How data center works (and how they’re changing)
A data center is usually a physical location in which enterprises store their data as well as other applications crucial to the functioning of their organization. Most often these data centers store a majority of the IT equipment – this includes routers, servers, networking switches, storage subsystems, firewalls, and any extraneous equipment which is employed. A data center typically also includes appropriate infrastructure which facilitates storage of this order; this often includes electrical switching, backup generators, ventilation and other cooling systems, uninterruptible power supplies, and more. This obviously translates into a physical space in which these provisions can be stored and which is also sufficiently secure.
But while data centers are often thought of as occupying only one physical location, in reality they can also be dispersed over several physical locations or be based on a cloud hosting service, in which case their physical location becomes all but negligible. Data centers too, much like any technology, are going through constant innovation and development. As a result of this, there is no one rigid definition of what a data center is, no all-encompassing way to imagine what they are in theory and what they should look like on the ground.
A lot of businesses these days operate from multiple locations at the same time or have remote operations set up. To meet the needs of these businesses, their data centers will have to grow and learn with them – the reliance is not so much on physical locations anymore as it is on remotely accessible servers and cloud-based networks. Because the businesses themselves are distributed and ever-changing, the need of the hour is for data centers to be the same: scalable as well as open to movement.
And so, new key technologies are being developed to make sure that data centers can cater to the requirements of a digital enterprise. These technologies include –
- Public Clouds
- Hyper converged infrastructure
- GPU Computing
- Micro segmentation
- Non-volatile memory express
Businesses have always had the option of building a data center of their own, to do which they could either use a managed service partner or a hosting vendor. While this shifted the ownership as well as the economic burden of running a data center entirely, it couldn’t have as much of a drastic effect to due to the time it took to manage these processes. With the rise of cloud-based data centers, businesses now have the option of having a virtual data center in the cloud without the waiting time or the inconvenience of having to physically reach a location.
Hyper converged infrastructure
What hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) does is simple: it takes out the effort involved in deploying appliances. Impressively, it does so without disrupting the already ongoing processes, beginning from the level of the servers, all the way to IT operations. This appliance provided by HCI is easy to deploy and is based on commodity hardware which can scale simply by adding more nodes. While early uses that HCI found revolved around desktop virtualization, recently it has grown to being helpful in other business applications involving databases as well as unified communications.
While most computing has so far been done using Central Processing Units (CPUs), the expansive fields of machine learning and IoT have placed a new responsibility on Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). GPUs were originally used only to play graphics-intensive games, but are now being used for other purposes as well. They operate fundamentally differently from CPUs as they can process several different threads in tandem, and this makes them ideal for a new generation of data centers.
Micro segmentation is a method through which secure zones are created in a data center, curtailing any problems which may arise through any intrusive traffic which bypasses firewalls or. It is done primarily through and in software, so it doesn’t take long to implement. This happens because all the resources in one place can be isolated from each other in such a way that if a breach does happen, the damage is immediately mitigated. Micro segmentation is typically done in software, making it very agile.
Non-volatile memory express
The breakneck speed at which everything is getting digitized these days is a definitive indication that data needs to move faster as well! While older storage protocols like Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) and the small computer system interface (SCSI) have been been impacting technology since time immemorial, a new technology called Non-volatile memory express (NVMe) is threatening their presence. As a storage protocol, NVMe can accelerate the rate at which information is transferred between solid state drives and any corresponding systems. In doing so, they greatly improve data transfer rates.
The future is here!
It is no secret that data centers are an essential part of the success of all businesses, regardless of their size or their industry. And this is only going to play a more and more important factor as time progresses. A radical technological shift is currently underway: it is bound to change the way a data center is conceptualized as well as actualized. What remains to be seen is which of these technologies will take center stage in the years to come.
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