7 Cool Data Center Innovations - InformationWeek

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8/2/2016
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7 Cool Data Center Innovations

We've identified seven key innovations being integrated into data centers to further expand capabilities -- or to provide vastly improved efficiencies in terms of energy consumption. Here's what you need to know.
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(Image: scanrail/iStockphoto)

(Image: scanrail/iStockphoto)

Data centers are like snowflakes -- no two are exactly the same. Sure, they may all consist of similar building blocks, but each one is put together differently -- and each is designed with different priorities in mind. As time goes on, those differences continue to grow.

Computing needs and power consumption are the two primary driving forces causing data centers to be built with ever more customization. As the world's demand for data center facilities continues to expand, we see a departure from traditional data centers and a movement toward the next-gen data center, guided by several new innovations.

We've identified seven key innovations being integrated into data centers to further expand capabilities -- or to provide vastly improved efficiency in terms of energy consumption.

When we look at an expansion of capabilities, you'll find that the traditional, massive, and isolated data center structures to which we've grown accustomed are no longer meeting today's needs in terms of mobility, redundancy, and flexibility. Cloud computing, the internet of things (IoT), automation, and borderless security are among the technology movements forcing these types of changes to data centers.

Energy savings is a focus for many data center innovations. The old-school method of using inefficient and expensive air conditioning is no longer a suitable option in today's world.

Many great minds have been hard at work figuring out ways to cool computing components using far less electricity -- or sometimes using no electricity at all. It's interesting how these power-saving methods range dramatically from very simple -- almost painfully obvious methods -- to using advanced software intelligence techniques that are truly groundbreaking.

What does the data center of the future look like? Why? Once you've reviewed these seven key data center innovations, tell us what you imagine in the comments section below.

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/2/2016 | 8:51:24 AM
Cooling data centers
I think several of these will be interesting to watch, namely Facebook's free cooling via ocean breeze and underwater data centers.  Salt being as corrosive as it is would worry me when it comes to sealing up a data center and lowering it into the ocean, one little leak and it would get ugly fast.  The maintenance on Facebook's ocean breeze solution has to be much higher than a traditional HVAC system but the overall cost could be much lower than powering and maintaining traditional systems.  I think we'll see more in rack/close coupled cooling will become the norm in large data centers as the systems continue to gain efficiency but I also see more companies going to micro data centers.  I've cut the size of our data center down to just 1/4 of what it was 10 years ago while running more services and servicing more users. I suspect a lot of other folks are doing this too.  If I had to spin up enough hardware that I'd need to reclaim some of that space I would take a very serious look at carving out a small space away from the current data center to save on floor space and allow for smaller cooling systems.
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