I’ve blogged previously on the impact that cloud is having on innovations in the data centre. It’s a constantly evolving story – and one that keeps most of us in the industry on the edge of our seats, reflecting just how deep and pervasive cloud computing has become in the IT enterprise landscape.
Some of these data centre advancements include rethinking how data centres are cooled, including floor design to optimise cooling and airflow, and new concepts such as solar power. The changes are fundamentally necessary and the equation is simple; data centres are costly to run so design needs to be more efficient.
To date, data centres have essentially been put together with an assembled collection of standardised components. But as the industry moves forward we’re set to see an integrated aggregation of best-of-breed technologies, for example, custom-designed servers and cabling innovations, offering solutions that are less expensive than existing fibre-optic products.
Taken together, these component innovations will enable more efficient data centres. However, that said, the fundamental requirements for next-generation data centres need to be addressed. At the server level these are higher levels of energy efficiency, lower power consumption and greater performance. If we get these components right there is a positive follow-on effect, for example, cooling requirements are not as onerous.
The beauty of cloud computing is that it has posed significant enough challenges to the prevailing order that major vendors and service providers are literally tearing up the rule book as to what we can and can’t do. When I read reports from the major analyst firms, read the news on ZDNet, and speak with my peers it’s obvious that cloud is more than just a new delivery paradigm. It’s a whole new motivator for the industry to exceed its own expectations and capabilities on a regular basis.
The release of Intel’s Intel Xeon processor E5 family this week is a good example of innovation, so I hope you’ll forgive my taking a moment to explore this announcement, but I believe the technological advancements we have worked to achieve will become the foundation stones of next-generation data centres.
Let me qualify this – Xeon E5 offers a staggering 80 percent performance improvement over the Intel Xeon processor 5600 series, which is currently a popular choice for data centre servers, with significant improvements in energy efficiency and I/O thruput. For users, this means dramatically reducing compute time on large complex data sets, which is coupled with performance that scales up and down when it’s needed. Security, flexibility and manageability are all accelerated to meet the growing demand from the cloud. Interestingly, we’re also seeing an increased usage of our Xeon processors within the storage infrastructure of data centres – providing a consistent processor architecture across both compute and storage workloads.
So the cloud may be giving many CIOs sleepless nights as to whether they take the plunge and shift some or part of their infrastructure in this new and exciting direction. But you can be assured that on the other side of the equation, there are just as many of us with minds racing as to how we keep up with this ferocious rate of progress.