HireRight--a provider of cloud-based, on-demand employment screening programs--in collaboration with Cisco and EMC has implemented green technology while launching a refresh to its data center infrastructure. The company says the new deployment increases performance by 50%, decreases power consumption by 45%, and reduces data center square footage by 60%.
The impetus to create the new infrastructure was based on HireRight's plans for continued global growth and green initiatives, the company says. Previously, it utilized more than twice as many data centers around the globe to support its worldwide customer base and maintains its SaaS software on one external cloud and one internal cloud. "We are on a steep growth curve, so rather than throw servers on racks, we started looking at a five-year plan," explains Mark Adams, VP of IT, HireRight, of the decision to consolidate. "On the green side of things, our strategy aligned really well to virtualize to a smaller footprint."
The company started with 10 data centers worldwide and will pare that down to four by the end of the year, he says. "We are going to a fully blade, fully virtualized model."
With smarter designs and green pressures, data center managers and designers have begun to focus on the compute density in their environments, according to Gartner. Most data centers are woefully underutilized from a space perspective. The physical floor space may be nearing capacity, but in many cases, the actual compute space within racks and servers is very poorly used, with average rack densities approaching just 60% worldwide, it reports.
Newer designs focus on this issue and are developed to allow optimal rack density, often approaching 85% to 90%, on average, thus increasing the compute-per-square-foot ratio dramatically. The advent of private cloud environments and resource pooling will provide methods to enhance vertical scalability in the data center, while at the same time improving the productivity-per-kilowatt ratio. Gartner predicts that by 2018, data center space requirements will be only 40% of what they are today.
Regardless of their size, many companies are moving to server virtualization as a logical way to control server sprawl and increasing complexity in the data center. Blade servers provide several advantages over traditional tower and rack-mount servers. The blade server's modular, future-proof design provides scalability and lets companies build and grow their infrastructure over time, according to the InformationWeek white paper, Blade Servers: Easier Management, Better Power Usage and Quicker ROI.
Blade servers also optimize the use of physical space and require 40% less power consumption than a traditional infrastructure, according to the November 2011 paper. They are also energy-efficient, with pooled power and cooling and group power optimization, thus making overall utilization "more efficient, allowing server consolidation and better use of data center space. Blade servers significantly ease the management burden, via unified system management controls for groups of servers, storage and networking."