IoT forcing organizations to look beyond the centralized data center architecture

|February 15, 2018 0

Soma Tah

Influx of technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud, and Big data are forcing IT managers globally to shift from an application-centric datacenter architecture to a data-centric model. The centralized data center infrastructure isn’t equipped to handle the current and future demands for data management and access as they were not built to handle traffic generated by IoT, let alone mobile and cloud-based applications. It won’t be feasible, either economically or technically, for organizations to transfer all the data to a single location for processing. Therefore, IoT is encouraging CIOs to look at decentralizing the data centers and fragmenting them into multiple distributed micro data centers where the initial data processing can occur.

Sanjay Motwani, Regional Director-Raritan APAC spoke to CIOL on some of the emerging data center trends and how micro data centers are poised to grow significantly with the proliferation of IoT and edge computing.

What trends do you foresee in the data center space this year?

Focus on cloud, mobility and analytics will gain further importance and this will lead to many organisations to rethink their data center strategies. The other big trends that will drive the data center industry are Big Data, Hyperscale data centers, Virtualization and Cloud. Many CIOs are looking to replace current architectures with more robust architectures that would provide them the agility, the flexibility and the scale desired for new application workloads.

Another trend that will pick up very quickly in India is the rise of integrated and modular data centers. In order to reduce cost and risk, data center designs are becoming more integrated and are being constructed from prefabricated modules that can be deployed quickly, scaled easily and operated efficiently. It takes less time to develop than traditional processes; can be repurposed at another location and easily scaled up or down depending on future needs. The Modular data center market is expected to grow to $38.30 billion by 2021, according to MarketsandMarkets. Developing markets such as China, India, and Brazil are expected to lead the speedy growth of the modular data center market.

Sanjay Motwani, Regional Director-Raritan APAC

Green data center concepts such as free cooling, renewable energy sources, and waste recycling are also gaining popularity. Free air cooling enables data center builders to cut up to 40 percent of the capital cost.

As major businesses begin to incorporate some element of IoT into their processes and systems, CIOs will need to focus on being able to get and use data generated by IoT cost-effectively. More importantly, IoT will generate huge amounts of data from globally distributed sources. Today, more than ever, data is being created on a massive scale as a huge wave of connectivity dominates both home and office through a multitude of devices like wearables, smart homes, connected cars, medical devices, fitness bands, smart retail etc. Gartner predicts that the number of IoT devices will reach 26 billion by 2020. However, as the number of devices grow, so does network congestion. This well lead to the CIO’s looking to balance both storage and networking requirements in an IoT world, which will lead to the growth of the localized or partially localized data center. These could be “complex data centers” housed in office buildings or residential complexes.

CoLos is also gaining momentum with increase in demand of an infrastructure which could provide flexibility and agility. Companies are fundamentally opting for shared data center space where they need not worry about servers or storage. This reduces the customer’s capital expenditure. It would be much costlier and more work to build, maintain, and update a single company’s own large data center.

What are micro data centers and what are its advantages over the traditional data centers?

Micro data centers are stratified versions of a data center, where the physical and networking components are decentralized, enabling data to be processed and analyzed in real-time eliminating bottlenecks. They are basically containerized small data centers with standalone rack-level systems with all the components of a traditional data center like board cooling, telecommunication and storage systems, security, fire suppression, and uninterruptible power supply. Its size, versatility, plug and play features make them ideal for use in remote locations, in branch offices, or even for temporary use at high-risk locations.

CIOs need to look beyond the centralized data center architecture for higher efficiencies and economies of scale. Balancing both storage and networking requirements in an IoT world will lead to the growth of the localized or partially localized data center. Instead of adding more servers to the data center, it is more prudent to set up micro data centers and edge facilities. This will help enterprises to mitigate their loads and latency issues- if situated closer to IoT devices, cloud hosts and other sources and destinations of network traffic.

Unlike the traditional model, micro data centers also minimize the physical footprint and consequently the energy consumed. Setting up micro data centers will also allow enterprises to circumvent physical space limitations in a centralized data center where growth could be limited. Besides the self-contained computing environment, many organizations are turning to localized micro data centers that can be installed pretty much everywhere — factory floors, back of a retail outlet, residential complexes, commercial establishments etc. They will provide the flexibility of having multiple servers along with the required storage and networking. They are also a good solution for applications requiring higher levels of security.

What kind of growth do you foresee at the micro data centers space in India? How does Raritan plan to tap into this opportunity?

Micro data centers will be very useful for enterprises in the coming years as the use of connected devices will only grow. While the concept of micro data centers in India has been heavily discussed and some customers are also experimenting in the space, it will definitely take a couple of years before it creates a momentum in India.

There is a huge potential for micro data centers to grow in India. Currently, we only have diluted version of a micro data centre, commonly termed as a smart rack. It is nothing but a traditional rack with all the elements of a micro data center, except that it does not fulfil the UPS and the air conditioning requirements, which are critical for a data center to function. In India, both these elements still remain outside the scope of a smart rack.

We are already working with some of our global partners and planning to bring this product into the country hopefully by sometime next year. The micro data centers are being packaged and made partly fulfilled with Raritan’s products. The proliferation of micro data centers will become a critical challenge for organizations as it will be distributed. Our remote management solution KVM will give data center managers and administrators the equivalent of “at the rack” BIOS-level access to thousands of servers and other devices anytime and anywhere. Our solutions are packed with features that have an exponential impact on organizations for increasing energy efficiency, improving reliability, and raising productivity. The customer who will buy a packaged micro data center, will have an access to all these elements. One very critical aspect of micro data center is that unlike the traditional data center, the micro data centers cannot depend on isolated support systems. We offer all the necessary support needed for the micro data centers.

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