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Smart Data Centers are Smart Business
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Smart Data Centers Feature Editorial

July 09, 2009

Smart Data Centers are Smart Business

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director

We know data center technology is evolving, that bandwidth and capacity demands are increasing, that the need for increased server and storage capacity and data transfer speeds is increasing and, of course, that the power supplies and cooling systems that keep them all running 24 hours a day are often under duress as they attempt to handle the increased network loads. That’s the role of the next generation data center, which needs reliable physical infrastructure to ensure improved operational efficiency to accommodate availability demands.  We also know the technologies that comprise these systems are becoming increasingly connected and interdependent, thanks to the growth of IP-based networking solutions that extend far beyond the basic communications system into the heart of the data center’s critical systems.

The need for efficient management of the convergence of disparate systems – including improving network performance – is the foundation for Panduit’s UPI vision (Unified Physical Infrastructure), through which it seeks to manage data center consolidation and convergence, resulting in a resilient and reliable physical infrastructure that minimizes downtime and maximizes infrastructure efficiency.
A key component of this ideal is the concept of the Smart Data Center, which incorporates the entire lifecycle of a data center infrastructure, from planning and design to installation, operation, and management, ensuring that all the applications and operations are optimized for maximum operational efficiency.
Data centers are critical to business success, but the traditional approach of managing their components individually is becoming increasingly inadequate in an era of converged networking.  This includes the growth of virtualization and automation, for instance, two key data center growth drivers today. However, convergence does not come without its challenges. As physical infrastructures become more closely connected, the risk potential also grows, as a failure in one system can lead to additional system faults. Thus, the need for intelligence to be built into the data center infrastructure becomes paramount to its operational success. Therein lies the fundamental of a Smart Data Center ­— one that has carefully planned physical and logical layers to mitigate risk and promote collaboration between systems.
Once the data center infrastructure has been mapped out for optimal performance, the key to its operational success is in a unified management system, which drives the monitoring, data collection, and reporting processes required to track system performance and quickly troubleshoot points of failure. This includes an ability to track and assess network connections, resource placement and movement, energy usage, and security elements, as well as the isolation and resolution of conflicts.
Panduit’s Unified Physical Infrastructure (UPI) approach has been specifically designed to deliver Smart Data Centers, enabling the connection, management, and automation of the entire data center infrastructure, including communications, computing, power, control, and security systems. Importantly, Panduit’s vision and its end-to-end solutions — with the help of its extensive ecosystem of Alliance partners — is also designed to provide flexibility and scalability to accommodate future data center growth and emerging technologies, key to any capital investment.
While the key driver is the need for always on data center applications, without which no business can expect to find success, cost efficiency is at least as important today — perhaps even more so. The benefits of building a Smart Data Center extend beyond the consolidation and automation of systems onto a single architecture. The inherent intelligence serves to ensure that power is being distributed effectively, for instance, but also that all the data center systems are able to support each other to eliminate unnecessary downtime.
For instance, if there isn’t enough computing power to handle peak periods, the risk of network failure increases. On the other hand, of a cooling system isn’t properly configured during low usage periods, operating costs will be higher than needed, and the lifespan of the cooling system will be unnecessarily shortened.
Panduit is working with its industry ecosystem to drive its UPI vision, supporting it with its own portfolio of integrated physical infrastructure solutions, including connectivity, thermal management, cable management, and converged infrastructure management software. Combined, the results of collaboration between Panduit and its partners allow the data center to function as a single, fully integrated system, increasing uptime, optimizing energy usage, and maximizing real estate.
For further cost benefits, effective planning and management of the physical infrastructure will also allow for more efficient use of space, eliminating the need for expanding the data center footprint, which, under a traditional siloed management system, is often the only alternative.
A Smart Data Center with a unified physical infrastructure overcomes those traditional shortcomings. It is designed to eliminate operational risk and is critical to ensuring network availability, business agility, data center security, and energy and space efficiency, as it supports not only the creation of one consolidated system, comprising all the previously disparate components, but also enables effective oversight via a unified management solution.

Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erik Linask

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