. Workload-to-workload communications always occurover physical connections and can be secured using conventional intrusion prevention
  4. 4. tools. With server virtualization, workloads can communicate over virtual connectionswithin the same server in a manner transparent to existing network-based intrusionprevention systems. New virtualization-aware security solutions to police intra-servercommunications flows, protect virtual resources, and partition multitenant environmentsmust be considered.I/O Consolidation and Network ConvergenceWith the proliferation of virtualization and the escalating demand for communication andstorage performance, I/O sprawl has IT at the breaking point. The traditional model ofcompletely parallel, autonomous data and storage networks with dedicated interfacecards, switches, and cabling plants can be costly and inefficient. Enterprises are looking toconsolidate server and storage connectivity to reduce equipment and operating expenses,decrease clutter and complexity, and make more efficient use of shared networkingresources while ensuring continuity of service.In addition to having the potential to reduce complexity at the network edge, FCoE alsopromises to reduce equipment costs beyond the access layer by enabling convergence inthe extended network. However, given the critical nature of storage networking and itscentral importance to the integrity of the end-to-end data center architecture, customersshould carefully evaluate the implications of these solutions when considering moreextensive FCoE deployments.Enterprises are turning to the cloud to accelerate business innovation, improve businessagility, and contain costs. Cloud computing reshapes the way applications are deployedand consumed, and influences data center network designs. Radical shifts in thinking ondata center design and sourcing are under way, in part spawned by cloud providers at theextreme end of data center design and scale. Fundamentally, new data center designs areall focused on energy efficiency across power, space, resource utilization, cooling, andcapital expenditures.EXPERTS SPEAKIntelligent Data Centers With the need for IT services permeating itself into all sectors ofthe economy, remote and continuous access to real-time information is the key to drivingcritical businesses. The cloud has brought about business changes with an unprecedented
  5. 5. need to rapidly and reliably scale up capacity. Uncertainty has been intricately weavedinto the high growth nature of the business; hence, the need for flexible data centerinfrastructure that guarantees almost cent-percent uptime. A case in point is theproliferation of e-commerce websites, which is strongly linked to the performance of theback-end IT infrastructure for their success.As the business requirements of the users shift and expand workloads within the datacenter, they need the ability to move critical resources such as power or computing tomatch server demand rapidly. Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) is probablythe most critical element of the strategy to cope with the rate of change and thecomplexities that come with it, as well as to minimize power usage effectiveness (PUE)and reduce the operational cost. Integrated DCIM tools provide managers real-time insightsinto their IT and facility infrastructure, as well as monitor and control every piece ofcritical infrastructure in the data center with respect to critical resources. That level ofinsight gives businesses the extra bang for every watt of power consumed in the datacenter.Dynamic DCIM can optimize all the three layers - infrastructure, physical, and IT in thedata center. This ensures real-time monitoring on capacity, usage, asset, inventory,configuration, and energy thereby resulting in less power waste, low rates of down-timeand longevity of the infrastructure. At the same time, periodic assessment of the currentinfrastructure with respect to industry standards and best practices is very important.Deploying smarter technologies such as scalable and capacity modular coolinginfrastructure or intelligent power solutions that can talk to other pieces of the physicalinfrastructure are also crucial steps in building data centers of tomorrow.Current business trends point toward more customers opting for design, build, and turnkeyapproach with SLA commitments. Predictive monitoring tools are going to become thenorm in every data center. There is also a healthy adoption of modular intelligent andintegrated infrastructure. Vendors are demanded to commit PUEs at different capacitieswhile designing and building the data centers. Customers are building data centers tomeet global tier standards so as to ensure committed uptime and availability ofinfrastructure.While achieving a low PUE is going to be the ultimate aim of tomorrows data centers, PUEdoes not capture how reliable the data center is or how long the servers will last. With thewrong site selection, lack of full proof design, implementation, and adoption of bestpractices, efficiency measures such as PUEs are nothing more than technical jargonsdesigned to encourage clients into green facilities based on economic sense.EXPERTS SPEAKRising Domestic Requirements - The Primary Growth Factor
  6. 6. Running data centers for any enterprise involve processes, propertechnologies, and a dedicated team to look after it; thus, it becomes difficult to managecost for companies that are managing it in-house. According to an IDC report in 2011, thirdparty data center services are expected to reach USD 671 million by the end of 2012,which is growing annually by 37 percent. In 2009, third party data center space stood at 2million sq. ft. and was estimated to grow at a CAGR of over 30 percent to reach around 9million sq. ft. by 2014. Looking at the current trend, a lot of enterprises are expected tomove toward data center outsourcing to optimize cost. Realizing the huge marketpotential, the company embarked on a mega-project to redefine the data center industryin India by making Tulip Data City. Furthermore, the enormous scale of the facility makesit the most sought-after solution for virtualization and consolidation needs for majority ofcorporate houses in India, given in a scenario when less than five percent of data centersin the country are present in a professional data center environment.On partnership and alliancesThe formation of strategic alliances or partnership by data center providers has been seenas a response to globalization and increasing uncertainty and complexity in the businessenvironment so that each benefits from the strengths of the other and gains competitiveadvantages. Enterprises that enter into a strategic alliance usually expect to benefit inone or more ways. Some of the benefits that enterprises could achieve include achievingsynergy, sharing the financial risk, gaining capabilities, ease of operations, and the agileinfrastructure.On emerging trendsIn the current scenario, data center growth is primarily driven by increasing domesticrequirements from sectors such as financial institutions, telecom operators,manufacturing, and services. Companies are also investing in additional data centers toenhance or meet disaster recovery and business continuity requirements. The key growthdriver for the data center market is the ongoing investment in large captive data centerscoupled with the capacity growth witnessed within the data center service provider space.It has been observed that there has been a significant need for increased data centerefficiency, cost containment, adoption of cloud computing, and SaaS. These factors arechanging the landscape of data centers, IT organizations and their budgeting, andinfrastructure, thus creating enormous opportunities for both cloud infrastructure andSaaS vendors. The benefits of virtualization include better utilization of server hardware,reduced floor space requirements, lower power and cooling costs, and improved
  7. 7. productivity of data center personnel.EXPERTS SPEAKDigital Content to Increase by 50 Percent in 2012 The pace of business is accelerating rapidly. Globalization andknowledge-based economies are forcing companies to embrace new business models andemerging technologies to stay competitive. As per a recent data center study by IBM,2.7ZB of the digital content will exist in 2012, a 50 percent increase from 2011. Clearly,data is continuing to grow putting pressure on infrastructures and demands on theorganization to turn this data into insights.Most IT infrastructures were not built to support explosive growth in computing capacityand information that are seen today. A large number of data centers have become highlydistributed and somewhat fragmented. As a result, they are limited in their ability tochange quickly and support the integration of new types of technologies or to easily scaleto power the business as needed.With the increased demand for IT, more than 50 percent of mid-size and large-sizecompanies are looking to expand their data center capacity in the next 12-24 months.Optimizing the IT infrastructure is the key to re-architecture data centers in most of theenterprises. Building or upgrading a new data center provides an opportunity to rationalizethe data center strategy perfectly as a way to gain major capital and operational savings,including energy-efficiency savings. Organizations have realized that they can lower thetotal data center cost by 30 percent with better data center designs. This has led toenterprises looking at re-designing their data centers.On emerging trendsWhile data centers across enterprises have seen increased server deployment, its computeutilization performance is still below 15 percent average but requires the same amount ofpower and cooling as a server operating at 75 percent utilization. It calls for serverconsolidation.The trends for Web2.0 and cloud computing is clear and growing and it will need server
  8. 8. virtualization as the foundation layer. It will also add to complexity at the systemmanagement layer in a heterogeneous environment. The trend for analytics is seeinggrowth and it will bring in need for high-performance computing. It will also bring ininsight into new trends faster and on real-time basis. This will eventually result in ITsupporting innovation in business.EXPERTS SPEAKTechnology and Automation Mandatory for Efficiency There has been a growing trend of enterprises choosing to outsourcethe collocation and management of their IT infrastructure to third-party data centerservice providers. As per IDC, the third-party data center market is scheduled to grow at36.5 percent y-o-y as compared to the captive data enter market that is expected to growat only 18.1 percent y-o-y. The factors that will continue to fuel this growth are - dataexplosion, compliance needs, drive within enterprises to improve customer service throughdeployment of IT, increasing power, real-estate and human resources cost, demand forBCP and DR, and falling bandwidth prices.On key trendsConsumerization of IT, increased focus on green initiatives, continued virtualization,increased adoption of cloud, and acceleration in converged infrastructure are some of thekey trends expected to impact the data center market.The new crop of input devices like tablets and smart phones will force data centers tostart investing heavily in technology to provide the needed integration and security.Data centers will look for ways to not only control costs but also to promote themselves asgreen; it has been estimated that energy accounts for 12 percent of data,center expenses.The number of new virtual servers being deployed probably exceeded the number of newphysical servers deployed last year and the gap will only grow.Cloud services comprising SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS are expected to grow from USD 110 million(Iaas and PaaS form USD 44 million) to USD 1 billion (PaaS and IaaS will be to USD 440million). The impact will depend on what cloud model is adopted (private, public, orhybrid). Data centers will have to use more of technology and automation to improve theirefficiency.