Special Coverage Series

Network Computing

Special Coverage Series

Commentary

Bill Kleyman
Bill Kleyman Virtualization & Cloud Solutions Architect, MTM Technologies

5 Ways Software-Defined Tech Simplifies Datacenter Management

New software-defined tools are helping to reduce the complexity associated with distance in datacenter environments.

Have you heard enough hype about “software-defined” this or that? I can certainly see why. But if you are trying to get a better grasp of the modern datacenter, it’s critical to understand the goal of these new technologies: to reduce the complexity associated with distance.

Of course software-defined technologies have other important purposes, too. But for the sake of this conversation, let’s examine exactly how new software-defined tools are helping bring datacenters closer together. Here are five examples:

1. WAN optimization. WAN optimization has really come a long way. Not only are we trying to improve the end-user computing experience, we are also improving communication among datacenters. Now edge devices are able to optimize communication among multiple datacenters spanning a country or even the globe.

2. Global server load balancing. As a way to make the datacenter more resilient, engineers continuously look for ways to eliminate single points of failure. In that sense, technologies around GSLB have allowed national datacenters to become more agile as disaster recovery sites. Now, users can be load balanced between entire sites to keep in line with business continuity requirements.

3. Datacenter operating systems. Think of this as the next evolutionary step to datacenter infrastructure management (DCIM). Now, datacenter administrators are going to build in infrastructure automation on a multi-site level. As one site needs more resources or to offload some users, another location can pick up the slack. This will become much easier with the next generation of datacenter management technologies.

4. Distributed storage systems. Distributed storage, file, and recovery systems are all connecting datacenters together. The goal is to make a logical DC unit that is easier to manage and control. Every day, new types of distributed systems are helping bring environments and datacenters closer together.

5. Open source computing. Surprised? Open source technologies have been taking the networking, virtualization, and management industries by storm. Technologies such as CloudStack and OpenStack are allowing for direct cloud infrastructure integration. The challenge with open source technologies, however, is standardization. Still, look for open source to make a big dent in the software-defined market.

There’s no doubt that optimization technologies are going to continue to evolve. One of the key technologies making the software-defined push is, of course, software-defined networking. We can do so much more with a physical switch now than we ever could before. Now, we even have network virtualization and the ability to quickly create thousands of vNICs from physical devices. The ability to dynamically create LANs, vLANs, and other types of connectivity points has become easier with more advanced networking appliances.

[Read how vendors are using software to handle complex operations and overcome obstacles to scaling in networking and storage in "SDN Helps Break Down Barriers To Scaling."]

This goes far beyond optimizing links between datacenters. As the industry moves forward, we are creating a truly distributed system capable of much higher levels of resilience and business continuity. Even now, the open source environment is picking up its pace with a number of distributed environment management platforms.

What software-defined tools are you using, considering, or adopting that would help reduce the complexity of distance in your datacenter environment? Share your thoughts in the comments.



Related Reading


More Insights



Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

 
Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
 

Editor's Choice

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Buying power and influence are rapidly shifting to service providers. Where does that leave enterprise IT? Not at the cutting edge, thatís for sure: Only 19% are increasing both the number and capability of servers, budgets are level or down for 60% and just 12% are using new micro technology.
Get full survey results now! »

Vendor Turf Wars

Vendor Turf Wars

The enterprise tech market used to be an orderly place, where vendors had clearly defined markets. No more. Driven both by increasing complexity and Wall Street demands for growth, big vendors are duking it out for primacy -- and refusing to work together for IT's benefit. Must we now pick a side, or is neutrality an option?
Get the Digital Issue »

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps


Software defined networking encompasses several emerging technologies that bring programmable interfaces to data center networks and promise to make networks more observable and automated, as well as better suited to the specific needs of large virtualized data centers. Attend this webcast to learn the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging.
Register Today »

Related Content

From Our Sponsor

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

Business executives are challenging their IT staffs to convert data centers from cost centers into producers of business value. Data centers can make a significant impact to the bottom line by enabling the business to respond more quickly to market demands. This paper demonstrates, through a series of examples, how data center infrastructure management software tools can simplify operational processes, cut costs, and speed up information delivery.

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Both hot-air and cold-air containment can improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. While both approaches minimize the mixing of hot and cold air, there are practical differences in implementation and operation that have significant consequences on work environment conditions, PUE, and economizer mode hours. The choice of hot-aisle containment over cold-aisle containment can save 43% in annual cooling system energy cost, corresponding to a 15% reduction in annualized PUE. This paper examines both methodologies and highlights the reasons why hot-aisle containment emerges as the preferred best practice for new data centers.

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Traditional methodologies for monitoring the data center environment are no longer sufficient. With technologies such as blade servers driving up cooling demands and regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley driving up data security requirements, the physical environment in the data center must be watched more closely. While well understood protocols exist for monitoring physical devices such as UPS systems, computer room air conditioners, and fire suppression systems, there is a class of distributed monitoring points that is often ignored. This paper describes this class of threats, suggests approaches to deploying monitoring devices, and provides best practices in leveraging the collected data to reduce downtime.

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Rack power of 10 kW per rack or more can result from the deployment of high density information technology equipment such as blade servers. This creates difficult cooling challenges in a data center environment where the industry average rack power consumption is under 2 kW. Five strategies for deploying ultra-high power racks are described, covering practical solutions for both new and existing data centers.

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

High density IT equipment stresses the power density capability of modern data centers. Installation and unmanaged proliferation of this equipment can lead to unexpected problems with power and cooling infrastructure including overheating, overloads, and loss of redundancy. The ability to measure and predict power and cooling capability at the rack enclosure level is required to ensure predictable performance and optimize use of the physical infrastructure resource. This paper describes the principles for achieving power and cooling capacity management.