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Is your data centre fit for the software defined era?

Posted by on January 8, 2015

Over the past few years we have seen stages of consolidation, followed by virtualisation which creates efficient private clouds and gives rise to public cloud services.

Converged infrastructure with centralised systems then came to the forefront, creating further physical system efficiencies. Finally, the software defined data centre (SDDC) emerged, adding labour-saving efficiencies to the mix via automation.


The challenge

Business technology and its underlying IT are continually evolving. Therefore, enterprises must effectively deploy business technology and in order to remain competitive they must successfully innovate and reduce costs. Inevitably, this will create a clear shift toward SDDC. Enterprises should consider the right data centre infrastructure to support this move towards the SDDC paradigm.

According to Gartner 4.9 billion connected devices will be in use in 2015 and will reach 25 billion by 2020. This highlights how big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to drive software defined (SD) forward, as the scale of data will require automation to be able to successfully manage the IT outcome efficiently. I believe changes such as the IoT and big data will only add to the complexity that must be managed and orchestrated.



SD architecture means more devices can be centrally managed with a minimum of IT personnel. Creating policy-based rules and automating and orchestrating applications across the entirety of legacy, private and public cloud arenas, the SD architecture manages business processes across these disparate IT platforms and facilitates control from a single point.

However, the importance of the role that the physical infrastructure plays in managing IT efficiency at the macro level is often overlooked. Data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) systems must communicate seamlessly across networked data centres. In addition, they need to integrate at the SD level to balance IT loads and infrastructure. For example, changes in temperature impacts the cost of cooling. Moving compute demand to a less utilised data centre or to one that has a lower external dry bulb temperature can save money and remove risk.

The potential role of DCIM and SDDC integration in managing business continuity is obvious. Even physical intrusion could activate the movement of compute loads to other networked data centres.


A holistic approach

At Infinity, we recognise there is a new and emerging role for the enterprise data centre. It becomes the platform to the public cloud and the home to a number of disparate IT platforms. This supports the differing needs of legacy, private clouds and the orchestration and automation of the SDDC.

We are actively building flexible data halls that accommodate a range of power densities and resilience levels, all at the rack levelData centres of today should be offering platform flexibility and facilitating in-life rebalancing of platforms across infrastructure types for the customer. This is a consultative sell to understand the outcome clients are trying to achieve while building a data centre platform to suit today and tomorrow.

It is important to address how automation will underline the relationship of one data centre to all other platforms and data centres. The data centre operator needs to be less self-focused and more concerned with the relationship between data centres across the entire network and how it will connect to individual infrastructures elsewhere.

At Infinity, we are exploring the integration of DCIM systems and the SD architecture. This will require driving and lobbying for new requirements through a variety of industry associations to ensure standards are implemented.


The software defined era

When questioning if your data centre is fit for software defined IT, the enterprise must consider the implementation of SD and how best to manage it to achieve the greatest efficiencies.

The business requires a new type of enterprise data centre; one that flexibly supports different needs of legacy, private clouds and SDDC. DCIM systems must communicate across data centres and seamlessly integrate at the SD level.

The data centre industry must come together to ensure standards are in place to support the new breed of data centres that the UK needs in order to maintain its place in the digital economy.

By John Hall, Sales and Marketing Director at Infinity SDC 



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