One answer to this question is virtualisation of data centre resources. Virtualisation technology has been a rising star in the U.K. IT channel for a number of years and is being adopted by more and more managers nationwide. It provides a simple answer to the conundrum of how to do more with less.
Storage virtualisation and the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
Take storage virtualisation as an example. Disparate storage drives become complex and time consuming to manage. As a result, total storage capacity is often underutilised. Greedy applications demand excess dedicated space, necessitating increased expenditure on new storage devices. In some cases, on further inspection and analysis, organisations find they are only using around 50% of their available storage even though they have obviously paid a 100% price tag. This results in considerable excess spend on operating costs, including associated power and cooling requirements as companies end up buying additional storage: an unacceptable situation.
Now virtualisation comes to the fore. The savvy data centre manager is able to group and allocate the available storage provisions using virtualisation software, maximising the resources available. The network can then present a unified storage pool to applications, resulting in increased management capabilities.
Every newly built data centre will soon incorporate the technology; expect to see it in a data centre near you as the CRC necessitates carbon savings across the board.
David Galton-Fenzi, group sales and marketing director, Zycko,
I/O virtualisation and the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
The next advancement was server and application virtualisation. Virtual servers powered virtual applications that were saving data to virtual storage drives. A fantastic increase in efficiency, but the natural result was data congestion and input/output (I/O) bottlenecks as cables and network switches struggled to cope with the increased loads.
Virtualising the increased data throughput permits businesses to take full advantage of existing resources. This technique allows the data centre manager to instantly reduce capital expenditure by 70%, as the need for additional cabling, switches and HBA's (Network Fabric) is dramatically reduced.
Improved management capability is another key advantage and one synonymous with virtualised services. I/O virtualisation enables faster moves and additions in the server environment allowing for greater flexibility and therefore increased optimisation. It is also now possible, with the reduction in hardware, to decrease associated power and cooling requirements by up to 30% -- a significant saving that, in light of the CRC, will prove financially and environmentally beneficial.
A technology that allows for 20 GB worth of bandwidth through one cable and gives the data centre manager a complete single-screen view of their I/O resources across all servers cannot be ignored.
Gartner identifies server I/O as a "...huge resource drain for IT departments," and one that we believe can be solved with this virtualised solution. This is one of the most exciting new products of the last five years and the next jump in the evolution of virtualised services. Every newly built data centre will soon incorporate the technology; expect to see it in a data centre near you as the CRC necessitates carbon savings across the board and data centre managers continue in their ongoing quest to do more with less.
David Galton-Fenzi, is the group sales and marketing director at U.K. distributor Zycko and a contributor to SearchVirtualDataCentre.co.uk.
This was first published in May 2010