Friday, August 10, 2012

Cloud Computing and Data Center Facilities Design

During the early days of data center design and management, facilities teams were able to run their own environments with only minimal interaction with other IT teams. Over the past few years, however, the sitution has been changed.

Impacts of Cloud

The effects of the cloud take numerous forms. When it comes to data center design and management, cloud computing can be a truly powerful tool. Consider the following:

  • Datacenter consolidation. With advancements in virtualization, IT facilities managers can now reduce the amount of physical data center resources that are directly in use. This means fewer servers and better resource utilization. This reduction in data center space can result in more intelligent computing and better cost management.

  • Monitoring and management. As a direct result of cloud computing, new monitoring and management tools have made the modern data center easier to control. Monitoring features are able to look at metrics such as workload balancing, server environmental statistics and even check for alerts and alarms. Working in a distributed environment settings has created the direct need for better management software. Facilities managers should take this into consideration and see how cloud-ready tools can help their environment.

  • Reconsidering HVAC. With a reduction in the physical footprint as a result of cloud computing and virtualization, facilities administrators are able to create a more efficient environment with better cooling and management practices. With cloud computing, there will be new requirements as far as how much environmental control will be required. This can be either a positive or negative, depending on the cloud approach. If a private cloud is being built onsite with new, integrated architecture, there may actually be a need for more cooling requirements, even if the footprint is less. On the other hand, offloading a cloud platform to a public provider can result in less cooling and power needs.

  • Disaster Recovery. A big benefit of cloud computing is the ability to replicate an entire data center to a remote facility (or numerous remote facilities). The other major consideration is the fact that these cloud-based DR data centers can be provisioned on demand with a pay-as-you-go model. This means facilities administrators won’t have to worry about their remote infrastructure until the time comes for a DR event. Of course, testing and constant monitoring of the secondary environment is always key.

  • On-demand computing. Instead of having systems being in a state of always on – facilities and IT teams can coordinate to ensure that a portion of that infrastructure is cloud-ready and provisioned only on demand. This means fewer data center components and less idle machines. More environments are looking to cloud providers to help them offload certain types of workloads and better their physical data center efficiencies.

  • Data management and warehousing. The conversation around “big data” is growing. More environments are seeking answers and solutions to how they can better manage their ever expanding database needs. Many times this means adding more shelves to a SAN and storing yet more data onsite. With cloud computing, facilities managers can leverage outside, WAN-based resources, to host some of their data needs. This means possible offloading or archiving massive amounts of data for quick retrieval, but making it all cloud-based.

  • Decentralizing the data center. Resiliency, redundancy and efficiency are always at the top of any facilities person’s list. A part of that process is to reduce single points of failure within a data center as well as making data more quickly to the end-user. With cloud computing, facilities can extend their environment and utilize more resources on-demand. This decentralized methodology can help offload hardware from an existing data center, create a more redundant system, and ensure that data can be placed closer to the end-user.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Data Center Raised Floor and Cooling System

Data Center Executives are addressing the cooling infrastructure demands with a full line of airflow management and in-floor cooling solutions. The continued adoption of high density equipment, virtualization and cloud computing strategies requires the cooling infrastructure of a data center to be capable of adapting to high and often variable heat loads while offering superior energy efficiency.

There are line of in-floor cooling products for raised floor data centers can nearly eliminate by-pass air and save significant energy. Using directional airflow and variable-air-volume dampers, the data center can instantly react to any variation in utilization to match cooling with the heat load at the rack level. Some data center also provide fan assisted airflow to eliminate hot spots or implement high-density equipment in a current raised floor facilities without significant capital investment.

In addition, a full line of containment systems and air sealing grommets is designed to help reduce by-pass airflow, improve energy efficiency and increase data center capacity. More information can be found below.

Electronically controlled variable air volume damper used to adjusts the amount of air to meet the specific needs of the rack it services.

Fan assist module is designed to provide a blast of cooling through an individual airflow panel. This powerful solution is ideal for solving the toughest hot spots in a data center.

Grate panels the airflow angle toward the equipment achieving a 93% Total Air Capture (TAC) rate by a standard server rack.

Full line panels have the unmatched ability to handle heat density needs of the most demanding mission critical facilities.

Blade damper allows the user infinite airflow adjustability when it comes to airflow from any airflow panel.

Seal a variety of openings in the aisle, blocking bypass airflow and maximizing cooling performance.

The rack shield isolation system is designed to capture subfloor supply and dedicate it to the computer thermal load, thereby ensuring that cold supply air will not spill across the raised floor.

Hot and cold aisle containment, Partition, Strip Doors, Retracting Roofs, Hinged and Sliding Doors all work together to create the perfect containment solution.

The CRAC Hood Extension is a ceiling return duct that connects the top of the CRAC unit directly to a ceiling return plenum greatly increasing cooling capacity and efficiency by capturing hot exhaust air and channeling it directly into the CRAC unit.