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Data centers to get smart

The next-generation data centers will be characterized by intelligence, automation and efficiency, according to an Intel executive.

SINGAPORE--The next-generation data center is likely to be one that is able to support automation and provide high efficiencies, describes an Intel executive.

Speaking to ZDNet Asia at IDC's InfraVision conference held here Thursday, William Wu, Intel's Asia-Pacific regional marketing manager for server platforms, noted that the complexities and challenges faced by data centers today are driving the need for the next generation of data centers to be "intelligent, automated and efficient".

Wu went on to describe a generation of intelligent data centers that have the ability to run on its own, requiring "very little human intervention". So little, in fact, that the only time manual labor will be needed is when new servers are installed, he added.

"No one's supposed to go into the data center [and] you can do everything remotely," he explained. "There must be a lot of intelligence in [the data center]...[to] be able to predict what's going on, what's the next requirement, what's the next failure... Fundamentally, that should be the future of the data center."

In addition, next-generation data centers should not be illuminated, Wu noted. Lights generate heat, he said, adding that data center administrators will then have to look at ways to cool down the heat.

However, he noted that "there is still a long journey" ahead for data centers to reach that level of sophistication. "Some of the technologies available today can [be] used to achieve that, [but] some of them are not ready yet," Wu said.

"For example, if I want to run everything out of DC [power], today, I can't buy a server [that uses DC]. I have to customize it," he said. "So, it'll be very nice if, eventually, the market comes out with some kind of standard that can be purchased from any [server] vendor."

Another technology that is "critically missing" is the automation of line migration, he said, referring to the migration of one server to another sever without interrupting the application.

"This technology itself can enable a lot of wonderful things for IT, but it's not quite there yet today," Wu said.

The Intel executive predicts that the first of these next-generation data centers are likely to appear between two and five years' time.