Data centres to get smart

The next generation of data centres will need to be 'intelligent, automated and efficient' according to an Intel exec

The next-generation data centre 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 in Singapore on Thursday, William Wu, Intel's Asia-Pacific regional marketing manager for server platforms, noted that the complexities and challenges faced by data centres today are driving the need for the next generation of data centres to be "intelligent, automated and efficient".

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

"No one's supposed to go into the data centre [and] you can do everything remotely," he explained. "There must be a lot of intelligence in [the data centre]... [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 centre."

In addition, next-generation data centres should not be illuminated, Wu noted. Lights generate heat, he said, adding that data-centre 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 centres 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 customise 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 centres are likely to appear between two and five years' time.