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The Cloud Starts At The Data Center

With so many cloud services, employees are getting their piece of the cloud from all sorts of vendors. New methods of backup, desktop virtualization, and application delivery are propelling the cloud forward. At the same time, data centers everywhere are pushing -- hard -- to keep up.

It’s no wonder so many data center providers all over the world are saying it’s good to be in the data center business right now. Yet, in working with the cloud, many DC managers forget where these services originate and where the cloud is really housed.

Where’s that? The data center!

That’s one reason the pressure for an on-demand data center infrastructure is leading companies to adapt to new workloads, increase their bandwidth, and explore infrastructure multi-tenancy. Here are three example of what I mean.

New ways to network
This is all about network efficiency and software-defined networking. By virtualizing the networking layer, data centers can 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 connections all from one network controller further enhances cloud connectivity. Logical network segmentation will allow data centers to thrive by providing dedicated services from intelligent switching technologies.

More ways to consolidate
High-density computing has played a big role in the data center’s movement to the cloud. Converged platforms from Hewlett-Packard and unified computing systems from Cisco 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.

Green computing
Is it just me, or has the power effectiveness usage (PUE) rating been dropping rapidly? Oh good -- I’m glad you noticed, too. In moving to cloud platforms and providing cloud services, the data center environment became a focal point for new resource demands. So, the datacenter began to deploy more efficient technologies to support more users and run more economically.

In fact, the folks at Google have been bragging. According to Google, as of Q2 2012, the trailing twelve-month energy-weighted average PUE for all Google data centers was only 1.12, making its data centers among the most efficient in the world.

These new demands mean new kinds of opportunities in both large enterprises and niche markets. For example, if you’re looking for a PCI DSS certified data center provider, the list isn’t long. However, the folks at Rackspace jumped on that bandwagon quickly and got some good business.

Here’s the thing: There’s going to be even more emphasis on the datacenter. Just take a look at what’s happening with BYOD, IT consumerization, and, of course, big data. So, how is your datacenter going to continue to keep up?