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Optimizing Entire Data Center Without Breaking Budget

We have more users, more workloads, and a lot more data traversing the current cloud and data center platforms. Trends are indicating that this growth will only continue. When it comes to data center growth and big data, there something very important that needs to be understood. The value around data and information is much higher than it ever was before. With that in mind, content delivery, user optimization, and data quantification are critical aspects to the modern business.

Through it all, we’re still being asked to optimize and have everything run as efficiently as possible. But what can you do to optimize and not break your budget? Well, there are some new technologies that can help take your data center to the next level.

  • The logical data center layer. There is so much virtualization out there that it’s getting a bit crazy. But that also means you can likely find the right optimization technology for you as well. Looking to optimize your network? Maybe look at VMware’s vSAN technologies to avoid buying new gear. How about storage optimizations? Software-defined storage can help completely abstract your storage layer and help you expand! Definitely take a look at all of the new SDx and virtual technologies out there to help optimize existing resources and more. The great part here is that you can use virtual appliances to optimize your data center. Unlike before, you can actually test drive these tools to see how well they work. If you like it, keep it and expand it into your data center. If not, it’s nothing short of spinning down a VM.
  • Utilizing the hybrid cloud. Did you know that it’s much, much easier to extend your infrastructure into the cloud? OpenStack, CloudStack, Eucalyptus and many others are enabling data centers to become a lot more extensible. Burst technologies and load-balancing allow for a seamless transition between private and public resources. For example, the Eucalyptus environment creates direct API services around numerous Amazon services. Now, you’re able to bring the power of the public cloud directly to your organization. With features like auto-scaling and elastic load-balancing, the Euca cloud allows for truly robust cloud infrastructure control. A hybrid cloud extension is a great way to utilize resources only when you need them. The big difference is that it’s much easier to do so now.
  • Commodity hardware. Now, before anyone gets upset, I’m not telling you to replace you entire data center with white-box servers and gear. Unless you want to, of course. However, with software-defined controls and virtualization the controlled has suddenly become logical. That means the underlying hardware doesn’t really matter because the control layer can run on any hypervisor at any data center. Just something to think about when it comes to optimizing both hardware and software platforms. Let me give you a more specific example. In a recent article from DCK, we outlined how Rackspace introduced dedicated servers which behaved like cloud VMs. The offering, called OnMetal, provides cloud Servers which are single-tenant, bare-metal systems. You can provision services in minutes via OpenStack, mix and match with other virtual cloud servers, and customize performance delivery. Basically, you can design your servers based on specific workload or application needs. This includes optimizations around memory, I/O, and compute. Pretty powerful stuff.
  • Asset management and monitoring. The distribution of the modern data center, branch offices, and micro-clouds have created a bit of an asset issue. That said, how well are you tracking all of your gear? Proactively knowing what you have – everywhere – can help identify where gaps can be filled. This goes for both hardware and software. Proactively monitoring resources from a logical layer helps control resource leak issues. Monitoring and control from a visibility perspective is a great way to re-allocate resources when needed. Which means you don’t have to buy anything new just yet. Let me give you a specific example around cloud monitoring. CA Nimsoft Monitor offers pretty much every necessary monitoring solution for you to create cloud workload intelligence. Application monitoring support includes Apache systems, Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, SAP and more. Plus, if you’re working with an existing cloud infrastructure or management platform, Nimsoft integrates with Citrix CloudPlatform, FlexPod, Vblock and even your own public/private cloud model. The list of supported monitoring solutions continues to span through servers, networks, storage, virtualization and more. By understanding, monitoring and managing your cloud and data center resources – you can make very intelligence decisions around your entire infrastructure.

Your data center will only continue to evolve. Modern user and business demands are pushing data center technologies to new levels almost weekly. The growth in data and the need to control, replicate and use this information is critical as well. The really great part in today’s world is that you don’t just have to buy another piece of hardware to optimize you data center. Next-gen technologies are now helping organizations create a much more efficient data center; without having to break the budget.

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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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