As more companies apply IT virtualization to improve operational efficiency, unforeseen issues on the physical infrastructure of data centers crop up, such as cooling and power.
These issues will only spike as shown in a study by AMI-Partners which finds that the SMB cloud market is growing 1.5 times faster than any ICT technology in the Philippines and Asia Pacific region. The study also estimates that a total of US$16.5 billion will be spent on cloud computing solutions among SMEs in the region.
APC InfraStruxure (ISX) by Schneider Electric’s, an award-winning comprehensive data center solution for virtualization and cloud computing, helps solve physical infrastructure issues of data centers by combining power, cooling, and data center management.
High power density
Cooling problems arise when certain server racks grouped together produce more heat due to higher energy consumption. Physically grouping the servers would create localized hot spots. Data center operators often make costly upgrades or replacement of their present cooling systems with better solutions.
Another common method is to spread out the equipment to reduce the amount of heat produced in a single area. This approach has its downsides including increase in needed floor space, higher cabling costs and a probable energy efficiency reduction due to underutilized half-filled cooled racks.
A more efficient solution is to segregate higher and lower density equipment in different areas. Higher density equipment will be provided with their own cooling systems resulting in better physical space utilization and manageable cooling.
Effects on power usage effectiveness (PUE) from lower IT load
While it is true that virtualization reduces power consumption, some cooling and power infrastructure are left alone even after virtualization. This causes “fixed losses” wherein the same amount of power and cooling is used regardless of what the IT load is. Overall, Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is significantly affected.
To boost PUE after virtualization, the data center’s infrastructure efficiency must first be improved by optimizing power and cooling systems. This will be achieved by avoiding oversizing and aligning the data center’s capacity with the newer load, which will lead to reduction in energy waste and reduced costs in the electric bill.
Dynamic IT loads
IT loads in highly virtualized environments will vary in time and location. A large cloud-based data center could have huge IT load changes in comparison to a non-virtualized data center. As such, these IT loads could be large enough to potentially cause capacity issues. This is a concern that requires the help of an automated system.
Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) and virtual machine (VM) tools exist now to help data center operators manage the IT loads of their virtualized infrastructure. Communication between the VM manager and DCIM software ensures that physical servers and storage arrays get the right power and cooling wherever and whenever the need arises.
Having long-term strategies in implementing virtualization will greatly benefit not just the data center owners but also the associate companies and clients that the business deals with. Implementing DCIM solutions will ensure greater reliability, efficiency, and with much higher flexibility to meet highly dynamic compute power demand.
APC ISX by Schneider Electric ensures that customers remain efficient in adopting virtualization. ISX combines ISX Operations, an application that allows for better real-time data center management; ISX Capacity, which helps manage and right-size data centers; and ISX Change that helps generate all data center changes required to drive efficiency. In addition, ISX is also integrated with VMware vSphere to allow for a cloud-based management system that further drives efficiency for IT managers. All these solutions are geared towards driving efficiency.