Data Centers Part 2 — Challenges and Solutions

In a previous article, I mentioned the first "data center" I ever encountered... a closet in a hallway.<br><div>Times
 have changed as the sheer volume of data has increased. And, so have 
the infrastructures that house it. Data centers are vast repositories of
 pretty much every piece of information used to run and maintain 
business operations.</div> Panduit

Steve Maurer, IME

In a previous article, I mentioned the first "data center" I ever encountered... a closet in a hallway.

Times have changed as the sheer volume of data has increased. And, so have the infrastructures that house it. Data centers are vast repositories of pretty much every piece of information used to run and maintain business operations.

While a closet with a few racks might have been adequate in the past, that's no longer the case. And with the increase in data and equipment, there are new challenges to be resolved.

Some are:

  • Connectivity, not just between servers and computers, but between technologies as well. From copper to fiber to wireless, everything must communicate.
  • Heat and cooling issues abound. Everything that's powered electrically generates heat. This must be controlled.
  • Security is of utmost importance. Not just physical control of equipment, but virtual control of the data as well.
  • Of course, ease of scalability is crucial as more equipment must be added to handle the spiraling influx of more and more data.
The importance of the physical infrastructure's design can't be overemphasized. It has a significant impact on the reliability and efficiency of operations. There are myriad components and elements to consider:

  • Cable pathways throughout the system and facility
  • Electrical distribution, along with grounding and bonding
  • Cable management to ensure quick, reliable troubleshooting
  • Physical security and safety concerns for employees
  • Ease of identification to tag systems and spot issues efficiently
Of course, the infrastructure's design must ensure that products can be housed compatibly, regardless of manufacturer or technology.

While some cabinets might be designed for a specific purpose like power distribution or environmental control, many serve multiple roles.

Some manufacturers are developing products to increase data center efficiency and security, from the cabinets used to the software solutions that provide monitoring services. They provide homogenous solutions that ensure everything works as one.


Photo courtesy of Panduit

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