The Next-Generation Data Center
The data center is undergoing a three-stage evolution. Are you ready?
There was a time when all roads led to the data center. As the provisioning point of network, storage, and compute services, the enterprise data center was located at the center of the mission-critical functionality universe for one simple reason: The cost of provisioning large-scale, centralized (i.e., standardized) services to hundreds or thousands of users was so prohibitively high that it could only be managed by physically collocating those required resources in a common place.
Today, however, all that has changed. Demands are increasing for operational efficiencies, sustainable business operations, dynamic service diversification, and cost competitiveness. These demands put the data center in the crosshairs of corporate scrutiny as its importance becomes greater than ever.
The role of the data center
While the role of the data center remains much the same as it has always been, the manner in which it fulfills that role is evolving rapidly. To satisfy today’s demands, a dichotomy of sorts emerges in the domain of data center architecture and operating philosophy. On the one hand, there is a convergence under way that is leading to the emergence of what many term the “megascale data center,” a center that provides computing, storage, and communications infrastructure on a large-scale basis.
At the same time, we see the emergence of distributed and remote data center operations in response to the pervasiveness and success of the cloud model. This situation leads to the challenge of integrating remote cloud services into the enterprise data center, which now needs to start looking more like an internal or local cloud service provider, and thus adds a whole new array of challenges to the business of providing data center services.
The driving forces
"While the role of the data
center remains much the
same as it has always been, the manner in
which it fulfills that role is evolving rapidly."
So what is driving this evolution? The primary force behind this evolution is the largely unanticipated, but extremely fast growth of unstructured data and a related demand for rich media, both of which put tremendous pressure on storage and computing resources. Secondary is the inexorable pressure placed on IT organizations to adjust their operating budgets to reflect more effective economies of scale and operational efficiencies in response to data center evolution. And third is the growing availability of commodity Ethernet switching hardware, central to the seamless architecture of the next-generation data center.
In response to these forces, the data center is undergoing a three-stage evolution. First is the evolution of the computing substrate, which includes server virtualization and the ability to move workload and applications via live migration of virtual machines. For the most part, the fundamental building blocks for this stage are already in place.
Second is the evolution of the storage substrate, which includes globalization and virtualization of storage resources as well as the functional convergence of storage area networks (SANs) and network-attached storage (NAS). This stage of the evolution is under way now. Finally, in the third stage, we see the need to evolve the underlying networking substrate.
Given these powerful forces in action – an ever-increasing demand for data, quickly evolving technologies, and concerns about finding more economically attractive (and environmentally responsible) solutions – the next-generation data center has become a very attractive option.
LSI and the next-generation data center
LSI is an active participant in bringing the next-generation data center to market with our Axxia Communication Processor
family and StarPro SP27 media processor
family, as well as our solid-state-based storage solutions like the LSI WarpDrive SLP-300 PCI Express solid-state storage card.