Next-Generation Cloud and the Power of the Data Center

With more reliance on the data center, find out how consolidation, going greener, and new ways to network are creating a more powerful cloud architecture

Bill Kleyman

May 26, 2015

4 Min Read
Next-Generation Cloud and the Power of the Data Center

With so many new types of cloud services emerging, people are getting their share of the cloud from all sorts of vendors. New types of content delivery architecture, cloud models, and even the emergence of IoT/IoE are all re-shaping how data center resources are being used. In working with the cloud, many administrators forget where these services originate and where the cloud is really housed.

To the same respect, data centers all over the world are pushing hard to get caught up to the demands of the current market. Let’s face it, it’s no wonder so many data center providers are saying “It’s good to be in the data center business right now.”

A recent Cisco report goes on to point out that an important traffic enabler in the rapid expansion of cloud computing is the increase in data center virtualization, which provides services that are flexible, fast-to-deploy, and efficient. By 2018, more than three-fourths of all workloads will be processed in the cloud. Additional trends influencing the growth of cloud computing include the widespread adoption of multiple devices combined with increasing user expectations to access applications and content anytime, from anywhere, over any network. To address these rising user demands, cloud-based services such as consumer cloud storage are gaining momentum. By 2018, more than 50 percent of the consumer internet population will be using personal cloud storage.

In their efforts to catch up to today’s on-demand industry, data centers have had to adapt to new workloads, more bandwidth requirements and explore infrastructure multi-tenancy.

  • SDN/NFV Creating New Ways to Network. This is all about network efficiency and SDN and NFV. By literally virtualizing the networking layer, data centers have been able to create highly connected environments spanning the globe. What we’re able to do with layer 2-7 devices now is pretty amazing. Plus, our ability to create hundreds and even thousands of virtual connection all from one network controller further enhances cloud connectivity. Logical network segmentation has allowed data centers to thrive by providing dedicated services from intelligent switching technologies. Furthermore, new networking architecture allow administrators to truly understand that DNA of their data center. In turn, they can create powerful automation policies, better QoS standards, and even improve on network security.

  • Consolidation and Cloud. High-density computing has played a big role in the data center’s movement to the cloud. New kinds of hyperconverged systems and unified computing platforms are creating highly efficient and highly scalable environments. With advanced virtualization now available, we’re able to fit even more users, desktops and applications per server. This type of multi-tenancy simplifies the rack environment and allows for easier management. It also helps organizations become greener. Which brings us to the next point.

  • Going Greener. In moving to cloud platforms and providing cloud services, the data center environment became a focal point for new resource demands. So, the data center began to deploy more efficient technologies to support more users and run more economically. However, economics also gives way to greener technologies. Given the current focus on the environmental effects of data centers in today’s “green” culture, many data centers providers are taking a closer look at ways to improve their cooling and power efficiency. For example, data centers are replacing constant speed pumps and fans in their cooling plants with variable frequency motors that can more accurately match cooling demand to supply. They’re also investing in smart, automated ways to configure and operate their cooling plants in response to data floor and outside temperatures and humidity. Google is a great example of this. Their fleet-wide PUE has dropped significantly since Google first started reporting their numbers in 2008. The trailing twelve-month energy-weighted average PUE for all Google data centers is 1.12, making their data centers among the most efficient in the world.

New market demands mean new kinds of opportunities for those data center providers that can keep up. Cisco points out that many enterprises will adopt a hybrid approach to cloud as they transition some workloads from internally managed private clouds to externally managed public clouds. All three types of cloud service delivery models (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS) will continue to grow as more and more businesses realize the benefits of moving to a cloud environment. Here’s the thing: there’s going to be even more emphasis on the data center’s impact on cloud. Just take a look at what’s happening with mobility, IT consumerization and of course big data. This means that as the market and cloud evolve, your data center architecture will be the underlying foundation to it all. The winners will be the ones who can evolve with demand and continue to provide an architecture which is economical, scalable, and in many cases environmentally friendly as well.

About the Author(s)

Bill Kleyman

Bill Kleyman has more than 15 years of experience in enterprise technology. He also enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues about tech. His published and referenced work can be found on Data Center Knowledge, AFCOM, ITPro Today, InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Forbes, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and more.

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