The rise of the digital economy has promoted the rapid and vigorous development of industries like cloud computing, Internet of Things, and big data, which have put forward higher requirements for data centers. The drawbacks of traditional data centers have emerged gradually, which are increasingly unable to meet the needs of the market. The prefabricated containerized data center meets the current market demand and will usher in a period of rapid development.
What Is a Containerized Data Center?
A containerized data center comes equipped with data center infrastructures housed in a container. There are different types of containerized data centers, ranging from simple IT containers to comprehensive all-in-one systems integrating the entire physical IT infrastructure.
Generally, a containerized data center includes networking equipment, servers, cooling system, UPS, cable pathways, storage devices, lighting and physical security systems.
Pros of Containerized Data Centers
Portability & Durability
Containerized data centers are fabricated in a manufacturing facility and shipped to the end-user in containers. Due to the container appearance, they are flexible to move and cost-saving compared to traditional data centers. What’s more, containers are dustproof, waterproof, and shock-resistant, making containerized data centers suitable for various harsh environments.
Unlike traditional data centers with limited flexibility and difficult management, containerized data centers are prefabricated and pretested at the factory, and are transported to the deployment site for direct set-up. With access to utility power, network and water, the data center can work well. Therefore, the on-site deployment period for containerized data centers is substantially shortened to 2~3 months, demonstrating rapid and flexible deployment.
Containerized data centers are designed for energy efficiency, which effectively limits ongoing operational costs. They enable power and cooling systems to match capacity and workload well, improving work efficiency and reducing over-configuration. More specifically, containerized data centers adopt in-row cooling systems to deliver air to adjacent hotspots with strict airflow management, which greatly improves cold air utilization, saves space and electricity costs in the server room, and reduces power usage efficiency (PUE).
Because of its unique modular design, a containerized data center is easy to install and scale up. More data centers can be added to the modular architecture of containerized data centers according to the requirements to optimize the IT configuration in a data center. With high scalability, containerized data centers can meet the changing demands of the organization rapidly and effortlessly.
Cons of Containerized Data Centers
Limited Computing Performance: Although it contains the entire IT infrastructure, a containerized data center still lacks the same computing capability as a traditional data center.
Low Security: Isolated containerized data centers are more vulnerable to break-ins than data center buildings. And without numerous built-in redundancies, an entire containerized data center can be shut down by a single point of failure.
Lack of Availability: It is challenging and expensive to provide utilities and networks for containerized data centers placed in edge areas.
Despite some shortcomings, containerized data centers have obvious advantages over traditional data centers. From the perspective of both current short-term investment and future long-term operating costs, containerized data centers have become the future trend of data center construction at this stage.
Over the years, the Internet of Things and IoT devices have grown tremendously, effectively boosting productivity and accelerating network agility. This technology has also elevated the adoption of edge computing while ushering in a set of advanced edge devices. By adopting edge computing, computational needs are efficiently met since the computing resources are distributed along the communication path, i.e., via a decentralized computing infrastructure.
One of the benefits of edge computing is improved performance as analytics capabilities are brought closer to the machine. An edge data center also reduces operational costs, thanks to the reduced bandwidth requirement and low latency.
Below, we’ve explored more about 5G wireless systems and multi-access edge computing (MEC), an advanced form of edge computing, and how both extend cloud computing benefits to the edge and closer to the users. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Multi-Access Edge Computing
Multi-access edge computing (MEC) is a relatively new technology that offers cloud computing capabilities at the network’s edge. This technology works by moving some computing capabilities out of the cloud and closer to the end devices. Hence data doesn’t travel as far, resulting in fast processing speeds.
Ideally, there are two types of MEC, dedicated MEC and distributed MEC. Dedicated MEC is typically deployed at the customer’s site on a mobile private network and is designed only for one business. On the other hand, distributed MEC is deployed on a public network, either 4G or 5G, and connects shared assets and resources.
With both the dedicated and distributed MEC, applications run locally, and data is processed in real or near real-time. This helps avoid latency issues for faster response rates and decision-making. MEC technology has seen wider adoption in video analytics, augmented reality, location services, data caching, local content distribution, etc.
How MEC and 5G are Changing Different Industries
At the heart of multi-access edge computing are wireless and radio access network technologies that open up different networks to a wide range of innovative services. Today, 5G technology is the ultimate network that supports ultra-reliable low latency communication. It also provides an enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) capability for use cases involving significant data rates such as virtual reality and augmented reality.
That said, 5G use cases can be categorized into three domains, massive IoT, mission-critical IoT, and enhanced mobile broadband. Each of the three categories requires different network features regarding security, mobility, bandwidth, policy control, latency, and reliability.
Why MEC Adoption Is on the Rise
5G MEC adoption is growing exponentially, and there are several reasons why this is the case. One reason is that this technology aligns with the distributed and scalable nature of the cloud, making it a key driver of technical transformation. Similarly, MEC technology is a critical business transformation change agent that offers the opportunity to improve service delivery and even support new market verticals.
Among the top use cases driving the high level of 5G, MEC implementation includes video content delivery, the emergence of smart cities, smart utilities (e.g., water and power grids), and connected cars. This also showcases the significant role MEC plays in different IoT domains. Here’s a quick overview of the primary use cases:
Autonomous vehicles – 5G MEC can help enhance operational functions such as continuous sensing and real-time traffic monitoring. This reduces latency issues and increases bandwidth.
Smart homes – MEC technology can process data locally, boosting privacy and security. It also reduces communication latency and allows for fast mobility and relocation.
AR/VR – Moving computational capabilities and processes to edge amplifies the immersive experience to users, plus it extends the battery-life of AR/VR devices.
Smart energy – MEC resolves traffic congestion issues and delays due to huge data generation and intermittent connectivity. It also reduces cyber-attacks by enforcing security mechanisms closer to the edge.
Getting Started With 5G MEC
One of the key benefits of adopting 5G MEC technology is openness, particularly API openness and the option to integrate third-party apps. Standards compliance and application agility are the other value propositions of multi-access edge computing. Therefore, enterprises looking to benefit from a flexible and open cloud should base their integration on the key competencies they want to achieve.
One of the challenges common during the integration process is hardware platforms’ limitations, as far as scale and openness are concerned. Similarly, deploying 5G MEC technology is costly, especially for small-scale businesses with limited financial backing. Other implementation issues include ecosystem and standards immaturity, software limitations, culture, and technical skillset challenges.
To successfully deploy multi-access edge computing, you need an effective 5G MEC implementation strategy that’s true and tested. You should also consider partnering with an expert IT or edge computing company for professional guidance.
5G MEC Technology: Key Takeaways
Edge-driven transformation is a game-changer in the modern business world, and 5G multi-access edge computing technology is undoubtedly leading the cause. Enterprises that embrace this new technology in their business models benefit from streamlined operations, reduced costs, and enhanced customer experience.
Even then, MEC integration isn’t without its challenges. Companies looking to deploy multi-access edge computing technology should have a solid implementation strategy that aligns with their entire digital transformation agenda to avoid silos.
Over the last decade, developments in cloud computing and an increased demand for flexible IT solutions have led to new technologies that literally transform the traditional data center. Many businesses have moved from physical on-site data centers to virtualized data center solutions as server virtualization has become a common practice.
What Is Data Center Virtualization and How Does it Work?
Data center virtualization is the transfer of physical data centers into digital data centers using a cloud software platform, so that companies can remotely access information and applications.
In a virtualized data center, a virtual server, also called a software-defined data center (SDDC) is created from traditional, physical servers. This process abstracts physical hardware by imitating its processors, operating system, and other resources with help from a hypervisor. A hypervisor (or virtual machine monitor, VMM, virtualizer) is a software that creates and manages a virtual machine. It treats resources such as CPU, memory, and storage as a pool that can be easily reallocated between existing virtual machines or to new ones.
Benefits of Data Center Virtualization
Data center virtualization offers a range of strategic and technological benefits to businesses looking for increased profitability or greater scalability. Here we’ll discuss some of these benefits.
Compared to physical servers, which require extensive and sometimes expensive sourcing and time management, virtual data centers are relatively simpler, quicker, and more economical to set up. Any company that experiences high levels of growth might want to consider implementing a virtualized data center.
It’s also a good fit for companies experiencing seasonal increases in business activity. During peak times, virtualized memory, processing power, and storage can be added at a lesser cost and in a faster timeframe than purchasing and installing components on a physical machine. Likewise, when demand slows, virtual resources can be scaled down to remove unnecessary expenses. All of these are not possible with metal servers.
Before virtualization, everything from common tasks and daily interactions to in-depth analytics and data storage happened at the server level, meaning they could only be accessed from one location. With a strong enough Internet connection, virtualized resources can be accessed when and where they are needed. For example, employees can access data, applications, and services from remote locations, greatly improving productivity outside the office.
Moreover, with help of cloud-based applications such as video conferencing, word processing, and other content creation tools, virtualized servers make versatile collaboration possible and create more sharing opportunities.
Typically outsourced to third-party providers, physical servers are always associated with high management and maintenance. But they will not be a problem in a virtual data center. Unlike their physical counterparts, virtual servers are often offered as pay-as-you-go subscriptions, meaning companies only pay for what they use. By contrast, whether physical servers are used or not, companies still have to shoulder the costs for their management and maintenance. As a plus, the additional functionality that virtualized data centers offer can reduce other business expenses like travel costs.
Cloud vs. Virtualization: How Are They Related?
It’s easy to confuse virtualization with cloud. However, they are quite different but also closely related. To put it simply, virtualization is a technology used to create multiple simulated environments or dedicated resources from a physical hardware system, while cloud is an environment where scalable resources are abstracted and shared across a network.
Clouds are usually created to enable cloud computing, a set of principles and approaches to deliver compute, network, and storage infrastructure resources, platforms, and applications to users on-demand across any network. Cloud computing allows different departments (through private cloud) or companies (through a public cloud) to access a single pool of automatically provisioned resources, while virtualization can make one resource act like many.
In most cases, virtualization and cloud work together to provide different types of services. Virtualized data center platforms can be managed from a central physical location (private cloud) or a remote third-party location (public cloud), or any combination of both (hybrid cloud). On-site virtualized servers are deployed, managed, and protected by private or in-house teams. Alternatively, third-party virtualized servers are operated in remote data centers by a service provider who offers cloud solutions to many different companies.
If you already have a virtual infrastructure, to create a cloud, you can pool virtual resources together, orchestrate them using management and automation software, and create a self-service portal for users.
As the need for data storage drives the growth of data centers, colocation facilities are increasingly important to enterprises. A colocation data center brings many advantages to an enterprise data center, such as carriers helping enterprises manage their IT infrastructure that reduces the cost for management. There are two types of hosting carriers: carrier-neutral and carrier-specific. In this article, we will discuss the differentiation of them.
Carrier Neutral and Carrier Specific Data Center: What Are They?
Accompanied by the accelerated growth of the Internet, the exponential growth of data has led to a surge in the number of data centers to meet the needs of companies of all sizes and market segments. Two types of carriers that offer managed services have emerged on the market.
Carrier-neutral data centers allow access and interconnection of multiple different carriers while the carriers can find solutions that meet the specific needs of an enterprise’s business. Carrier-specific data centers, however, are monolithic, supporting only one carrier that controls all access to corporate data. At present, most enterprises choose carrier-neutral data centers to support their business development and avoid some unplanned accidents.
There is an example, in 2021, about 1/3 of the cloud infrastructure in AWS was overwhelmed and down for 9 hours. This not only affected millions of websites, but also countless other devices running on AWS. A week later, AWS was down again for about an hour, bringing down the Playstation network, Zoom, and Salesforce, among others. The third downtime of AWS also impacted Internet giants such as Slack, Asana, Hulu, and Imgur to a certain extent. 3 outages of cloud infrastructure in one month took a beyond measure cost to AWS, which also proved the fragility of cloud dependence.
In the above example, we can know that the management of the data center by the enterprise will affect the business development due to some unplanned accidents, which is a huge loss for the enterprise. To lower the risks caused by using a single carrier, enterprises need to choose a carrier-neutral data center and adjust the system architecture to protect their data center.
Why Should Enterprises Choose Carrier Neutral Data Center?
Carrier-neutral data centers are data centers operated by third-party colocation providers, but these third parties are rarely involved in providing Internet access services. Hence, the existence of carrier-neutral data centers enhances the diversity of market competition and provides enterprises with more beneficial options.
Another colocation advantage of a carrier-neutral data center is the ability to change internet providers as needed, saving the labor cost of physically moving servers elsewhere. We have summarized several main advantages of a carrier-neutral data center as follows.
A carrier-neutral colocation data center is independent of the network operators and not owned by a single ISP. Out of this advantage, it offers enterprises multiple connectivity options, creating a fully redundant infrastructure. If one of the carriers loses power, the carrier-neutral data center can instantly switch servers to another online carrier. This ensures that the entire infrastructure is running and always online. On the network connection, a cross-connect is used to connect the ISP or telecom company directly to the customer’s sub-server to obtain bandwidth from the source. This can effectively avoid network switching to increase additional delay and ensure network performance.
Options and Flexibility
Flexibility is a key factor and advantage for carrier-neutral data center providers. For one thing, the carrier neutral model can increase or decrease the network transmission capacity through the operation of network transmission. And as the business continues to grow, enterprises need colocation data center providers that can provide scalability and flexibility. For another thing, carrier-neutral facilities can provide additional benefits to their customers, such as offering enterprise DR options, interconnect, and MSP services. Whether your business is large or small, a carrier-neutral data center provider may be the best choice for you.
First, colocation data center solutions can provide a high level of control and scalability, expanding opportunity to storage, which can support business growth and save some expenses. Additionally, it also lowers physical transport costs for enterprises. Second, with all operators in the market competing for the best price and maximum connectivity, a net neutral data center has a cost advantage over a single network facility. What’s more, since freedom of use to any carrier in a carrier-neutral data center, enterprises can choose the best cost-benefit ratio for their needs.
Carrier-neutral data centers also boast reliability. One of the most important aspects of a data center is the ability to have 100% uptime. Carrier-neutral data center providers can provide users with ISP redundancy that a carrier-specific data center cannot. Having multiple ISPs at the same time gives better security for all clients. Even if one carrier fails, another carrier may keep the system running. At the same time, the data center service provider provides 24/7 security including all the details and uses advanced technology to ensure the security of login access at all access points to ensure that customer data is safe. Also, the multi-layered protection of the physical security cabinet ensures the safety of data transmission.
While many enterprises need to determine the best option for their company’s specific business needs, by comparing both carrier-neutral and carrier-specific, choosing a network carrier neutral data center service provider is a better option for today’s cloud-based business customers. Several advantages, such as maximizing total cost, lower network latency, and better network coverage, are of working with a carrier-neutral managed service provider. With no downtime and constant concerns about equipment performance, IT decision-makers for enterprise clients have more time to focus on the more valuable areas that drive continued business growth and success.
Data center infrastructure refers to all the physical components in a data center environment. These physical components play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of a data center. Hence, data center management challenges are an urgent issue that IT departments need to pay attention to. On the one hand, it is to improve the energy efficiency of the data center; on the other hand, it is to know about the operating performance of the data center in real-time ensuring its good working condition and maintaining enterprise development.
Data Center Infrastructure Basics
The standard for data center infrastructure is divided into four tiers, each of which consists of different facilities. They mainly include cabling systems, power facilities, cooling facilities, network infrastructure, storage infrastructure, and computing resources.
There are roughly two types of infrastructure inside a data center: the core components and IT infrastructure. Network infrastructure, storage infrastructure, and computing resources belong to the former, while cooling equipment, power, redundancy, etc. belong to the latter.
Network, storage, and computing systems are vital infrastructures for data centers to achieve sharing access to applications and data, providing data centers with shared access to applications and data. Also, they are the core components of data centers.
Datacenter network infrastructure is a combination of network resources, consisting of switches, routers, load balancing, analytics, etc., to facilitate the storage and processing of applications and data. Modern data center networking architectures, through using full-stack networking and security virtualization platforms that support a rich set of data services, can achieve connecting everything from VMs, containers, and bare-metal applications, while enabling centralized management and fine-grained security controls.
Datacenter storage is a general term for the tools, technologies and processes for designing, implementing, managing and monitoring storage infrastructure and resources in data centers, mainly referring to the equipment and software technologies that implement data and application storage in data center facilities. These include hard drives, tape drives and other forms of internal and external storage and backup management software utilities external storage facilities/solutions.
A data center meter is a memory and processing power to run applications, usually provided by high-end servers. In the edge computing model, the processing and memory used to run applications on servers may be virtualized, physical, distributed among containers or distributed among remote nodes.
As data centers become critical to enterprise IT operations, it is equally important to keep them running efficiently. When designing data center infrastructure, it is necessary to evaluate its physical environment, including cabling system, power system, cooling system to ensure the security of the physical environment of the data center.
The integrated cabling is an important part of data center cable management, supporting the connection, intercommunication and operation of the entire data center network. The system is usually composed of copper cables, optical cables, connectors and wiring equipment. The application of the data center integrated wiring system has the characteristics of high density, high performance, high reliability, fast installation, modularization, future-oriented, and easy application.
Datacenter digital infrastructure requires electricity to operate. Even an interruption of a fraction of a second will result in a significant impact. Hence, power infrastructure is one of the most critical components of a data center. The data center power chain starts at the substation and ends up through building transformers, switches, uninterruptible power supplies, power distribution units, and remote power panels to racks and servers.
Data center servers generate a lot of heat while running. Based on this characteristic, cooling is critical to data center operations, aiming to keep systems online. The amount of power each rack can keep cool by itself places a limit on the amount of power a data center can consume. Generally, each rack can allow the data center to operate at an average 5-10 kW cooling density, but some may be higher.
Data Center Infrastructure Management Solutions
Due to the complexity of IT equipment in a data center, the availability, reliability, and maintenance of its components require more attention. Efficient data center operations can be achieved through balanced investments in facilities and accommodating equipment.
Energy Usage Monitoring Equipment
Traditional data centers lack the energy usage monitoring instruments and sensors required to comply with ASHRAE standards and collect measurement data for use in calculating data center PUE. It results in a poor monitoring environment for the power system of the data center. One measure is to install energy monitoring components and systems on power systems to measure data center energy efficiency. Enterprise teams can implement effective strategies by the measure to balance overall energy usage efficiency and effectively monitor the energy usage of all other nodes.
Cooling Facilities Optimization
Independent computer room air conditioning units used in traditional data centers often have separate controls and set points, resulting in excessive operation due to temperature and humidity adjustments. It’s a good way for helping servers to achieve cooling by creating hot-aisle/cold-aisle layouts to maximize the flow of cold air to the equipment intakes and the hot exhaust air from the equipment racks. The creation of hot or cold aisles can eliminate the mixing of hot and cold air by adding partitions or ceilings.
CRAC Efficiency Improvement
Packaged DX air conditioners likely compose the most common type of cooling equipment for smaller data centers. These units are often described as CRAC units. There are, however, there are several ways to improve the energy efficiency of the cooling system employing DX units. Indoor CRAC units are available with a few different heat rejection options.
– As with rooftop units, adding evaporative spray can improve the efficiency of air-cooled CRAC units.
– A pre-cooling water coil can be added to the CRAC unit upstream of the evaporator coil. When ambient conditions allow the condenser water to be cooled to the extent that it provides direct cooling benefits to the air entering the CRAC unit, the condenser water is diverted to the pre-cooling coil. This will reduce or sometimes eliminate the need for compressor-based cooling for the CRAC unit.
Data center infrastructure management is the combination of IT and operations to manage and optimize the performance of data center infrastructure within an organization. DCIM tools help data center operators monitor, measure, and manage the utilization and energy consumption of data center-related equipment and facility infrastructure components, effectively improving the relationship between data center buildings and their systems.
DCIM enables bridging of information across organizational domains such as data center operations, facilities, and IT to maximize data center utilization. Data center operators create flexible and efficient operations by visualizing real-time temperature and humidity status, equipment status, power consumption, and air conditioning workloads in server rooms.
In addition to the above management and operation solutions for infrastructure, unplanned maintenance is also an aspect to consider. Unplanned maintenance typically costs 3-9 times more than planned maintenance, primarily due to overtime labor costs, collateral damage, emergency parts, and service calls. IT teams can create a recurring schedule to perform preventive maintenance on the data center. Regularly checking the infrastructure status and repairing and upgrading the required components promptly can keep the internal infrastructure running efficiently, as well as extend the lifespan and overall efficiency of the data center infrastructure.
Data center security includes physical security and virtual security. Data center virtual security is actually data center network security，it refers to the various security precautions that are taken to maintain the operational agility of the infrastructure and data. Data center network security threats have become more and more rampant, and enterprises need to find countermeasures to protect sensitive information and prevent data vulnerabilities. We will discuss the data center cyber attacks and solutions.
What Are the Main Data Center Networking Threats?
Data center network is the most valuable and visible asset of storage organizations, while the data center networks, DNS, database, and email servers have become the number one target for cybercriminals, hacktivists, and state-sponsored attackers. Regardless of attackers’ purpose and what they are seeking financial gain, competitive intelligence, or notoriety, they are using a range of cyber technology weapons to attack data centers. The following are 5 top data center network threats.
Servers are prime targets of DDoS attack designed to disrupt and disable essential internet services. Service availability is critical to a positive customer experience. DDoS attacks, however, can directly threaten availability, resulting in loss of business revenue, customers, and reputation. From 2011 to 2013, the average size of DDoS attacks soared from 4.7 Gbps to 10 Gbps. What’s worse, there has also been a staggering increase in the average number of packets per second during a typical DDoS attack. This proved that the rapid growth of DDoS attacks is enough to disable most standard network equipment. Attackers can amplify the scale and intensity of DDoS attacks primarily by exploiting Web, DNS, and NTP servers, which requires enterprises to do a good job of network monitoring at all times.
Web Application Attack
Web applications are vulnerable to a range of attacks, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, cross-site request forgery, etc. Attackers attempt to break into applications and steal data for profit, resulting in enterprises’ data vulnerabilities. According to the 2015 Trustwave Global Security Report, approximately 98% of applications have or have had vulnerabilities. Attackers are increasingly targeting vulnerable web servers and installing malicious code to turn them into a DDoS attack source. Enterprises need proactive defenses to stop web attacks and “virtual patching” of data vulnerabilities.
DNS infrastructure is also vulnerable to DDoS attacks or other threats. It is turned into a target of data center cyber attacks for two reasons. First, attackers can prevent Internet users from accessing the Internet by taking DNS servers offline through a variety of means. If an attacker disables DNS servers of ISP, they can block everything the ISP does to users and Internet services. Second, attackers can also amplify DDoS attacks by exploiting DNS servers. Attackers spoof the IP addresses of their real targets, instruct DNS servers to recursively query many DNS servers or send a flood of responses to victims. This allows the DNS server to directly control the victim’s network of DNS traffic. Even if the DNS server is not the ultimate target for attackers, it still causes data center downtime and outages due to DNS reflection attacks.
SSL Blind Spot Exploitation
Many applications support SSL, however, it is surprising that SSL encryption is also a way that attackers can exploit for network intrusion. Although decrypt SSL traffic is decrypted by firewalls, intrusion prevention and threat prevention products, etc., there are some security implications for data vulnerabilities due to these products’ inability to keep up with the growing demand for SSL encryption. For example, the conversion from 1024-bit to 2048-bit SSL keys requires about 6.3 times the processing power to decrypt. This case shows that security applications are gradually breaking down under the decryption requirements of increasing SSL certificate key lengths. For this reason, attackers can easily exploit this defense blind spot for intrusion.
Applications often use authentication to authenticate users, allowing application owners to restrict access to authorized users. But for convenience, many people perform a single authentication. This makes it easy for attackers to use password cracking tools to brute force. Hackers will crack lists of stolen passwords, and even password hashes, and use them to break into other online accounts. As a result, enterprises centrally manage authentication services and prevent users from repeating failed login attempts.
Data Center Virtual Security Solutions
Network security defenses in the data center are imperative. In view of the data vulnerabilities and network security risks caused by the five major data center network security threats, here are some defense solutions.
Prevent vulnerabilities: Deploy IPS to protect and patch frequently vulnerable systems and applications. IPS can also detect exploits targeting DNS infrastructure or attempts to use DNS to evade security protections.
Network segmentation: Network segmentation implemented effectively enables preventing lateral movement and achieves least privilege access under a zero-trust security model.
Deploying application and API protection: The solution to mitigate the OWASP top 10 risks for web applications is to use web and API security applications. Also, data centers can install firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS), to help businesses monitor and traffic inspect before it reaches the internal network.
Defense against DDoS: Use on-prem and cloud DDoS protections to mitigate DDoS threats.
Prevent credential theft: Deploy anti-phishing protection for users to prevent credential theft attacks.
Securing supply chains: Detect and prevent sophisticated supply chain attacks using AI and ML-backed threat prevention, as well as EDR and XDR technologies.
Cyberattacks also have a profound impact on data center network security. Enterprises should prepare defense solutions for data centers to ensure data security. The best practices above can also help enterprises gain relevant information about how their data center networks are operating, allowing the IT team to enhance the virtual security of their data centers while maintaining physical security.
Green data centers appear in the concept of enterprise construction, due to the continuous growth of new data storage requirements and the steady enhancement of green environmental protection awareness. Newly retained data must be protected, cooled, and transferred efficiently. This means that the huge energy demands of data centers present challenges in terms of cost and sustainability, and enterprises are increasingly concerned about the energy demands of their data centers. It can be seen that sustainable and renewable energy resources have become the development trend of green data centers.
Green Data Center Is a Trend
A green data center is a facility similar to a regular data center that hosts servers to store, manage, and disseminate data. It is designed to minimize environmental impact by providing maximum energy efficiency. Green data centers have the same characteristics as typical data centers, but the internal system settings and technologies can effectively reduce energy consumption and carbon footprints for enterprises.
The internal construction of a green data center requires the support of a series of services, such as cloud services, cable TV services, Internet services, colocation services, and data protection security services. Of course, many enterprises or carriers have equipped their data centers with cloud services. Some enterprises may also need to rely on other carriers to provide Internet and related services.
According to market trends, the global green data center market is worth around $59.32 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.5% in the future to 2026. It also shows that the transition to renewable energy sources is accelerating because of the growth of green data centers.
As the growing demand for data storage drives the modernization of data centers, it also places higher demands on power and cooling systems. On the one hand, data centers need to convert non-renewable energy into electricity to generate electricity, resulting in rising electricity costs; on the other hand, some enterprises need to complete the construction of cooling facilities and server cleaning through a lot of water, all of which are ample opportunities for the green data center market. For example, Facebook and Amazon continue to expand their businesses, which has also increased the need for data storage of global companies. These enterprises need a lot of data to complete the analysis of potential customers, but these data processing needs will require a lot of energy. Therefore, the realization of green data centers has become an urgent need for enterprises to solve these problems, and this can also bring more other benefits to enterprises.
Green Data Center Benefits
The green data center concept has grown rapidly in the process of enterprise data center development. Many businesses prefer alternative energy solutions for their data centers, which can bring many benefits to the business. The benefits of green data centers are as follows.
Green data centers are designed not only to conserve energy, but also to reduce the need for expensive infrastructure to handle cooling and power needs. Sustainable or renewable energy is an abundant and reliable source of energy that can significantly reduce power usage efficiency (PUE). The reduction of PUE enables enterprises to use electricity more efficiently. Green data centers can also use colocation services to decrease server usage, lower water consumption, and reduce the cost of corporate cooling systems.
Green data centers use renewable energy to reduce power consumption and business costs through the latest technologies. Shutting down servers that are being upgraded or managed can also help reduce energy consumption at the facility and control operating costs.
Green data centers can reduce the environmental impact of computing hardware, thereby creating data center sustainability. The ever-increasing technological development requires the use of new equipment and technologies in modern data centers, and the power consumption of these new server devices and virtualization technologies reduces energy consumption, which is environmentally sustainable and brings economic benefits to data center operators.
Enterprise Social Image Enhancement
Today, users are increasingly interested in solving environmental problems. Green data center services help businesses resolve these issues quickly without compromising performance. Many customers already see responsible business conduct as a value proposition. Enterprises, by meeting compliance, regulatory requirements and regulations of the corresponding regions through the construction of green data centers, improve the image of their own social status.
Reasonable Use of Resources
In an environmentally friendly way, green data centers can allow enterprises to make better use of various resources such as electricity, physical space, and heat, integrating the internal facilities of the data center. It promotes the efficient operation of the data center while achieving rational utilization of resources.
5 Ways to Create a Green Data Center
After talking about the benefits of a green data center, then how to build a green data center. Here are a series of green data center solutions.
Virtualization extension: Enterprises can build a virtualized computer system with the help of virtualization technology, and run multiple applications and operating systems through fewer servers, thereby realizing the construction of green data centers.
Renewable energy utilization: Enterprises can opt for solar panels, wind turbines or hydroelectric plants that can generate energy to power backup generators without any harm to the environment.
Enter eco mode: Using an Alternating current USPs is one way to switch eco mode. This setup can significantly improve data center efficiency and PUE. Alternatively, enterprises can reuse equipment, which not only saves money, but also eliminates unnecessary emissions from seeping into the atmosphere.
Optimized cooling: Data center infrastructure managers can introduce simple and implementable cooling solutions, such as deploying hot aisle/cold aisle configurations. Data centers can further accelerate cooling output by investing in air handlers and coolers, and installing economizers that draw outside air from the natural environment to build green data center cooling systems.
DCIM and BMS systems: DCIM software and BMS software can help data centers managers identify and document ways to use more efficient energy, helping data centers become more efficient and achieve sustainability goals.
Data center sustainability means reducing energy/water consumption and carbon emissions to offset increased computing and mobile device usage to keep business running smoothly. The development of green data centers has become an imperative development trend, and it also caters to the green goals of global environmental protection. As a beneficiary, enterprises can not only save operating costs, but also effectively reduce energy consumption. This is also an important reason for the construction of green data centers.
Today’s data centers are complex. It houses dozens of diverse bandwidth-intensive devices tightly such as servers, clustered storage systems and backup devices, all of which are interconnected by cables. Therefore, the importance of a reliable, scalable and manageable cabling infrastructure is self-evident. Then how to build a data center which can meet today and future growth? This article may give you some advice about it.
How to Plan?
As data center houses a number of servers which are connected by numerous cables, it’s important to make it organized. If not, the last thing you will encounter is a tangled mass of cables that make it impossible to determine how severs are connected. Let alone to build a high-efficiency data center. Here are some tips on how to start your data center.
Using a Structured Approach
Using a structured approach to make data center cabling means designing cable runs and connections to facilitate identifying cables, troubleshooting and planning for future changes. In contrast, spontaneous or reactive deployment of cables that only suits immediate needs often makes it difficult to diagnose problems and to verify proper connectivity.
Using Color to Identify Cables
Colors can provide quick visual identification, which simplify management and can save your time when you need to trace cables. Color coding can be used ports on patch panels, color sleeves, connectors and fiber cables.
Establishing a Naming Scheme
Once the physical layouts of a data center are defined, applying logical naming will make it easy to identify each cabling component. Effective labeling brings better communications and can reduce unnecessary problems when locating a component. The suggested naming scheme often includes Building, Room, Grid Cell, Workstation, etc.
How to Select the Necessary Cabling Components?
After knowing how to construct the backbone network of a data center, selecting a right and suitable cabling components can quickly become overwhelming. Each cabling component has its own advantages and disadvantages. So it’s important to get the right equipment purchased and deployed to avoid future cabling problems. Below are some tips on how to choose corresponding cabling components.
Patch panels enable easy management of patch cables and link the cabling distribution areas. How to choose a suitable one? First, the patch panels which allow different cable connectors to be used in the same patch panel are a good choice. Second, when choosing a patch panel, the main types of connectors within one panels are LC for fiber and RJ45 for copper. Finally, patch panels with colored jacks or bezels allow easy identification of the ports also can be taken into consideration.
Cable managers offer a neat and proper routing of the patch cables from equipment in racks and protect cables from damage. Generally, there are horizontal and vertical cable managers. And there are different requirements of these cable managers. When choosing horizontal cable managers, it’s essential to make sure that certain parts of the horizontal cable manager are not obstructing equipment in the racks and that those individual cables are easy to be added or removed. While choosing vertical cable managers, additional space used to manage the slack from patch cords is needed.
Cable ties are used to hold a group of cables together or fasten cables to other components. Using cables ties can avoid crushing the cables and impacting cable performance. Velcro cable ties provided by Fiberstore are perfect for controlling and organizing wires, cords, and cables. Besides, using ties will help you identify cables later and facilitate better overall cable management.
Of course, except for what have been mentioned above, there are other cabling components which need to be selected carefully such as cable labels, backbone cables and so on.
What Should Be Paid Attention to When Installation?
Cabling installations and components should be compliant with industry stands.
Use thin and high-density cables wherever possible, allowing more cable runs in tight spaces.
Remove abandoned cables which can restrict air flow and may fuel a fire.
Keep some spare patch cables. The types and quantity can be determined from the installation and projected growth. Try to keep all unused cables bagged and capped when not in use.
Avoid routing cables through pipes and holes, which may limit additional future cable runs.
Building a data center is not an easy task. Each step and component selecting during installations need carefulness and patience. FS.COM provides all cable products including structured cables, patch panels, cable ties, labels and other tools needed in data center installation. All of them will maximize the efficiency and reliability of the data center installation.
Dust and dirt in data center could be a nightmare that troubles most of the telecom engineers. Now and then as they try to put their fingers on a distribution cabinet or a patch panel in a data center, the fingers are always stained by dust or dirt. However, this annoying situation is not rare for those engineers working in the field of telecommunication. Some of them may have realized the importance of cleanliness in data center, but they seldom take action to remove the dust and dirt. It means people simply attach less importance to keep the data center clean enough. Some contaminants can easily be seen or checked by eyes and hands, but there are still myriads of them existing inside the equipment which may lead to disastrous consequences such as overheating as well as various network failures if no proper action was taken to clean.
The Importance of Cleaning Data Center
Imagine what would happen if there is no regular cleaning in the data center? As it was mentioned above, the most direct result of contaminant is overheating. Since dust and pollutants in the data center are usually light-weight, If there is air flow, dust or dirt will move with it. The cooling system of the data center is depending largely on server fan which can bring the dust and dirt into the cooling system. The accumulation of these contaminant can cause fan failure or static discharge inside equipment. The heat dissipation will need more time and heat emission efficiency is limited. The following picture shows the contaminant at a server fan air intake that can explain this phenomenon.
As the cooling system is affected by the dust and dirt, the risk of the data center increases largely. Contaminants will capture every possible place in the data center where they are capable of. In addition, data center nowadays relies heavily on electronic equipment and fiber optic components like fiber optic connectors, which are very sensitive to contaminants. Problems like power failures, loss of data and short circuit might happen if the contaminants are not removed completely. What’s worse, short circuit might cause fire in the data center, which could lead to irreparable damage. The following picture shows the data center after a fire. It is really a disaster for the data center managers.
Dust and dirt can also influence the life span of data center equipment as well as their operation. The uptime of a data center may decrease if there are too many contaminants. Cleaning the data center regularly would help to reduce data center downtime and extend the life span of data center infrastructure equipment. It is proved to be cost efficient and energy saving comparing with restarting the data center or repairing the equipment.
Furthermore, data center cleanliness can offer an aesthetic appeal to a clean and dust-free environment. Although it is not the main purpose, a clean data center can present a more desirable working environment for telecom engineers, especially for those who need to install cable under a raised floor or working overhead racks and cabinet. No one would reject a cleaning data center.
Contaminants Sources of Data Center
There is no doubt that data center cleanliness is necessary. But how to keep the data center clean? Before taking action, source of contaminants in the data center should be taken into consideration. Generally, there are two main sources. One is inside the data center, and the other is from outside of the data center. The internal contaminants are usually particles from air conditioning unit fan belt wear, toner dust, packaging and construction materials, human hair and clothing as well as zinc whiskers from electroplated steel floor plates. The external sources of contamination include cars, electricity generation, sea salt, natural and artificial fibers, plant pollen and wind-blown dust.
Data Center Cleaning and Contaminants Prevention
Having known where the dust and dirt come from, here offers some suggestions and tips to reduce the contaminants.
Reduce the data center access. It is recommended that limited access to only necessary personnel can reduce the external contaminants.
Sticky mats should be used at the entrances to the raised floor, which can eliminate the contaminants from shoes largely.
Never unpack new equipment inside the data center, establish a staging area outside the data center for unpacking and assembling equipment.
No food, drink or smoking in the data center.
Typically all sites are required to have fresh air make-up to the data center, remember to replace on a regular basis.
Cleaning frequency depends on activity in the data center. Floor vacuuming should be more often as the traffic in the data center increased.
Inspect and clean the fiber optic components regularly, especially for fiber optic connector and interface of switches and transceivers.
The inside and outside of racks and cabinets should be cleaned.
Data center operates like an information factory nowadays as it processes countless data and information as well. Therefore, the cleanliness of the data center becomes increasingly important. If this essential “factory” is polluted by dust and dirt, it will eventually fail to provide reliable and qualified services. Not to mention that a clean data center could ensure a much more extended life span of equipment and applications thus to effectively save a great amount of money for the maintenance.
It is critically important to choose the suitable cabling plant for data center connectivity, because the wrong decision may leave a data center incapable of supporting future grown, requiring an extremely costly optical cable plant upgrade to move to higher speeds. In the past, multimode fiber (MMF) has been widely deployed in data center for many years because of the high cost of single mode fiber (SMF). However, the price difference between SMF and MMF has been largely negated as technologies have evolved. With cost no longer the dominant decision criterion, operators can make architectural decisions based on performance. So SMF or MMF, which should be chosen for data center cabling? Keep reading and you’ll find the answer.
MMF – Unable to Reach the Distance Need
Many data center operators who deployed MMF OM1/OM2 fiber a few years ago are now realizing that these MMF cannot support higher transmit rates like 40 GbE and 100 GbE. So some MMF users have been forced to add later-generation OM3 and OM4 fiber to support standards-based 40GbE and 100GbE interfaces. But the physical limitations of MMF mean that the distance between connections must decrease when data traffic grows and interconnectivity speeds increase. Deploying more fibers in parallel to support more traffic is the only alternative. So the limitations of MMF have become more serious when it has been widely deployed for generations. The operators must weigh unexpected cabling costs against a network incapable of supporting new devices.
SMF – A Viable Alternative
Due to the cost of the pluggable optics required, previously organizations were reluctant to implement SMF inside the data center, especially compared to MMF. However, newer silicon technologies and manufacturing innovations are driving down the cost of SMF pluggable optics. Fiber optic transceivers with Fabry-Perot edge emitting lasers (single-mode) are now comparable in price than power dissipation to VCSEL (multimode) transceivers. Moreover, SMF eliminates network bandwidth constraints, where MMF cable plants introduce a capacity-reach tradeoff. This allows operators to take advantage of higher-bit-rate interfaces and wave division multiplexing (WDM) technology to increase by three orders of magnitude the amount of traffic that the fiber plant can support over longer distances. All these factors make SMF a more viable option for high-speed deployment in data center.
Comparison Between SMF and MMF
With 40 GbE and 100 GbE playing roles in some high-bandwidth applications, 10 GbE has become the predominant interconnectivity interface in large data centers. Put it simply, the necessity for fiber cabling supporting higher bit rates over extended distances is here today. With that in mind, the most significant difference between SMF and MMF is that SMF provides a higher spectral efficiency than MMF. It means that SMF supports more traffic over a single fiber using more channels at higher speeds. This is in stark contrast to MMF, where cabling support for higher bit rates is limited by its large core size. As a matter of fact, in most cases, currently deployed MMF cabling is unable to support higher speeds over the same distance as lower-speed signals.
The tradeoff between capacity and reach is important as operators consider their cabling options. Network operators need to assess the extend to which they believe their data centers are going to grow. For environments where users, applications, and corresponding workload are all increasing, SMF offers the best future proofing for performance and scalability. And because of fundamental changes in how transceivers are manufactured, those benefits can be attained at prices comparable to SMF’s lower performing alternative.