The move to support high-density data center configurations is progressing and working with a colocation provider can prove integral in supporting such plans. The idea of high-density data centers goes back a long way, but meaningful progress toward this end really kicks into gear with the data center consolidation movement. Just a few years ago many businesses began to eliminate the many small server rooms and data closets in their offices and replace them with centralized data centers that feature all of the solutions needed to support day-to-day functionality. This initial movement has progressed to the point that high-density configurations are becoming more common.
Virtualization got the consolidation effort started. At first, the virtualization trend was a boon to IT leaders because they could move their physically disparate servers onto a smaller number of virtualized systems in a consolidated data center. Then cloud computing started to rise and the move toward consolidation took on even more steam. After all, being able to move some apps and services into the cloud made consolidation even easier. However, a few emerging trends have combined to make these early consolidation plans tricky.
Increased video use, widespread mobile device use and big data have come together to make efforts toward consolidation nightmarish. Sure, you can still virtualize more machines, build public and private clouds, move away from small data closets and work toward consolidation, but the day-to-day data burden is so great that this process is incredibly challenging. High-density computing architectures are the solution to this problem. Increasing system and data density makes consolidation possible, even in an IT world dominated by video, mobile devices and big data. However, the facility challenges brought on by high-density workflows are severe. This makes data center colocation a prime option when increasing system density. Here are a few key reasons why:
1. Increased power capacities
Colocation providers build their facilities with power flexibility in mind. Their entire architecture is created with the purpose of handling large amounts of energy from the start and being able to expand over time. Because of this, colocation vendors are often uniquely positioned to support high-density workloads because they are among the few organizations that regularly have enough power being delivered to their sites to actually meet the energy demands of such workloads.
Furthermore, colocation providers often support a network of interconnected facilities, having both an Austin and a Dallas data center to support customers in Texas, for example. This makes it easier to meet the needs of especially demanding clients by giving them access to space in multiple facilities without sacrificing service quality or access to management tools.
2. Better power delivery
Having access to a large amount of energy will have limited benefits if organizations do not also have the ability to get energy to their systems quickly and efficiently. Power delivery systems can sap small amounts of power during transmission and face significant limitations in how much energy they can deliver to a rack at any time. Organizations that want to support high-density computing need to overcome these issues and make sure they are getting as much power to each rack as possible.
Colocation providers are, for the most part, focused on delivering advanced performance capabilities in an energy efficient way. This results in an environment in which most colocation facilities already feature sophisticated power delivery systems that can support high-density computing without trouble.
3. High-performance interconnects
Getting information from the data center to operator networks is an incredibly important component of application and database performance. In high-density computing setups, more information is residing in less physical space, leading to more data moving through less network infrastructure. The colocation industry started to reach big-time status by supporting automated, high-frequency trading, so building sophisticated interconnects that eliminate latency is a primary competency across the sector. This results in colocation providers offering the network functionality needed to support high-density architectures.
4. Power diversity
We’ve been talking a great deal about energy, but with good reason. Power limitations are among the most significant factors that make hosting high-density systems internally difficult. You don’t just need a lot of power to have success. Just getting energy to systems efficiently won’t be enough to ensure consistent operations. You also need to make sure you have access to a variety of power sources available. The energy demands of high-density computing are such that just having one redundancy in the energy system may not be enough. For example, switching to backup generators when the utility system fails may not get the job done because those generators would be sapped of fuel too quickly trying to meet the demands of high-density architectures.
In many cases, colocation providers will source power from multiple locations – often a combination of different utility providers, local energy generation sources and on-site power plants – to make sure their customers have constant access to reliable, efficient power.
High-density computing is rising in data center environments, and colocation providers are well equipped to meet this trend head on.