Business Information and the Cloud

I've seen a lot of changes in business computing over the last three 
decades. Once upon a time, all you needed was a large enough closet to 
house a server or two. And, of course, some cable looms to keep your 
cabling neat and tidy.<br><br>A rack system on the wall supported a few 
ethernet switches to handle incoming cables and route them to the 
servers. To keep things cool, an air conditioner was ducted into the 
space, ensuring the equipment wouldn't overheat. PANDUIT Corporation

Steve Maurer, IME

I've seen a lot of changes in business computing over the last three decades. Once upon a time, all you needed was a large enough closet to house a server or two. And, of course, some cable looms to keep your cabling neat and tidy.

A rack system on the wall supported a few ethernet switches to handle incoming cables and route them to the servers. To keep things cool, an air conditioner was ducted into the space, ensuring the equipment wouldn't overheat.

That was our first datacomm "center." And while the location was moved to a larger, more centralized room, the equipment expanded quickly. Our UPS (uninterruptible power supply) morphed from a small unit — purchased at a local electronics store — into a stack of 3' by 3' by 10" monster batteries.

Changes in cloud computing and building management
Our facility was a small part of a much larger corporation. And as computing power and data/information management increased, so did the requirements for data centers.

As a worldwide company, data processing and storage inevitably moved to the cloud. And with that, to a new data center. Built several miles from the corporate headquarters, an underground facility now safeguards and distributes sensitive company information. Row after row of self-ventilated, self-cooling racks house a myriad of servers and other data management devices.

Obviously, we've outgrown our closets.

Well, maybe not entirely. Older datacomm rooms now serve a different function in many locations. Integrated building management equipment is now stored in many of them.

To increase building efficiency and control costs, utility management computers now fill these rooms. Software and sensors monitor building occupancy, ambient temperature, and lighting usage. Heat and air-conditioning, and even window shades become increasingly computer-operated.

The age of the smart building has arrived, along with cloud computing. And the products used in datacenter is more sophisticated than ever before.

In the next article, we'll look at some of the newer products. They've changed from mere cable ties and wire looms into more complex systems. Systems that might look more at home on science fiction starships.


Photo courtesy of PANDUIT Corporation