We spoke to Nikhil Rathi, CEO and Nishant Rathi, President, Web Werks to understand new data center technologies and key aspects to be considered before establishing a new data center
The tremendous growth in data center technology is not only changing our lives but our working environments as well. In the past few years various disruptive developments have impacted different industries and now most of the businesses are adopting new data center tech for business benefit.
Deployment of new data center tech requires in-depth knowledge and analysis of current and upcoming business needs to make it future ready. Web Werks operates Tier 3 and Tier 4 carrier-neutral data centers in India and the US, since 1996. Web Werks is now on the verge of launching ultrafast SSD only cloud solutions as well as SSD based dedicated servers in India.
When should a CIO start the journey towards a software-defined data center?
The software defined data center transformation should be planned when a CIO has existing workload patterns already mapped and most of the corporate machines are now virtualized or on bare metal servers that allow hybrid clouds. Whether the data center is in-house or at a hosted site, the SDD can exist at any location. The CIO should take into consideration a 2 year plan on the expansion requirements by provisioning sufficient compute and storage resources. The advantages of keeping this in a professional external data center means the CIO can have access to on-demand support, bandwidth and other resources for future expansion without having to go for costly retrofits to the in-house data center.
What are the best practices to successfully design, build, manage and support a data center?
Data centers are critical to a company’s operations and it is imperative that the maximum time be spent on the design phase . A careful plan needs to be laid out keeping in mind future expansion needs in terms of power and cooling which require major shutdowns to add. Use of data center consultants is essential during the design phase. A modular approach can be planned if there is sufficient area where ramping up means adding a module of 10 more racks in the separate pod without affecting a running setup. Care should be taken in ensuring reporting sensors at every part so that different parts like cooling, UPS and environment can be monitored locally and remotely. Once planned the DC should at best be built keeping in mind vendors who will be able to provide 24×7 support. For example choosing a cooling vendor in the proximity as precision cooling ensures that the reaction time and spares are available in case of a breakdown. Brand reputation, green features and considerations such as hot and cold aisle setups should be used to ensure DC efficiency. Depending on the size and requirement a dedicated team of professionals in-house 24×7 OR outsourced remote team can be used to monitor all aspects of the data center.
How to transform a data center to prepare for the IoT challenge?
The IoT represents hundreds or thousands of devices connected to the data center. This requires good amount of bandwidth depending on size. So the following points must be kept in mind:
- Diverse transports or transit providers – if your bandwidth is down the devices cannot communicate.
- Routing and switching equipment that can take the excess load
- Firewalls which can handle more simultaneous connections and encryption depending on the no. of devices envisaged
- Load balancers which allow seamless expansion of servers in the backend
- Multiple servers adequately sized to handle the workload
- Health and monitoring of all equipment including the building management.
- 24×7 Monitoring and support since IOT gear will communicate 24×7
- Avoid excessive virtualization and use bare metal when required.
It is advisable to use a professional data center provider instead of building it on your own because most of the above resources are already present and/or maintained for multiple customers saving substantial cost on the build, management and upkeep of the data center. Focus can be on running the IOT platform rather than managing the data center.
What should one choose: inhouse or hosted data center services?
This depends on your operation size and company policies but usually using a professional data center hosting service is better than building your own. A data center run demands resources in people, clean power, devices network/ UPS, building management systems, precision cooling systems, diverse telecom providers, security systems, fire fighting equipment and many more depending on the needs. Usually, all these are already built into professional data centers and the cost is offset by sharing of resources by multiple customers. This not only saves high CAPEX but also ensures lower OPEX because the staff running the day to day management of the data center is also shared.
Furthermore, electrical efficiencies are achieved when there are diverse users of power in a data center and being critical for many customers the data center provider is responsible for maintaining 24×7 tech, building and network support.
Moreover being at one location and with many customers ensures access to many telecom operators at lower costs because they do not have to build separate access to each customer. Even access to on-demand resources like bandwidth, backup and support is quicker because the data center may already be providing this to many customers. Therefore, unless a company has and is compelled to have its own data center or for reasons of scale they cannot go outside it is usually best to go for purchasing data center hosting services.