Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Meet Your DataCenter - An Overview

There has been a buzz about Cloud computing, Virtualizations, etc, but whats behind all this? Its your DataCenter. The very first thing  you need to keep in mind is your DataCenter should be Scalable, flexible, adaptable and most important cost-effective. You need to plan even the unseen demands on resources like electrical power and cooling, as it can increase costs and lead to performance issues if not fulfilled or even outages.

The physical layer of datacenter is the base upon which all network, storage, servers resources sits, further which gives platforms to business critical applications or even platforms like virtualization or cloud computing.

DCPI or DataCenter Physical Infrastructure is a one layer below the computing later i.e. our servers, storage and network. It involves the following components:

·    Power: It consists of multiple components which make the power distribution possible across datacenter. These components are  - The Generators, Batteries, UPS, Serge Protectors, Transformers, Distribution Panels and Circuit Breakers. This is the only components which hasn’t changed much over decades, now I am not referring to the ways we generate them or monitor them but the components itself haven’t changed much. When originally the power distribution components were designed, their principles were not actually meant for IT infrastructures, which lead to the challenges as mentioned below. It is clear that why integration of components of the power system started to move towards pre-engineered and manufactured solutions like Modular and Scalable components.

·   Cooling: It involves the system which removes or overcomes the heat from the datacenter. This involves chillers, cooling towers, condensers, duct work, pumps, piping and rack level distributions. Just like Power, evening cooling system haven’t emerged or changed much over these years which lead to the same  challenges as faced in Power. There has been a change in how cooling was done in past few years, though this technologies have not been much adapted yet in market.

·    Racks: Racks are the cabinet which holds the equipment. These racks should be considered and designed during design phase of datacenter.  The old standards for Racks were IEC 297-3 for mechanical dimensions while EIA 310 for  rack mounting of Telecomm and IT equipment. These days mostly TIA941 has been considered as Standard. Mostly 42U racks are considered as standard and all equipment including server, storage or network are designed  to kept in standard racks.  A detailed article is already published on this blog as “Rack Fundamentals"

·      Physical Security/Fire Protections: This includes physical security devices at rack and datacenter level e.g. keys (commonly used), biometric, codes or access cards while Fire protection system includes smoke detectors, clean agents or heat detection sensors. These days they are mandate when it comes to standardizing the datacenter. NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) established in 1896, imposes standards, codes, research, training and education worldwide to reduce fire and other hazards scientifically. NFPA-75 is the standard for the protection of electronic computer or data processing equipment.

·        Cabling: This is most when it comes to designing and managing datacenter, this includes all data cables and power cables within datacenter. Some best practices for cabling are:
o   Overhead deployments to make sure there is
o   Underfoot deployments
o   Rack installation with guidance cables
o   Do not tie or hang cables
o   Testing of cables before installation
o   Most important, Label these cables to trace back.
o   Power cabling best practice are available I National Electric Code, under continuous load cables
o   Cables should not be undersized or stretched
o   Use cable raise rather preferring raised floors
 A detailed article is already published on this blog as “Cabling Strategies” 

·     Management: Managing the datacenter includes Building Management System (BMS), Network Management System (NMS), and Enterprise Management System (EMS), Element Managers and other software and hardware. A detailed article is already published on this blog as “Managing your Datacenter” in three parts

·         Services: To perform several operations in DataCenter, many services are required to support DCPI which includes – Consulting and design, Installation, Maintenance, Monitoring and Decommission services.
Integration of these aspects are taken care in the Design phase of the DataCenter. Usually, its all about a Plan, which would be Constructed and then Deployed. Be it any component in your computing layer, storage, server or network, they cannot work efficiently till your DCPI works fine. Adding above, there are three more important components which together with DCPI make things work for you. It’s the:

·    People: Well most Important you need to people which appropriate skills and levels of expertise to run the datacenter

·      Process: It includes the Standard Operation Procedures, which should be well documented as well. A detailed article is already published on this blog as “Documenting your Datacenter” 

·     Information Technology: which includes hardware and software used for data processing, storage and communication

Note that more detailed articles will be published on above topics, this was just an overview.  In my next article, we will start looking at individual components of DataCenter.

Any more questions? please write back or comment here. There are more things to share.. 

Request you to join my group on Facebook & LinkedIN with name "DataCenterPro" to get regular updates. I am also available on Tweeter as @_anubhavjain. Shortly I am going to launch my own YouTube channel for free training videos on different technologies as well. 

Happy Learning!!

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