The IO.OS software provides detailed information to manage many aspects of data center operations.

Abstracting the Data Center: A look at the DCOS Platform

It’s time to take a step back and look at the data center model that’s impacting today’s business, . It’s time to see just how far this platform has come and exactly where it’s going. It’s time to say hello to the truly agnostic data center. Almost every new technology is being pushed through some type of data center model.

Inside of your current data center model – what do you have under the hood?

  • Storage, Networking, Compute
  • Power, Cooling, Environmental Controls
  • Rack and Cable Management
  • Building and Infrastructure Security

Although some of these underlying components have stayed the same. Requirements from the workloads that live on top have drastically evolved. Through it all, we’ve also seen an evolution of the physical aspect of the data center. We’re creating powerful multi-tenant, high-density platforms capable of handling users and the new data-on-demand generation. With all of these new technologies and demands, the modern data center has truly become a distributed node infrastructure.

So here is the real challenge: how do you control and manage it all? How do you control practically every aspect that is critical to data center functionality? Most of all, how do you do it on a distributed plane?

Data Center Abstraction

Data center abstraction is an emerging field where all physical and logical components are abstracted and inserted into a powerful management layer. This new model is sometimes referred to as the software-defined data center. However, today we’re focusing on the management layer. The data center of the future will be truly agnostic where all resources become presented to a powerful management layer, which can then be controlled anywhere and anytime. This is the data center operating system.

One example of this data center operating model is provided by IO and its IO.OS environment, which helps control many of the absolutely critical components, from chip to chiller. The great part is that this DCOS layer has visibility into every critical aspect that a data center has to present.

This conversation takes us far beyond standard DCIM. We’re now looking at an open data center and open cloud architecture. So what makes up a solid data center operating system? What has IO.OS done to really help organizations regain control of their global data center footprint? Let’s examine what it takes to create a powerful DCOS framework.

The Control Layer: Let’s start at the top. The control panel and management layer of a DCOS platform incorporates an easy-to-follow yet very granular interface. There is direct visibility into everything that is residing within your data center. This includes energy management, controlling QoS, monitoring the current state of all VMs, and even creating sensor setpoints throughout your data center. Here’s the important piece: you will have visibility into you entire data center and cloud environment.

The Integration Layer: What if you have outside cloud instances? What if you have big data engines? What if you need visibility into some resources that are “outside” of your data center? A big piece of the DCOS framework revolves around creating a more open infrastructure. Whether this means integrating with a big data engine or applying key APIs to allow communications between applications and resources, your DCOS model must help extend your infrastructure. This means incorporating front and back-end resources and pushing critical data to the control layer of the DCOS. Now, imagine integrating with automation, logging, and other critical systems that were once islands within a data center.

The Proactive Layer: Imagine changing the temperature settings within a specific section or rack within your data center based directly on pre-set thresholds. How about modifying environmental and resource variables based on compliance with set application requirements? Automation and maintaining an intuitive data center infrastructure are key pieces in the DCOS model. Proactively staying ahead of service impacts across your entire data center (both logical and physical) allows administrators to focus on efficiencies, not fires. You basically have an intelligent proactive DCOS layer which allows you to make granular system adjustments on the fly. Ultimately, this allows your data center to change at the speed of business. Which, in today’s world, is pretty fast. Here’s the reality: it’s not even about “real-time” any more. A solid data center operating system provides the proactive element, as well as an intuitive structure, where metrics can be gathered and system changes can be planned around existing and future demands.

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About the Author

Bill Kleyman is a veteran, enthusiastic technologist with experience in data center design, management and deployment. His architecture work includes virtualization and cloud deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Currently, Bill works as the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies, a Stamford, CT based consulting firm.

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