Say goodbye as we sail towards the bright and promising horizon of where 2013 meets the evolved data center. As data center components become increasingly complex, it is no longer sufficient to rely on utilization trending and growth-centric models to predict the future of these critical environments. In fact, according to Andrew Hillier, co-founder and CTO at CiRBA, it can result in horribly inaccurate predictions of true infrastructure requirements. I was able to sit down with Hillier, and he elaborated on the unique management challenges facing the new year’s “new” data center as it sweeps old school approaches under the rug.
“The modern ecosystem of virtualized infrastructure is far more dynamic and sophisticated than the ‘old school’ approaches many organizations use to govern it,” Hillier explained. “In virtual and cloud environments, the largest impact on capacity tends to be incoming demands from new VM requests, application deployments and physical workloads being virtualized. Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that the ‘new’ data center is much more complex.”
Hillier went on to list a number of new management challenges that the data center currently and will continue to face – all of which will necessitate a more intelligent approach to capacity management, including:
- An accelerated pace of change: Such things as workload mobility and the introduction of new and transient workloads into virtual infrastructure will result in a far more fluid environment, Hillier suggests. Therefore, decisions need to be made much more quickly, seeing how the environment itself is often changing while the decision-making process is underway.
- Shared infrastructure means competition for capacity resources: “With the ability to create high density environments, managing the allocation and sharing of server resources is a critical concern,” Hillier told me. If done poorly, it can lead to such things as performance issues, excessive allocations and increased costs, therefore, IT needs to optimize allocations in order to balance efficiency with performance risk.
- Regulatory and policy compliance: “Another aspect of co-habitation that is challenging is ensuring that workload placements adhere to regulatory requirements and policies,” Hillier says. “For example, in financial institutions, the workloads of researchers and traders typically can’t go on the same physical systems. Beyond regulatory requirements, operational policies also have a role in placement and infrastructure design that require attention.” In light of this, the need for resiliency policies that require workloads and their failover counterparts to be kept on separate physical hosts is critical. Another alternative can be disaster recovery (DR) policies that require capacity to be automatically reserved in remote sites, Hillier adds.
- Workload placement is a major factor in infrastructure requirements: How workloads are placed or fit together on physical infrastructure directly determines how much infrastructure is required, Hillier explains, likening it to a game of Tetris in which different shapes and sizes of game pieces need to be fit properly together to make the best possible use of the game board. “Virtual workloads are no different than those game pieces, and servers are the game boards. By understanding their patterns and personalities, you can fit them together in a way that safely increases density.” Conversely, poorly placed workloads will either increase performance risk or leave capacity stranded, which will ultimately waste resources and valuable IT budget.
Bottom line: When it comes to efficiently handling these various factors to determine where to place workloads, how to allocate resources to individual workloads and how much infrastructure is really requires, trend lines simply don’t cut it, Hillier reasons.
“Organizations need to evolve in thinking about the management challenges that exist in order to effectively address them. They also need to completely change the way they look at capacity management if they want to achieve the benefits of virtualization and cloud,” he concludes.
What does Hillier see changing in 2013 regarding how organizations manage these environments to overcome these challenges? To find out, you’ll have to check back in next week for part two!
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Rich Steeves