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Emerging Technology and Innovative Data Center Management

By: Blair Felter on April 12, 2019

While many people still think of data centers as little more than off-site storage locations, modern facilities offer a wide range of services that can completely transform the way their customers do business. With the seemingly constant introduction of new technologies and the growing adoption of the most beneficial innovations, data centers have become increasingly critical to business operation.

In order to meet the changing needs of their customers, colocation providers need effective data center management that can adapt to the latest technological innovations and package them as services that deliver positive value and facilitate business growth.

Emerged and Emerging Technologies Impacting Data Centers

Server Virtualization Software

For many years, organizations have been dependent upon their physical infrastructure to meet their computing needs. With server virtualization services provided by software defined data centers (SDDCs), they can remove barriers to growth. Virtualization involves abstracting the computing power of a server into software form, enabling facilities to parcel it out on an “as needed” basis. The practice offers businesses far greater flexibility, scalability, and reliability, not to mention outstanding performance and cost savings.

Effective data center management is vital to implementing server virtualization software solutions. Infrastructure management software platforms can monitor every aspect of a virtual asset’s performance, delivering unprecedented visibility that allows customers to make decisions based on their actual needs rather than their perceived needs.

Mobile and IoT Devices

The internet of things (IoT) and the smartphone market has exploded over the last decade. More IoT edge devices are connected to the internet than ever before and the trend shows no signs of slowing. All of those devices generate massive amounts of data and often serve as hubs for a multitude of other devices and services.

Edge computing architecture is vital to delivering on the potential of IoT edge devices. A network strategy that incorporates cross connections and edge data centers for faster, low latency connections can help companies service end users more effectively. When assessing a data center facility, it’s important to determine whether or not it has the data center management processes in place to implement edge computing solutions.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Innovative interactive technology like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) require far more data than simple images and video. Healthcare facilities have created VR experiences to give patients planning to undergo surgery an idea of what their operation will be like. On the lighter side, mobile games like Pokémon Go have become the most popular example of AR. But these are just some of the few examples of a market on the verge of explosion. Global VR and AR revenue is forecasted to increase by at least 100% in the next four years.

Delivering on the promise of VR and AR, however, requires access to huge amounts of storage capacity and processing power. Fortunately, data centers have both in abundance. Effective data center management helps facilities deliver the power and capacity companies need to roll out the latest in VR and AR technology.

Open Sourcing

The flood of big data has caused quite a disruption in almost every industry. As businesses have struggled to make sense of their oceans of data – both structured and unstructured – they’ve searched for formidable data and analytics solutions. Of the 40 most popular open source data projects indexed by TechCrunch, 15 of them are powering databases and data processing. Oracle, Google, Cloudera, and Databricks are some of the most prominent names in open source data management. With the ability to modify such an application’s source code, software developers can make applications more useful and minimize errors over time.

Data centers can deliver access to these powerful open source data tools as part of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud solutions while still providing the security and control customers expect from a private network. Effective data center management makes it easier to deploy and monitor these complex environments, helping companies to capitalize on the power of open source data solutions.

How are Data Centers Responding?

Data centers are already “a proven solution in responding to and supporting the latest technological demands,” writes Nick Ismail of Information Age. “The rise of online gaming, IoT applications, and streaming services is producing vast amounts of information which need to be processed and stored; the same will be said for AR technology, but it is worth noting that not every facility is the same.”

Indeed, not all data centers have adapted to the growing needs of businesses. Advancements in connectivity, speed, and storage capabilities are essential to keeping up with business demands. Structural changes to cooling systems and new server configurations like high-density racks are a start, but adapting the management of a data center is the most important change. 

High-performance computing technology allows data center providers to quickly and easily scale operations within colocation facilities. Rather than adding servers, high-performance computing empowers data centers to store and process more data within a normal rack space and deliver the requisite power. It also allows data centers to automate the load balancing and routing of network traffic to maintain bandwidth for network traffic, for example.

But beyond the technology itself are the experts who are in charge of strategically upgrading their facilities and designing the proper solution for each unique business and its data needs. Data center managers are becoming more involved in operations, ready to solve any problem or situation, which often requires outside-of-the-box thinking. This can be difficult for a machine managed system to do as machines are still bound by algorithms and data. 

As worldwide data center traffic approaches 15 ZB – three times the data from 2015 – data centers must continue to remain flexible and adaptable. In order to maintain optimal performance and economics, these providers will need to be as innovative as the technological world around them.

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