Communications technology continues to advance, reaching new levels of complexity and speed, resulting in ever-increasing volumes of network traffic, and impacting nearly every aspect of the network, from the end users accessing applications and resources to the smart data centers that host them. Smart data centers leverage intelligent infrastructures to accommodate growing demand while ensuring operational efficiency, mitigate risk, and generally increase data center productivity.
While this is a logical evolution driven by the convergence of communications and computing, the perpetual innovation in communications and networking solutions only underscores the fact that data centers must increase their focus on infrastructure to ensure their operational efficiency improves. Despite technological enhancements, the need for infrastructure efficiency remains constant.
To balance the increased demand and for access and speed, while also considering budget constraints, data centers are effectively being forced to do more with their existing assets and resources. In fact, many data centers are also undergoing significant downsizing in order to drive down capital and operational expenses, meaning they have to explore opportunities for operating with increased efficiency with fewer resources. To accomplish this, data centers are being forced to take a hard look at the infrastructures and management systems that will enable them to remain competitive despite consolidation efforts and global trends that are increasing the strain on their infrastructures.
Among the most significant of those trends is the growth of broadband access. Broadband is — and has been for some time — a fundamental component of the business communications infrastructure. It enables converged solutions that increase collaboration, enable new services, introduce new means of communication, and enhance mobility, all of which are made possible through faster and higher bandwidth broadband access solutions that carry the increased volume of voice, video, and data traffic.
In addition, increased connectivity for branch offices, remote sites, mobile workforces, and home offices has further increased bandwidth needs, as all of those users now also have the ability and need to access data center resources.
There’s also the consumer segment, which is growing thanks to new areas being passed by fixed-line broadband access networks regularly, as well as new wireless networks that are providing access in rural areas in global markets. In the U.S., many un- and underserved areas are going to continue to see development as well, thanks to funding from the Broadband Stimulus provision of the Economic Recovery Act, which will only increase the number of network users.
Within the broadband access space, wireless networks are perhaps the biggest growth are, with 3G networks being built out to support the wireless device revolution that is integrating broadband data services into an increasing selection of mobile devices, as well as a growing interest in developing 4G technologies. The wireless broadband market is also likely going to be the greatest beneficiary of the broadband stimulus, since many rural areas are going to be most effectively served by wireless networks.
The growth in fixed and mobile broadband access has created a significant market for applications and services, all of which result in increased demand for access to data center networks. Whether it’s accessing multimedia content, making online purchases, communicating via VoIP and Unified Communications (News - Alert) services, or accessing other virtualized or cloud-based applications, the demand for access to data center assets is increasing rapidly. The emergence of new contextually aware services, like location-based services, require increased intelligence in data center routing and switching capabilities to ensure these advanced services run effectively.
Logic and market research both suggest that this growth is not going subside; it’s neither the nature of technology nor its users to maintain the status quo. The result is a more complex data center — one that requires greater server density, more switching resources, more efficient power and cooling, more rigorous security measures — all accomplished with increased efficiency. Therefore, data centers must prepare themselves and explore options for accommodating each of their constituents’ needs, including speed, reliability, eco-sustainability, cost effectiveness, security, and efficiency.
In short, they must transform their existing infrastructures into next generation Smart Data Centers.
A Smart Data Center is able to manage higher bandwidth requirements and higher availability in a real-time environment, without negatively impacting energy consumption and other operational factors. The model takes into account all of the physical and logical infrastructure components to ensure that all applications and operations — from access technologies to the physical network to thermal management to space utilization — are optimized for maximum operational efficiency in an always on environment.
Panduit has developed the physical infrastructure components that deliver the speed and agility required to match the demands of a growing user community. Its solutions allow businesses to optimize efficiency of their data centers through a unified approach to connecting, managing, and automating their entire operation using a converged design plan and management system.
Panduit’s Smart Data Center solutions, founded in its Unified Physical Infrastructure vision, are designed to provide the latest technologies to manage data transmission, thermal management, power, cooling, footprint utilization, security, and all other infrastructure considerations that are at the forefront of any CIO’s agenda. Its goal is to not only provide a roadmap to a converged data center infrastructure, but to provide a single, holistic management solution to optimize all data center resources and allow data centers to become profit centers.
Because data centers are the heart of any business, and because the business environment is as competitive as ever, the design and deployment of robust, integrated data center solutions, like Panduit’s, is crucial for success today and for future growth.